Yes, Maidenhead United did just beat Kuwait

Maidenhead v Kuwait

Spartan Race UK

I must admit I didn’t think I would ever be writing that headline.

However, as unlikely as it may seem, it is undeniably true – and I was there to tell the tale.

Yes, Maidenhead United of the National League sent shockwaves around the world (well not really) after defeating the team ranked 156th according to the FIFA rankings.

Maidenhead v Kuwait

That is above the likes of footballing heavyweights Malaysia, Indonesia and of course, the Cook Islands.

All jokes aside though, Kuwait has some serious International pedigree. Those of you of a certain age may well remember that in 1982, England met Kuwait in the group stages of the World Cup.

Unsurprisingly the Three Lions took the three points, but it was only a narrow 1-0 win thanks to a Trevor Francis strike, although Kuwait did manage to come away from Spain with a World Cup point after drawing 1-1 with Czechoslovakia.

This is a team then surely not to be taken likely even if the heady days of the 1980s are well behind the national side known as ‘The Blue Wave’.

Only fleeting appearances in the Asian Cup have followed for Kuwait since winning that competition in 1980 and making it to the 1982 World Cup.

So, how did Kuwait end up in Maidenhead?

Ahead of the qualifying phase for Qatar 2022, Kuwait is in England for a training camp based locally to Maidenhead and Marlow, so it made sense for all parties to set up a friendly.

As the Magpies finished 19th in the National League last season, the tie was seen as something of a coup but one that Kuwait was perhaps fancied to run away with.

That didn’t happen.

As York Road – the oldest continuously used ground occupied by the same association football club in the world –saw their attendance swell to what looked to be close to the 1500 mark, the atmosphere was relaxed and enjoyable.

No one really knew what to expect but as the game kicked off, it was clear Maidenhead were pulling no punches.

Smoothing their international opponents, the Magpies looked the far better side over the opening 30 minutes and were rewarded for their efforts when handed a penalty in the 28th minute.

Maidenhead v Kuwait penalty
Danny Whitehall steps up

 Danny Whitehall stepped up to the plate and buried the penalty with a low drive with duly earnt him a contract with the club.

As the second half progressed, Kuwait came into their own and open up Maidenhead a number of times but were unable to breakthrough.

At the final whistle, both teams shook hands after a surprisingly physical encounter for a friendly game and I left York Road wondering how significant that victory may prove to be.

Maidenhead v Kuwait full time

It may not mean a thing in the grand scheme of things, but I am glad I went as how many times do you get to witness International football at a non-league ground whilst sitting in Timmy Mallett’s seat?

Yep that’s right, turns out Timmy Mallett is a Maidenhead fan and without realising it I had parked my bum on his seat throughout the second half.

Sorry Timmy.

Spartan Race UK

ian_waterhouse

I have been producing content for the sports industry for many years now and love nothing more than the competitive nature of any game. An avid football, F1, and golf fan, when I am not giving my opinions on sport, I will most likely be trying to chip out of a bunker.

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