The Coasters kick their 2023/24 National League campaign off against Maidenhead United on Saturday, 5 August 2023 (3pm), with a trip to York Road awaiting Adam Murray’s men. 

It’s the first fixture back in the National League since relegation in 2020, but following last season’s National League North title win, the Coasters are raring to go once again, and we have the lowdown on our opponents. 

The Lowdown

Maidenhead United come into their opener against the Coasters with a solid pre-season done and dusted, which saw them take on a variety of sides from all different leagues.

The Magpies suffered two defeats throughout pre-season, which came against Championship side Ipswich Town and National League North side Banbury United. Alan Devonshire will be hoping for a better season this time around after narrowly surviving the drop by two points last season.

Murray’s men also played a variety of sides throughout pre-season, also suffering two defeats, but more impressively, beating League Two play-off side Salford City in their last outing.

The Manager: Alan Devonshire

One of the older managers in the National League, and most would say one of the wiser. Devonshire, aged 67, certainly knows a thing or two about non-league football. 

As a player, Alan was a West Ham fan favourite after being bought by local club Southall, and he even starred for England for a few appearances. After a brief spell at Watford, he moved from the playing field to the touchline, taking charge of Osterley and Brentford women. 

However, Devonshire soon made the move to York Road, taking charge in 1997 and bringing instant success with him through the Isthmian League Cup and promoting the club to the Isthmian Premier Division in the 1999-2000 season.

A few Berks and Bucks Senior County Cups later and Devonshire was on the road again, this time, to Hampton and Richmond Borough, who were plying their trade in the Isthmian Division One South. 

Devonshire once again enjoyed success, taking them to the Conference South Playoff final on numerous occasions but never running out as winners. In 2011, National League Braintree Town came knocking for Alan’s services, and he couldn’t turn them down. 

That stint was quite successful, and he managed to keep Braintree near the top end of the table but then turned down a contract at the end of the 2014/15 season. 

Braintree were relegated two years later after never finishing in the bottom half under Alan’s reign. However, Alan moved back to his beloved Maidenhead for the 2015/16 season and things have never looked better. 

He quickly earned promotion back to the National League and has stayed there ever since, with the occasional cup run and Berks and Bucks senior county cups to keep fans happy. In 2021, Maidenhead tied Alan down to a three-year contract, which has been seen as very good business by the magpies.

Key Players

Lewis Kinsella – Mostly known for his exploits at Aldershot Town, Kinsella is an attacking full-back with a venomous left foot. Good on the overlap and someone who can put a wicked ball into the box, Kinsella could be one to watch on the attack.

Kevin Lokko – Another piece of smart business from the Magpies was securing the services of Lokko following his departure from Farnborough FC. A strong defender with bags of experience at this level, he could be one of Maidenhead’s key men this season. Lokko has been a main starter at most of his previous clubs and offers something other defenders don’t have, which could give attackers nightmares this season.

Shawn McCoulsky – Shawn will become the main man for Maidenhead this season following Emile Acquah’s departure to Barrow. He managed just five goals last season – however, more reliance will be put on the young man’s shoulders, and that could see him flourish. 

Previous meetings

15/08/2017 – AFC Fylde 1-4 Maidenhead United FC 

Coasters scorer – Lewis Montrose.

Attendance: 1657

30/12/2017 – Maidenhead United 1-2 AFC Fylde

Coasters scorers – Lewis Montrose & Jack Muldoon

Attendance: 1315

27/10/2018 – Maidenhead United 0-6 AFC Fylde

Coasters scorers – Danny Rowe (x2), Gime Toure, Serhat Tasdemir, Danny Philliskirk & Andy Bond

Attendance: 1372

2/3/2019 – AFC Fylde 2-1 Maidenhead United

Coasters scorers – Danny Rowe & Tom Crawford

Attendance: 1402

29/10/2020 – Maidenhead United 1-1 AFC Fylde

Attendance: 1010

Coasters scorer – Neil Byrne

Opposition Form

The Magpies started pre-season with a defeat and ended with a defeat. The defeat against Ipswich Town was to be expected, but it may have been a closer affair than some may have expected and was indeed closer than the Magpies’ last game of the National League season when on the end of a 4-0 defeat to Gateshead.

However, after the Ipswich game, the magpies managed to gain momentum with wins against Flackwell Heath, Thatcham Town, St Albans City and Hayes and Yeading, without conceding a goal. The Magpies’ pre-season ended with a narrow defeat to Banbury United, which shows that goals could be hard to come back, but they have resilience at the back. 

Match Preview is written by Benji Jenkinson