Burghfield and Maidenhead Town served up ‘terrific advert’ for Step 7 football

Action from Maidenhead Town vs Burghfield. Photo: Andrew Batt.
Action from Maidenhead Town vs Burghfield. Photo: Andrew Batt.

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Almost a week ago now, Burghfield and Maidenhead Town served up a proper cliche of English football – a ‘terrific advert’ – in this case for Step 7 football and the Thames Valley Premier League.

In recent seasons it’s been Finchampstead (two league titles in a row), Yateley United and this season Windsor & Eton who’ve arguably hogged the headlines, but that does a disservice to the rest of the division which is hugely competitive.

The final on Tuesday evening at Slough Town’s Arbour Park may have finished 2-0 to Burghfield, but both sides strained every sinew to get a result on the night with Maidenhead having plenty of dominant periods of the game.

It was fast-paced, tactical, technical, and won by one of the best goals you’ll see this season. Maidenhead were, for much of the game more than a match for Burghfield who themselves looked a very young side. A common theme across teams at this level.

At times I’ve no doubt there will be people wondering who’s watching games at Step 7 – it’s certainly something I agree with when Football in Berkshire’s Steve Gabb says ‘it’s for the players’ – but in the last few years the Thames Valley Premier League has become a thoroughly entertaining ‘product’.

Entry to most games is often free – which is one aspect of the level not to be dismissed, but that doesn’t denigrate the level of football you are watching. Maidenhead Town play their home games in the grounds of English Football Heritage – Bisham Abbey, Reading YMCA have made the very best of their surroundings and are one of the few sides at that level to offer food while Henley Town, Windsor and others offer grounds that previously hosted a higher level of football.

At the time of writing, both the top and bottom of the Premier Division is competitive and looking ahead to 2024/25, while we’ll lose Windsor & Eton subject to FA approval, Newbury look set to make a return with promotion from Division One.

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