In August 2010 three Maidenhead United fans were banned from attending home games, by a kangaroo court, for crimes they didn't commit.
These men promptly encountered a jobsworth security blockade, and so escaped to the non-league underground.
Today, still stigmatised by the MUFC Ltd hierarchy, they survive as supporters of fancy.
If you enjoy a train away day - and if you can find them - then maybe you can share a drink with ... the K-team!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

2017/18 Diary ~ October

This would've been ideal Fancy Dresslemania XVIII fixture, I think, so to get it in midweek was a real disappointment (esp. as the Gulls look likely candidates for relegation)

O'Neil Odofin - then Torquay captain - was one of the standout players during a cracking FA Youth Cup tie at York Road in 2014; he didn't make the grade at Plainmoor, though, and is now at Whitehawk after spells at various non-league clubs including Three Bridges (Conversely, a couple of Maidenhead players from that night - namely David Rogalski and Olly McCoy - have fared better, albeit away from Berkshire.)

Rerouted from the M4 due to news that the M5 was closed, the MurdoMobile - passengers: me, Craig, and Fuzz - passed Stonehenge at 14:30; we were enjoying the magnificent views of Babbacombe Bay, from the Cary Arms (I've now visited this pub in the '90s, '00s and '10s), before 5pm

Quite why the team coach driver decided to stick with the motorways is anyone's guess; we initially thought that Scouse Mick was on a wind-up

Unusual sight of supporters hanging around outside the ground - located among residential streets, which made a welcome change from the industrial (estate) wasteland that surrounds Chester's stadium - waiting for news as to whether the match would actually go ahead (with a delayed kick-off)

A few (too many) extra pre-match beverages in the bar (smaller than you might expect, but I liked it), which was managed by a former St Luke's and Newlands Girls' pupil!

You should've come on the A-roads sang the vociferous travelling support (72 of us; some of whom left during halftime) at the end of an embarrassing 4-0 defeat; an archetypal 'good day out ruined by 90 minutes of football' … made worse by rumours that Aldershot would be getting the Bell End on Saturday …

(Match highlights here)

Adrian Allen's wonder goal from 2001 is what immediately springs to mind when I think of this fixture … that and Trevor Kingham stood in the doorway, barring halftime entry to Stripes, as Reading and Aldershot hoolies threw chairs and fists at each other behind him

Load of patronising wank is how Dover fan Callum - currently studying in South Korea - once described Non-League Day; reasonably accurate, in my opinion, although he has since changed his tune

Dahlias (not Micky Chatt's, although surely approaching similar prize-winning quality) for £1.00, runner beans (MASSIVE) for 50p, and a free bag of Bramley apples, were procured from various houses on our walk up Cherry Garden Lane to the Shire Horse #thegoodlife

ENHEAD was the Bell End buffer zone, so it transpired, ergo my decision to do something else - spend time with the family - was justified (not being able to stand behind the goal Maidenhead are attacking, at York Road, pisses me off); a real shame, in my opinion, that the best part of the ground was unoccupied for a game such as this

Rebellion Engineer, sat in the pub garden (watched by a dog sat on the pub roof!), went down a treat

Satisfied with the result, when I checked the score at 5pm, although the realisation that we'd conceded a 90th minute equaliser obviously removed some of the gloss; Craig reckoned that a draw was fair

Horses - police, not shire - in Maidenhead town centre certainly an unusual sight!

Our first goal an excellent bit of play - not least the finish - from Adrian Clifton; pity no home fans on the Bell End to celebrate with

Twelfth in the table, after a third of the season, is more than acceptable; now, if only we could sort out the away form (P3 L3 F2 A9 - including games vs Chester and Torquay - since that impressive win at Sutton)

(Match highlights here)

Home draw? Check. Lower division opposition? Tick. Opposition struggling in lower division? Well, two outta three ain't bad!


Wrexham lost to Fylde, but our league visit there on 2nd December - the same weekend as FA Cup 2nd Round Proper - remains in the balance thanks to Ryan Upward's 91st minute winner (described by Craig as 'daylight robbery')

(Match highlights here)

Didn't ever envisage attending this fixture, seeing as it coincided with the 5th Maidenhead Beer Festival. But, as the day approached, I - like many others, it seems - decided that the time of year (the previous four festivals have all been in the summer) and location (the 'earmarked for demolition redevelopment' leisure centre) left much to be desired; instead we went for food and drinks at Norden Farm, sitting next to Viva Neil Diamond, before getting drenched on the walk home

One long whingefest about who's club is more shit is how Callum the (aforementioned) Dover fan described the post-match beers that followed our 2-2 draw at Fancy Dresslemania XII in 2012 … and he wasn't wrong, so it's remarkable to think that, five years later, Dover vs Maidenhead is a National League fixture!

Verifiable head-scratching re the Maidenhead team sheet, at least on first glance: no Clerima, Comley or Marks; Upward and Clifton on the bench; both Goodman AND Inman starting - the latter, presumably, in midfield - as new loan signing Moses 'Steve' Emmanuel made his Magpies debut against a former club

Eight hundred and thirty-seven was the attendance; shows how far we've come yada yada when a sub four-figure crowd, for a Maidenhead United league game, is met with disdain

Resigned to our run of successive away defeats stretching to four games, when ex-Burnham striker Ryan Bird notched for the home side, so Adrian Clifton's/ Jake Hyde's (delete as appropriate) 93rd minute equaliser was worthy of a celebratory rave

(Match highlights here)

^^^ Tuesday 24th, National League, won 3-2 (A) 

Bowie's back yard; fond memories, for me, of getting the train with Willie T to an Isthmian League Div One game in March 2000 (0-0; Att. 289) - Adrian Allen made his debut and wore white shoes in the clubhouse afterwards (giving rise to his 'Griswold' nickname) - and an opening day Conference South win in 2008 (Lee Newman with a brace; Att. 438)

Relatively OK journey (thank goodness, esp. as it was my turn to drive); we were getting high fives from a furry mascot (#notaeuphenism), and supping pre-match beverages in the impressive Ravens bar, less than two hours after leaving Maidenhead at 5pm

Only four goals had been conceded by Bromley at home all season, but a mockery was made of that stat during a frantic first half: 1-0 (10 mins; sloppy defending?), 1-1 (17 mins; Adrian Clifton header from a corner), 1-2 (21 mins; Harry Pritchard penalty after Sam Barrett had been fouled … near enough the only decision that the referee got right all evening), 2-2 (23 mins; well-worked team goal), 2-3 (35 mins; Clifton with a finish straight from the Ian Wright textbookthe Arsenal legend was justifiably proud)

Moses ('he left cos you're shit') was lively, while Yaya will rightly receive plaudits for his brace, but Christian Smith gets my Man of the Match vote ('ever the contrarian') for a combative and commanding midfield performance typified by a CRUNCHING tackle, early in the second half, that clearly indicated the Magpies would not be rolling over

Lots of credit to the travelling support: decent in number and loud throughout

Eleventh in the table; back above Ebbsfleet - Sean Marks, BTW, thinks they're 'shit' - after Torquay won at Stonebridge Road #LOL

York Road should have an artificial pitch (the Chairman, after all, is/ was 'a long term advocate'), as results would indicate that we enjoy playing on them: win vs Hungerford at Slough in the B&B Cup Final, draw at Maidstone on the opening day, win at Sutton, win at Bromley …

(Match highlights here)

Double-digit team names will be an absolute necessity to adequately tell the tale of Fancy Dresslemania XVIII in April, not so much a run-of-the-mill league game in October


Really surprised to learn, while kicking a ball about on the outfield at Sutton Cricket Club (where we were attending a 1st birthday party), that Dean Inman had signed for Billericay Town; I read about our 1-1 draw - the Magpies had lead at the break, thanks to Remy Clerima's first goal for the club - when we stopped for food, at the Bells of Ouzeley, on the way home

(Match highlights here)


Saturday, 30 September 2017

2017/18 Diary ~ September

September - the month of my birth! #virgo

Usually a busy one for me and this would be no exception: originally the plan was for a long weekend with the family, on my actual birthday (Saturday 9th), but Halifax away took precedence and, as the wife vetoed staying somewhere nearby (i.e. Hebden Bridge), our trip - to, it transpired, Rye in East Sussex - was brought forward

Transfer deadline day shock as talisman Tarpey sealed an 11th hour move to Barnet; his stats - 98 goals in 139 games - don't even begin to cover it #legend

Text from Willie T - 'Oh oh oh oh, makes me wanna dance' - as I waited patiently for 5pm, in the sun trap that is the Ypres Castle Inn pub garden (#topten), to check the final score on twitter (he'd given away that we'd upset the league leaders by a 2-0 score line; great result full stop, let alone in our first game without the man who, according to some ignoramuses, made us a one man team)

Odametey, Harold (aka Sauce) with our game-clinching second goal; particularly pleasing as his energetic midfield displays, since signing in the summer from Humpton, have really caught the eye and - if his twitter timeline is anything to go by - he's a character to boot

No new striker required then? I dunno about that: while I'm pleased (to varying degrees) that Adrian Clifton, Jake Hyde and Sean Marks are at the club - and Sam Barratt might well continue to excel in the free role behind a target man - Dev is wise enough to know what is needed … it's more a question of whether he can get it

(Match highlights here)

Happy Birthday to me! 9th September last fell on a Saturday in 2006; goals from Craig O'Connor (2) and Abdul Osman helped secure a 3-1 win - our first of the Southern League season - at Halesowen

An early start; I had just enough time to reset my Paddy Power password, and lump on '2-0 to Maidenhead' @ 16/1 (#makesmewannadance), before meeting Macleod (M) for the walk into town to catch - it would transpire - the 07:41 train with Craig and Willie T

List of pre-match pubs, as determined by Craig (using CAMRA's Good Beer Guide app), went as follows: the Gundog (five pints - Stuart had met us at Leeds - cost £12.50), the Barum Top Inn (this round was even cheaper: £10.95), the Victorian Craft Beer CafĂ© (£18, incl. some black pudding pork pies; Crouch End Brewery's Simcoe my 'Beer of the Day') and the Three Pigeons (excellent boozer this, ergo we went in again after the final whistle)

Intriguing game in the sense that I think you could justifiably argue a comfortable (i.e. 3-0) win for them would've been fair, or that we deserved a draw: we weren't at our best but Sean Marks missed a great chance at 0-0 and, generally, the Magpies didn't have the rub of the green against an impressive home side containing five or six standout players (goalkeeper with a first half wonder save; powerful centre halves made life very difficult for Marks; right-winger outpaced Alan Massey for the first; left-winger - with stupid haircut - bamboozled the normally rock solid Remy Clerima for the other goals; bald-headed beanpole striker won pretty much everything in the air)

Frozen (as in Disney, not extremely cold) cake - reduced to £2 - was purchased from a Tesco Express, along with the more usual carry out staples of alcohol and lard, en route to the train station (via the rather breath-taking Piece Hall)

A boisterous bunch of Scunny lads, plus the delightful Diane from Donny, helped eat the (stale) cake and also joined in with the singing of 'Happy Birthday'

Xcellent fun, basically, despite the result; a birthday that will live long in the memory

(Match highlights here)

Thirty thousand plus saw Tranmere lose 1-0 at Newcastle in a Football League Div One encounter on 10th October 1992; on the same day, in Isthmian League Div One, 323 people - the second highest attendance of the season - watched Maidenhead draw 0-0 at Bishop's Stortford #contrast

Reaching the play-offs for the recently-created Premier League was something of a habit for Tranmere in the early 90s: three consecutive seasons (1992/93, 1993/94, 1994/95) they came tantalisingly close to the top flight

An inauspicious start, though, to their second non-league campaign: 14th position at the start of play was well below par for Micky Mellon's pre-season title favourites

No Marks (injured, so not even on the bench), Smith or Kilman in the starting XI for this one; replaced by Clifton, Mulley (who later hobbled off, subbed by Hyde) and Steer

MAID section of the Bell End given over to the 308 away fans - looked to be fewer in number than Wrexham - because (1) heavy rainfall and (2) the police were presumably OK with it after much pre-match discussion (see above photo); I look forward to us getting similar treatment at an away ground in the near future *rolls eyes*

Ex-Bristol Rovers midfielder Jeff Hughes (129 games and 28 goals for the Gas; two caps for Northern Ireland) into the book, for a foul on James Comley, just before the end of an even and largely uneventful first half

Right foot of Harry Pritchard not just for standing: he made decent connection with a drilled cross from Harold Odametey to send the Bell End - or the NHEAD UNITED section, at least - into raptures

Even if/ when we're relegated - and, as predicted before a ball was kicked, I'm confident that won't happen this season - we'll always have this: an 88th minute winner down the Bell End to clinch a well-deserved victory over a club that played in the Football League Cup Final at Wembley as recently as 2000 #magic

(Match highlights here)

Barry Rake's stupendous Di Canio-esque scissor-kick volley - arguably THE best Maidenhead United goal that I've witnessed in the flesh (certainly pre-Tarpey) - is what I first think of when Boreham Wood is mentioned, despite the fact that goal was actually vs Enfield (who were ground-sharing at Meadow Park back in September 2001)

Our last league meeting with the Wood came in March 2015, when we lost 1-0 at York Road in front of 397 people; just an extra 954 there on Saturday!

Rest game for me; a rather obvious choice for someone trying to juggle football fandom and a young family, falling as it did between Halifax/ Tranmere and Chester away

EVERY Maidenhead fan should be happy tweeted Macleod (M) in response to news that the match wasn't segregated, so Magpie supporters once more had the run of the Bell End – amen to that!

Home side domination early doors, at least according to reports I read on twitter after returning from a walk to Wessex Way shops and playground

Adrian Clifton - impressive as an attacking midfielder/ false nine during his first spell at the club; likened by Drax to Yaya Toure; Manager's Player of the Year in 2013/14 - with the (controversial) opening goal; good for him because, despite scoring in our 1-1 draw at Barrow and visibly growing into the game vs Tranmere, it's safe to say that not everyone on the terraces is convinced he's got what it takes to be Sean Marks' deputy

Mark Nisbet - peak Mark Nisbet - was compared favourably by yours truly to Dean Wells in the programme notes for the former's pre-season testimonial; Wells featured for the Wood on Saturday, lining up in defence alongside ex-Bristol Rovers and Exeter City right-back Danny Woodards (70 games/ 4 goals for the Gas)

Willie T with another 'Makes me wanna dance' text, indicating 2-0 to the Mags; Ryan Upward - back from injury - with our second

Oh no! It flashed up on Final Score that Mark Ricketts - Wells' central defensive partner - had halved the deficit in the 91st minute; thankfully, no more than a consolation

One point - one measly point - is what I'd been expecting, in all honesty, from this week's two home games; to win both was obviously an excellent response to defeat at Halifax

Didn't think we'd struggle in the National League, let alone end up being relegated, but to be fifth after 11 games (a quarter of the season, more or less) ... Wowzers!

(Match highlights here)

Chosen as a 'weekender' - trains and accommodation booked - within days of the fixtures being released; Macleod (C) would be flying over from Dublin for this one (three countries in one day!)

Homework done by Craig re the pre-match pub crawl: Mill Hotel (intended pub #1 - Ye Old Cottage Inn, opposite a 'private shop' on Brook Street - apparently doesn't open until 2pm on Saturdays!), the Cellar (where Graham - Craig's oldest friend - would join us after interrupting a family visit to Bury), Artichoke (we'd also been joined by Stuart and James, and the Old Harkers Arms wouldn't allow children) and, finally, the Town Crier (pub of convenience, opposite the train station taxi rank)

Emlyn - my old Maidenhead Boys teammate - had driven over from Warrington, where he now lives, for the game … although he probably wishes that he hadn't: Maidenhead conceded early and were abject throughout (our first 'defeat by more than one goal' in 54 games, against a club that hadn't won at home since December!)

Second-rate, shit, and shocking were put forward as descriptions of the performance; as bad as I can remember since Dev came back (and certainly a poor return on the £18 admission price)

The food and the officiating shouldn't escape censure: both ran the Magpies close in terms of crapness (Chester weren't all that either, with only striker James Akintunde standing out)

Evening pub crawl, after check-in to the Holiday Inn Express, featured the following stops: the Cross Keys ("We're all going on a Joule's Tap House tour". Nantwich? Check. Chester? Tick. Next stop? Wrexham.), the Brewery Tap (football talk, in this former Jacobean banqueting hall, was banned in favour of topics including 'favourite scenes from Tarantino movies' and 'possible destinations for our next Germany trip'), Ye Olde King's Head (where we chatted with an octogenarian about her love of Whitesnake, while watching a band from Altrincham called the Session who's singer had a voice as impressive as her little black dress), and - after both Rosie's and Cruise had refused to admit Macleod (C) and I, due to our footwear, and we'd had a nosey around the Night Church - the Victoria (rather cramped and reminded me - not in a good way - of some of the places we went to in Newquay)

Redemption, of sorts, for #chesterweekender courtesy of the fact that (1) both train journeys were relatively effortless (up there, in particular, flew by as we chatted with Northern Jimbo, a Man City fan en route to the Etihad from Twickenham) and (2) we enjoyed a pleasant walk around the City Walls - killing time before the 12:33 train home - taking in such sights as the Racecourse (the oldest in England, no less), the River Dee, Roman ruins … plus the ubiquitous Gandermonium stickers!

(Match highlights here)

Getting a PASE scheme - or similar - set up was something that I used to bang on about, fairly incessantly, on the old Advertiser forum

Unadulterated joy would be an exaggeration, but it's safe to say that I was pleased when, in March 2015, the club announced a formal link with the Berkshire College of Agriculture

I actually made my BCA debut on Saturday, attending their Family Zoo Day; the raccoons, African pygmy goats, and cotton-top tamarins in particular, sparking maniacal laughter from Junior

Sorry to see that ex-Magpie Adam Lockwood had been sacked - back in August - as Lions manager; the league table would suggest that his replacement, former Barrow boss Paul Cox, has a tough job on his hands

Evidence sought that Chester was an aberration; as discussed last Sunday, during our navigation of the City Walls, Maidenhead's reaction to that lamentable performance would be all-important

Loved Dev's pre-match comments in the Advertiser; no excuses (unlike you-know-who)

Easy win (Upward, Pritchard and Comley - his first for the club - with the goals); just what the Doctor Ashley Nicholls ordered

Your father's Maidenhead United? No. Re-confirmed.

(Match highlights here)


Thursday, 31 August 2017

2017/18 Diary ~ August

Macleod (M) had family visiting from Inverness, while Craig - thinking that the season didn't start until the following weekend - was at the Berlin Beer Festival, so yours truly (resplendent in new Alan Devonshire t-shirt from Cult Zeros, an early birthday present from the wife) would be the sole KSG representative at Maidenhead's debut National League fixture

Apparently I'd have to re-join MUSA in order to be allowed on the supporters coach - league rules, according to Mr Logic - so instead decided to drive (and offered a lift to Rhys from the Youth)

Inclement weather meant that the journey took longer than I'd hoped; no time for a pre-match ale in the highly-recommended Flower Pot :(

Drunk as a skunk! One of the Youth, immediately ahead of us in the queue at the turnstiles, could barely walk straight and would be thrown out before kick-off

Stadium will be nice ... when it's finished! The covered ends behind the goals were both absolutely packed, so the travelling contingent had to make do with an uncovered and unterraced side-line (I'm not sure Macleod (M) would've put up with that!)

Thought we looked unsure of the artificial pitch and a bit nervy ... unlike their #3 - Alex Finney - who was an absolute colossus, despite only signing on loan from QPR in the preceding days

One-nil down, early in the second half, to a direct free kick (which the press and TV raved about but looked eminently saveable to me)

No complaints if we'd gone further behind; we were uneasy at the back, especially under the high ball

Euphoric celebrations - in pouring rain - after impact sub Sam Barratt powered home a header with two minutes remaining, much to the annoyance of the Maidstone wrong enders (who got my travelling companion ejected after falsely claiming that he'd punched one of their children!); one can only imagine their reaction - and ours - if Dave Tarpey had hit the net rather than the bar, from a yard out, in added time

(Match highlights here)

Willie T gave me and my Dad a lift into town for this; my Dad's first Maidenhead game since the televised FA Cup replay with Port Vale

Really not happy to discover that the away fans - decent in number and loud in voice - had been given a bit of the Bell End (only a bit, admittedly, but still)

Early pressure from the Magpies; performance was much better - from the off - than on Saturday

X-rated defending, though, allowed Manny Smith to head the Welsh side in front

Happily, United levelled almost immediately; a deflected shot fell to Tarpey and he made no mistake

Another defensive lapse, from a cross, accounted for Smith's second of the game

Massey's header was well-saved late on and so we were left to reflect upon an undeserved defeat, over pints of Rebellion Rocket, in the Barley Mow

(Match highlights here)

Harrison - Pool's new manager - looks like Richard Herring and his pre-match comments were worthy of a Chortle Award-winning comic

An early kick-off; sun shining as Macleod (M) and I walked into town #chewinthefat

Rose was shut and so, after meeting with Craig at the top of the High Street, we headed to the Bear (drinks with Mickey Creighton and his son, Joe)

TV cameras present for a minute's applause in honour of the recently deceased Bert Randall; second in the all-time appearances list (531) and, by all accounts, THE class act during a golden era for the club

Light grey away kit for Hartlepool - yuk!

Even Maidenhead Boys Under 9s would've been embarrassed to have conceded the opening goal in the manner that Hartlepool did: long punt from Pentney, flick on by Marks (who, after not managing to lay a glove on the Maidstone and Wrexham centre halves, was bullying those from Hartlepool), and Tarpey did the rest

Photos with Creighton and Obi Ulasi - just the 500+ appearances between them - at half time

Only Scott Loach impressed for the away side; he saved well from Tarpey on a couple of occasions but was powerless to prevent the striker from doubling our lead with a thunderous shot off the crossbar

Oh shit! James Comley blotted an otherwise impeccable display (his third in a row) with a clumsy challenge that gave Hartlepool a late penalty - converted by the otherwise anonymous Padraig Amond - but, thankfully, it was merely a consolation

Long journey home (and, one suspects, a long season) for the Hartlepool fans ... not that we cared too much as we stalked James Richardson, laughed at Chelsea, and supped pints in Stripes, the Hand & Trousers, and also in the patio garden of the Maiden's Head

(Match highlights here)

An away game not to be missed; this season's 'I was there' moment - so said Macleod (M) when the fixtures were released

Feel particularly sorry for him, therefore, that work commitments meant he wasn't able to attend as initially planned

Craig picked me up at 1pm and we made good time up the M40, M6 etc.

First to Blackpool: strolls along the front (the tide, sadly, was in) and on the Central Pier (Craig: "I bet I'm the only person on here who didn't vote for Brexit!") before an enjoyable pint of Three B's Doff Cocker on a Wetherspoons roof terrace

You cannot help but be impressed by the set-up at AFC Fylde: free car parking, main stand and bar (complete with match specific betting coupons on the tables - Maidenhead United to win 4-1 was 75/1; Maidenhead United to win 4-1 with Tarpey scoring first was 175/1) worthy of a much higher division, glossy programme (featuring a thoroughly-researched article on some 'well known' former Maidenhead players), just £13 to get in (I thought £15 was the league minimum?), friendly and knowledgeable fans - I wish them all the best

Luck wasn't on their side: they hit the woodwork on multiple occasions and played well with ten men, particularly after manager Dave Challinor - who, in stark contrast to the Hartlepool boss, spoke a lot of sense in his pre-match interview - made a couple of subs at half time (one of these - #7 James Hardy - really caused us problems)

David Tarpey did for them, though, with yet another four-goal haul: two penalties (a long wait before the first, although not long enough for me to win the golden goal competition!) and two exquisite second-half strikes (incl. a breathtakingly-good free kick)

Early hours before we got home, but I'm sure that every one of the 43 travelling fans were glad they'd made the long midweek trip; REM's The Great Beyond was playing in the car, as Craig dropped me off at approx. 01:30, which was apt

(Match highlights here)

Every husband knows that he needs to try and keep his wife happy

Back-to-back-to-back-to-back Maidenhead games meant that I had little or no credit in the bank, as it were

Binfield (the Jack O'Newbury) - via a shopping trip to Slough - for pub lunch then, rather than to York Road

Shearing our wildflower meadow and cleaning the garage door - in preparation for a new coat of paint - were also on my list of chores, before I could settle down in front of the TV

Final Score on the BBC would be my usual choice - we don't have Sky - but for some reason I found myself watching the BT Sport equivalent of Soccer Saturday; how annoying is Chris Sutton?!

Left-winger Harry Pritchard has, for several seasons now, been one of our most important players and so I was delighted to see that, after a somewhat inauspicious start to the season (by his usual high standards), he'd put us ahead

Excellent goalkeeping from Nathan 'Mel Capleton' Ashmore kept the score line close, before an equaliser - soft - came early in the second half

Expect some Ebbsfleet fans to bang on about how Tarpey failed, once again, to score against them - and how they're unbeaten in the league since the dawn of time - as if the National League South 2016/17 CHAMPIONS give a shit about that!

Top ten (9th in fact, with eight points) after five games - I'd have snapped your hands off for that start

(Match highlights here)

Been there, done that (me, re Barrow away)

As such, I wouldn't be joining Craig and Macleod (M) on the 06:40 train from Maido

Rail replacement, due to the Bank Holiday weekend, and so they'd be going via Reading rather than London (their train tickets - not incl. seat reservations - apparently resembled a pack of playing cards)

Reserve team an inaccurate description, but Alan Devonshire wasn't bluffing when he said "It's going to be time to use the squad": multiple changes, with Comley, Upward and Marks on the bench, plus Pritchard and Tarpey (and Clerima) missing out altogether

One jibe after another from the BBC Cumbria commentators re Carl Pentney ("He couldn't keep pigeons"), especially after the home side had equalised early in the second half (they were, however, very complimentary towards Sam Barratt)

Would probably have taken a draw before kick-off; it sounded as if we should've been more than one up at the break, and could've nicked it at the death (great save, then goal disallowed), but both Craig and Macleod (M) seemed happy enough with the point (if not the referee)

(Match highlights here)

League club alert! (proper League club as well: 112 years, albeit only one season - 1962/63 - in the top flight)

Eighty-seven points Orient had managed in 2013/14, good enough for third in League One; Maidenhead got 46 points that season, 'good enough' for 18th in the Conference South (another 'great achievement' by Drax)

You'd have gotten long odds, as recently as last season, on me giving up a Bank Holiday Monday in August to attend a Maidenhead United home game but I wasn't going to miss this, even if it meant cutting (slightly) short a long weekend at the in-laws; we left Monmouthshire after breakfast and had navigated the Second Severn Crossing before half ten

Tartan Army duty for Craig (#vilniusvacation), while Macleod (M) said that he'd meet me at the ground, so I walked into town on my own and had a pre-match lager in the new 'beer patio' area down the Canal End (benches required)

Our 'Kop' - the Bell End - was unsurprisingly, but no less irritatingly, allocated to away fans; the club prioritising expected gate receipts over the match day experience of Magpie supporters

NOT happy - any dispute with the Spiritualist Church, re an entrance down the Canal End (see the above photo), could/ should have been resolved YEARS ago if we'd bothered to build and use a turnstile down there when it was first suggested by MUSA and the original Supporter-Director (and, I'm sure, by others; hardly rocket surgery)

One-nil down early on; ANOTHER header, this time after Rene Steer - in his first appearance of the season - had been turned inside out

Reasonably safe to assume that Jake Hyde would've started if he wasn't injured (don't laugh!); Tarps didn't look anywhere near 100%

It was always going to be difficult in the second half - against full timers, in sweltering conditions, playing up the slope towards the away fans (only 734 in actuality; could've stuck them in the corner) - but we made a decent fist of it

End-to-end stuff, with both Carl Pentney and his opposite number kept on their toes; it just wouldn't fall for us, though, in their box 

No disgrace losing to an Orient side who are probably the best that we've played against so far this season; they were certainly hanging on at the end and I think that a draw would've been fair

Tranmere, Aldershot - or whoever - get the whole of the Bell End, moving forward, and I'll think twice about going

(Match highlights here)