Half three departure for the MurdoMobile; moans about the usual (Shanly) as we made slow progress, across town, to pick up Craig
Easy enough journey, up the M40/ A43/ M1, meant that I was taking frightfully flawed photos of the famous wonky spire, from the A61, at half six precisely
Spireite for pre-match bevvies (decent, and only £8.20 for three pints); Bobby P and others, who'd journeyed by train and were staying overnight, had pulled up in a taxi just before we arrived
There was a lengthy queue for match tickets but the entry fee was a relatively reasonable £16, while the hospitable stewards put their counterparts at Barnet to shame
Early goal would be crucial and, surprisingly enough, it was the Magpies who got it after a penetrating run from James Akintunde put Herson Alves in a position to round the keeper and slot home; those two names indicative of an unfamiliar Maidenhead line-up, which had to change again when Alan Massey limped off
Referee (Andrew Miller) was - even by National League standards - infuriatingly shite but, thankfully, he waved 'play on' as James Comley won the ball with a crunching tackle, before slipping Herson in for a repeat of his opening goal; 0-2 at the break
Former West Brom and Celtic striker Marc-Antoine Fortuné had spent the whole game diving over but, after a soft yet predictable penalty had been awarded (apparently the sixth that's been given against us so far this season), he was able to stay on his feet long enough to halve the deficit; however, within a few minutes of the Spireites getting back into the game, Shwan Jalal had performed his best Louis Wells impression, allowing Ryan Upward to effectively end the contest by restoring our two-goal cushion #guffaws
I seemed angrier at Chesterfield's abject display than the apathetic home support, who appear quietly resigned to a third successive relegation; eight defeats out of ten - two points from a possible 30 - yet Martin Allen remains in a job, which might suggest that their incompetent Board cannot afford to pay him off
Everyone in the away end seemed to agree that - despite fine individual performances (e.g. Pentney, Smith, Worsfold), as part of a decent team display - Comley was comfortably the best player on the pitch, let alone our Man of the Match; Herson winning the online poll - 141 total votes; official away attendance was 38 - as grave an injustice as Elegant Strumming by M People beating Blur's Parklife to the Mercury Music Prize in 1994.
Long stretches (Nb. plural) of the M1 were closed; frustrating detours - sound tracked by songs from Belle & Sebastian, Terrorvision and The Fall, and sparking conversation about [1.] FA Cup adventures of yesteryear (Hucknall Town 3-2 Maidenhead United in 2000/01; 380 paying witnesses to goals from Steves Arkins and Brown) and [2.] fatal air disasters - preceded our 1am arrival back in Maidenhead
Don't particularly enjoy the typical away day match experience, in the National League, but I will *never* tire of Maidenhead United providing big (relatively speaking) ex-league teams (e.g. Hartlepool, Tranmere, Leyton Orient) with 'This Is A Low' moments, a la Braintree Town and Bristol Rovers in 2014.
(BBC report; match highlights)
(BBC report; match highlights)