OK, so I admit that I was disappointed with this FA Cup draw from the get-go (second place in League One indicates they're a good side; the Kassam is a godforsaken out-of-town stadium that I've been to before), and I remained unenthusiastic about the fixture when it cropped up briefly in conversation during the car ride home from our undeserved defeat at Aldershot, but still a shock to learn – after messaging on Monday morning to suggest getting a train to Culham, and a taxi to the ground from a pub there (as I think the savvier Bristol Rovers fans had done, on my last visit) – that Craig, Macleod (M) and Scouse Mick had, sometime during our long overdue league win the preceding Saturday, booked seats on one of the supporters' coaches; I half-heartedly followed suit, despite protestations from Steve H, and began to wrack my brains for the last occasion I travelled to a game via that particular mode of transport ...
XVII years almost to the day, I reckon, since the big – at the time – FA Cup match at Stafford Rangers in 2006 (our first FAC1RP appearance since 1971; The U's our 14th FAC1RP opponents since WWII, half of which have come in the last nine years); anyway, the forecast was for heavy rain, so I was relieved – especially after an earlier soaking on my morning run – to learn that Macleod (M) had booked a taxi to take us to the Portland Arms ... although come the time, it was glorious sunshine!
Familiar scenes on the back row of Coach #2 – Scouse Mick supping on *ahem* Coca Cola, then a can of Stella – as the driver sensibly diverted via Henley-on-Thames to avoid traffic on the M40; the pre-match ambience in the Hollywood Bowl, outside the Kassam, best summed up by Oxford United replica shirt-wearing supporters cheering loudly – momentarily drowning out noise from the arcade machines and children's birthday parties – as Manchester United scored a late winner on TV
Our line-up was an attacking one, so it was perhaps unsurprising to see us opened up like a can of beans after only 15 minutes, with Billy Bodin finishing off a slick but largely unopposed move; the Magpies had two or three half-decent chances after that and should really have gone in level at the break, but, as pointed out by Oxblogger, "they just weren't quite good enough"
Ryan Peters and or Dev (the latter down from his position in the director's box, as he's serving a touchline ban for a red card at Barnet) must've delivered a rocket at halftime, as we started the second 45 like men possessed, with Alan Massey (!) leading the charge; however, per usual, we ran out of steam, and our substitutions (bar Massey) didn't help, cue a second from Bodin towards the end that sealed the win but didn't quieten the 663 away fans
Departure of the coaches seemed unnecessarily belated, and our route to the M40 was haphazard, but we made it back to the Portland in time to witness the latest VAR fiasco (Arsenal robbed of a point at Newcastle); someone did Disco 2000 on karaoke, which went down a treat and prompted a quip that it might be 2000 years before Maidenhead United's next appearance in the second round of the FA Cup (137 years and counting)
— Tony Stoyle (@AbingdonTony) November 4, 2023