"As for Maidenhead, the conga (which was amusing) aside, quite a strange bunch really – some the oddest chants I've ever heard at a football match" ~ localboy86, Amber Planet forum, 26th April 2015

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Away Day Diary: Chesterfield 1-3 Maidenhead United (25/09/18)

Chalazion removal (viewer discretion advised), the previous day, meant that I had the whole of Tuesday off; time for a leisurely pint of Rebellion IPA, in the New Inn's warm and sunny pub garden, on the way back from Aldi

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 supporters, 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 - soundtracked 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)

Saturday 15 September 2018

Away Day Diary: Barnet 1-0 Maidenhead United (08/09/18)

Been to the Hive before - Macleod (M) and I went to see Bristol Rovers' first away game as a non-league side - but I had a pass (of sorts: the wife had assumed that the Magpies were at home) for this one, as it was my birthday on Sunday (subsequent gifts included an A4 print of the Bell End)

Adjacent to us on the tube sat Chinua Cole (impressive, when called upon, since signing as a backup to Rene Steer); good to chat with him and telling, I thought, that he laughed when his manager at Staines Town came up in conversation! #drax

Recommended - by Craig - pre-match watering hole was the Wetherspoon's (did the job; don't be fooled by Willie T's half-pint) in Kingsbury; the NW London district where, incidentally, I'd spent my first five years

No surprise that Barnet had ideas above their station, we were warned to expect as much: the stewards made us hold up all of the flags to the CCTV cameras, before entry, to ensure that they didn't feature any racist or offensive slogans, while the 200+ away fans crammed into a tiny section of the new(ish) stand (that had been a decent, covered terrace - packed with Gasheads - back in 2014) #pathetic

Early goal - Craig and I were still in the (sizeable) bar - settled a poor game (the only saving grace was that thanks to a free ticket from the Chairman, I didn't pay to get in); not much else to add except that the home side missed a late penalty - almost as much as they missed David Tarpey - and ultimately deserved their narrow win over a below-par Maidenhead (who weren't helped by ineffectual substitutions, which only served to provide Barnet's impressive #26 with unnecessary heading practice)

To the Royal Oak in Borough, straight after the final whistle, for a beer up with some of our old friends from Wealdstone (on their way back from a 1-1 draw with Dulwich Hamlet at Tooting & Mitcham): almost too much fun ... a case of 'my memory kinda hazy' towards the end of the night and I, for one, was feeling somewhat delicate come the following morning!

Monday 30 April 2018

2017/18 Diary ~ April

Alex Wall's transfer to Luton Town in 2013 included a pre-season friendly the following year which, it transpired, coincided with the Maidenhead Beer Festival at York Road; my colleague CJ - who I've worked with, on and off (mostly on), since 2009 - is fond of both the Hatters and beer, so regrettable that he was unavailable

Last year he moved to Aldershot, close to the Recreation Ground, and so this seasons visit - our first league game there for 15 years - was earmarked instead as his Maidenhead United debut and, after an invitation was thrown out to a wider audience, we were to be joined by other workmates similarly keen to sample a bit of Magpies action: Craig Ma. ("He's not a Slough Town fan is he?!"), Hannah and Matt R ("They're married AND they're in the same team at work?!"; the former an ex-HBOS colleague of Willie T), plus - all the way from Somalia, via London's stand-up comedy circuit - the much missed G

Did warn them that watching Maidenhead is often 'a good day out slightly stained by 90 minutes of football', and so it proved!

Each of our last two away days has featured a chance meet with someone that Craig Mc. knows: this time a home fan called Ian, whom I'd first got chatting to in the toilets of the Victoria (while an entire platoon of riot police were milling around on the street outside)

Rather predictable result - and scorer - and a real shame to see us fighting (James Comley with the skipper) and arguing (Carl Pentney with the manager) amongst ourselves at the final whistle

Seen our performance described as 'brave', which I don't really get: the home side weren't all that ("You're staying down with the Maidenhead"; only Bobby-Joe Taylor stood out) but Gary Waddock was positive with his changes and I think that they deserved to win, whereas our starting line-up seemed disjointed and our substitutions were head-scratching (e.g. Comley, on for Jake Hyde, ended up playing right wing!)

Have to commend the Shots for letting the away fans (175) in the East Bank - not a given, apparently - and for eventually allowing us to hang the flags down the side (in hindsight, we should've brought the big black and white one); as I mentioned on twitter, the East Bank acoustics are great - certainly no need for a sodding drum - and, IMO, it's up there with the Bell End (pre-segregation) as the best covered terrace in the division, if not non-league

One pint in La Fontaine (strange location for a baby shower!) before visits to the George (disappointed but not surprised that the place erupted when the other MUFC came back from 2-0 down, after belatedly deciding to play like a team which cost over £3bn, or whatever, to assemble), the Queen Hotel (17-year-old Sam P - not drinking but still made to go outside, by the bouncers, whilst we finished our beers, because "No children are allowed in after 9pm" - witness to a bus catching fire; cue a road closure and more police), and finally the Trafalgar (pick of the bunch, in a town centre which is perhaps best summed up by an amusement arcade - called Cashino - with a padlocked drain cover outside)

The contrast with this time last year - our 2-1 home win vs East Thurrock, in sweltering conditions on 8th April 2017, was our seventh victory in a row and put us five points clear at the top of the table - is stark; Woking, at York Road on Tuesday, is massive (only already-relegated Chester are below us both in the six-game form guide)

(Match highlights here)

Worse teams than us, in poorer form had been the oft-used reassurance during our recent slide down the table; well, the Cards were one of those teams and so it felt a bit 'now or never' re the win that would finally see us break 50 points

Out went Remy Clerima (ominous, as someone mentioned that we'd yet to win without him this season; he was on the pitch at the end, BTW, so presumably injured rather than unavailable), Christian Smith (bit harsh, as I thought he did well - as he often does - when called upon at Aldershot) and Jake Hyde; in came Jake Goodman, James Comley (indicating that his recent post-match bust-up with Alan Massey had blown over) and Moses Emmanuel (law of the ex)

Kiss's Crazy Crazy Nights played on the PA system at the interval (which turned out to be rather prophetic); I agreed with Craig's assessment that "this seems reminiscent of Eastleigh away," i.e. we should've been - but, worryingly, weren't - several goals to the good at half-time, as opposed to Dan Darlington's  'Goalless at the break. Probably about right' tweet

I greeted ex-Magpie James Mulley, as we passed each other by the Cage, and would definitely have asked for a photo if I'd realised at the time that he was accompanied by Charlie Wassmer; 'Surf Dud' - now earning rave reviews at Humpton - was the 2016/17 GMOSC Player of the Season (after topping a poll ahead of Benny Laryea and John Lambie)

Nightmarish defensive howler gifted Woking the lead after 76 minutes - they'd have never scored otherwise, despite having perennial Magpie menace Louie Theodopolopodous among their ranks - and things were looking rather bleak for the hosts, as Dev threw on Adrian 'Yaya' Clifton and Sam Barratt, while Ryan Upward prepared to swing over a free kick …

GET IN THERE! Yaya's emphatic header immediately hauled us level and then, with two minutes of normal time remaining, Sean Marks - my Man of the Match - bundled home Barratt's left-wing cross to spark wild Canal End celebrations (borne out of relief, as much as anything; I felt sure that my jacket had been ripped!); a great fight back - even allowing for the ineptness of the opposition - that was reminiscent of Jordan Cox's heroics vs Eastbourne Borough last season and, crucially, all but ensures another National League campaign for Alan Devonshire's black and white army #brandyandcigars

(Match highlights here)

Decent weather - finally - so I donned my Alan Dev t-shirt from Cult Zeros, in honour of the great man's recent birth(at the end of the)day, to mow the lawn (sweat was soon dripping - literally - from my forehead!); here's hoping for similar temperatures at #FDXVIII next Saturday, particularly as my outfit is primed for sunshine

Other 'football free weekend' chores done and dusted, it was time for some al fresco Soccer Saturday (with the little man sat alongside me, in the garden, watching CBeebies on his mother's iPhone); enjoyable enough even before news of Max Kilman's 94th-minute winner, which mathematically secured our National League status!

Virgilio - who apparently fell at the sixth - one of seven horses that the wife and I had backed, £2.50 each way, in the Grand National; only one was placed … but that was Tiger Roll, the winner! (£47 back from Paddy Power; better than a kick in the wotsits.)

Eleventh place still a (remote) possibility for the Magpies: faltering Sutton at York Road on Tuesday, before we face a Dagenham & Redbridge side who [1.] currently occupy that spot, [2.] play on Tuesday AND Thursday this week, and [3.] are apparently facing an uncertain future

Remember when it was said that Drax keeping us in the division BELOW, often by the skinniest of margins, was 'a great achievement'? In the immortal words of Mick 'Crocodile' Dundee: "That's not a knife … THAT'S a knife!"

(Match highlights here)

Supposed to meet with Gandermonium in the Maiden's Head but, sadly, they were a no-show (much like their team, it would transpire!); Craig, Macleod (M) and I instead enjoyed pre-match pints of Rebellion (incl. Impressionist) with Stef, Phil the Gorilla and co.

Upraised eyebrows when we heard that Adrian Clifton and Sean Marks were starting together upfront, but both were in the thick of the action from the outset - as Maidenhead dominated - and performed well throughout

Treemendous (#payney) strike from Harry Pritchard - in from the very moment that it left his right (wrong) foot - gave the Magpies a deserved lead; reinforced, before half-time, by Jake Goodman's header

Third just wouldn't come, though, after the break - goal disallowed, penalty saved, shot came back off the bar - and only a great save from Carl Pentney, right at the death, secured the three points; much to the delight of all but 332 of the 2,201 crowd

Old boys Paul McKinnon (Sutton's record goal scorer; seven for Maidenhead in 1995/96) and Vernon Pratt (teammate of McKinnon - and Trevor Roffey - during Sutton's famous FA Cup run in 1988/89; Maidenhead's top scorer - he was a centre half! - in the 1994/95 season) photographed, post-match in Stripes, alongside Craig Dundas (#epicfail from yours truly), Bob Hussey, and Kevin Brown ('Sarge' played with McKinnon and Pratt, under John Watt, at York Road); Macleod (M), though, inadvertently cropped out!

Next stop for me and Macleod (M) was the Barley Mow, where my sister - visiting from Sydney - had been partaking in the pub quiz trivia night with my parents; it seems like only yesterday that my Dad and I were among those sat outside the Barley in August, drowning sorrows after our home defeat to Wrexham, contemplating the prospect of a long, tough season ahead #timeflies

(Match highlights here)

Devonshire '86 and Johnny Lawrence from The Karate Kid met with Gandermonium in the Euston Flyer, post-match, before ending the night in Smokey's


Radioactive Man, in stark contrast, was home in a flash! ;-)

(Match highlights here)

(Scouse Snapper Mick's photos here)

Last time that the final away game of a season came in midweek was at Staines Town in 2010/11; Fancy Dresslemania XI should actually have taken place at Thurrock but, further to the bans which followed events on the opening day, the KSG instead decided to walk to Binfield to support the Reserves (raising money for Parkinson's UK in the process)

Embarrassing for the 'mighty' O's that this fixture hadn't taken place, on Easter Monday, as originally scheduled; one of their fans, who'd labelled us 'tin pot' on social media, in the immediate aftermath of our Good Friday game with Sutton being abandoned at half-time, was very quick to delete his tweet!

Yours truly not one of the countless Magpies - Macleod (M) estimates that there were hundreds - who'd journeyed, fruitlessly, into London on the Bank Holiday (BCA's latest Family Zoo Day, cancelled due to the snow in mid-March, had been re-scheduled for the morning, while my sister was also back from Oz); I wouldn't be at the rearranged game either - 67 Magpies in attendance - due to a pre-booked holiday

Told that it was raining at home, but the weather in Majorca - on Tuesday, at least - was lovely

Our apartment had WiFi and I did consider listening to the game on BBC Radio Berkshire; instead I watched the Spanish TV coverage of Liverpool vs Roma in the Champions League (the commentators clearly very excited by Mohamed Salah; presumably less so re the defending, or lack thereof)

Not overly bothered about missing out on seeing Maidenhead play at Brisbane Road: I've been there several times before to watch other teams - notably Exeter (incl. a Friday night fixture when Willie T and I sat alongside Barry McConnell) and Hull (Third Division play-offs in 2000/01; the same night that Liverpool beat Alaves in the UEFA Cup final) - while the 'novelty' of the Magpies playing at stadiums with more seats than Gandermonium have sticker designs has, TBH, worn a bit thin

Once per season - e.g. Port Vale in the FA Cup, or Grimsby Town in the Trophy - was enough for me: spending >£15 to stand, amongst rows of seating, in an (oft- poorly positioned) Away End, is not really my cup of tea

Ryan Upward with the early winner; controversially sent off late on

Insider at the club had predicted, during Mark Nisbet's pre-season testimonial, that 'some players, who you don't necessarily expect, will make the step'; he specifically mentioned Uppy, and he was proved right

Enjoyable - as always, but particularly so - to read the 'beaten by a pub team' tweets #suckitup

Nice for Carl Pentney to keep a clean sheet on his 150th appearance; it's been reassuring to have him between the sticks, as opposed to some of the clowns that Drax picked (and, as I mentioned on twitter, he's another who has really stepped up this season)

Twelfth - top half - confirmed; ¡Estupendo!

(Match highlights here)

Birthday celebrations for Macleod (C) - 40 isn't old if you're a tree! - meant that we were in the Alan Devonshire Suite for this one; "Doesn't anyone like my melons?" asked Mrs Dev, at one point, as the fruit went largely untouched

Referee was a Mr Bromley but he showed no favouritism in allowing our second goal, from Christian Smith (who would later head the ball - one bounce - over the Canal End, from about a yard!), to stand despite it looking - excellent view from the seats, BTW - very much like their keeper had been fouled; 2-0 up after only five minutes and, thanks to a superb left-footed strike from the impressive Nana Owusu, 3-1 at the break

Our next goal - Sam Barratt's second - came so soon after the restart that the KSG were still finishing half-time pints; not to worry, though, as we saw it on BT Sport only a few moments later! #surreal

Marks, Sean added a fifth (it definitely wasn't an own goal, honest!) before being substituted, to a rousing reception, on what Dev later confirmed was his farewell appearance; as I said to him afterwards, #9 has been an absolutely vital part of our recent success and, although the reasons are completely understandable, it is sad to see him depart … Do you remember the time we saw a goal from Marks?/ Three of them versus Ebbsfleet/ Flying header down at the Bell End/ David Tarpey his best friend/ Never forget his name/ Still love me a goal from Marks

Less said the better re Jake Hyde getting the Goal of the Season nod - and the scaffolding backdrop - but otherwise the End of Season awards were pretty much spot on: typical of Dev - who confirmed to me that he did see himself in the Daily Mail last Monday! - to thank the fans, right and proper that there was public recognition for the efforts of Messrs Pritchard (another, sadly, making his farewell appearance?), Clerima and Massey, while Scouse Snapper Mick getting Clubman of the Year is a redemption story worthy of a Hollywood movie!

Everyone - or so it seemed - headed to Stripes (no Rebellion!) and then to Off The Tap; those present in the latter included the bar staff from the former, plus the man previously known as Landlord Joe (rather apt, as so many Magpies fans in the same pub, post-match on a Saturday, was reminiscent of the Anchor in its pomp)

You may or may not be relieved to learn that, for 2018/19 and beyond, I'll be reverting to a more sporadic approach re the blogging; I'm pleased, though, that this season - another truly remarkable one - has been recorded in such detail … thanks to everyone involved with Maidenhead United, obviously, and to my wife for tolerating the waste of so much time and energy on this self-indulgent waffle!

(Match highlights here)

(FCVideo's excellent season montage here)

< insert video here of Dev dancing > 

August, September, October, November, December, January, February, March

Saturday 31 March 2018

2017/18 Diary ~ March

Gastroenteritis was not the best preparation for the weekend … although, thinking about the vomit-inducing hot mess that was to follow, perhaps it was!

Adjectives that could also apply to describe both the Magpies' performance AND the 'International Stadium' within the constituency of the latest MP to post hilarious tweet about 'getting one over' the Prime Minister:








(Match highlights here)

Back when this fixture was (re)scheduled to take place in late February, on the Tuesday after the Macclesfield game, I had agreed to drive

Our six-hour (or thereabouts) train journey on Sunday - it took almost as long to get from King's Cross to Maidenhead as it did to get from Newcastle to King's Cross, thanks to a points failure (or summat) at Slough - gave me time to reflect, though, on some of my recent life choices

Rather sit at home and catch up with Shetland on BBC iPlayer, before settling down with a mug of Ovaltine to finish reading The Man With The Golden Gun, than travel to Meadow Park (or even listen to the match commentary)

Every other online list that I've seen ranks either Moonraker or Casino Royale as the best James Bond novel, yet I was left disappointed by them - the first two (by Ian Fleming) that I'd read - possibly because the unsavoury elements of Fleming's writing (e.g. casual racism, misogyny) came as such a shock

However, I was pleasantly surprised by You Only Live Twice TMWTGG - lower expectations, perhaps?

Anyway, as much as the recent Tyneside humiliation has put me off football, for the moment, s'pose I'd better write something on topic …

Maidenhead's starting line-up looked stronger: Rene Steer recovered from a concussion, Harold Odametey and Harry Pritchard returned to their respective wing positions (please don't play them anywhere else, Dev, unless you absolutely have to), and James Comley was back from his latest 'rest'

When it became apparent that Comley was missing - again - on Saturday, I'd feared the worst (not a 7-1 tonking, like, but still); there have been long-standing rumours that the ex-St Albans City man and the gaffer don't see eye-to-eye, and if that is accurate then replacing the former's creativity, in the middle of the park, should be a high priority this summer

One-nil down to an early Morgan Ferrier goal, which didn't bode well

One-all, though, the final score; Moses Emmanuel equalised on the half-hour mark and, by all accounts, we were the better side after the break

Draw was a decent result (for the likes of Wrexham, as well as for us) and, as Dennis Greene - not very popular, apparently, with the Boston United fans that Keith had met on his way to Gateshead - once said: "There's nothing better than a point on the road"

(Match highlights here)

Back when the Anchor was the place to drink - before and after games at the Mecca of Football, across the road - there was a rather impressive, if I say so myself, scarf mural (briefly mentioned in this blog post); the Bluebirds were, for a long time (if not full stop?), the only away fans to contribute

A 1-0 midweek win at York Road in the Second Round of the 2009/10 FA Trophy formed part of their run to the final at Wembley, where they beat Stevenage Borough by the odd goal in three

Revenge came in the form of our own away win (2-0), also in the Second Round of the FA Trophy, in 2013/14 #barrowtwelve

Rugby - final round of Six Nations matches - on the TV, whilst minding the little one, for me on Saturday; once again, I gave the BBC Radio Berkshire commentary a swerve, although this was certainly not an indictment of the work Adam Whitty et al. have been doing

Our lowest National League attendance to date at York Road - 1,030; more than double our season-high league attendance from as recently as 2013/14 - witness to a 1-0 defeat vs the relegation-threatened visitors (reduced to ten men, thanks to a second yellow card for ex-Sutton midfielder Bedsenté Gomis); still a case, therefore, of 'so near but yet so far' re Dev's safety target of 50 points

Whilst I won't be going to nearly as many games next season, Fancy Dresslemania XIX remains firmly on my radar, and I don't have any desire for that to take place at Holker Street (sorry, Barrow fans); I'd much rather Torquay survived but, despite our best efforts to make that happen (with 80% of league games played, we account for 18% of their goals and 20% of their points!), it doesn't look likely

(Match highlights here)

Eight years, this August, since the Macleods and I got ejected from our opening day win at Stonebridge Road on trumped-up charges of 'foul and abusive language' and 'threatening behaviour' 'making children cry'

Bans that subsequently followed, as unjust as they were, were probably a good thing in the long run: better ways to spend Saturday afternoons than routinely following a football club around the country as the fixture list dictates

Beating Nathan Ashmore, Anthony Cook, Danny Kedwell, et al. 3-2 away was one of the most satisfying results of our Conference South title-winning season, according to Macleod (M), but I don't regret missing that game; I have no desire to return to the Kuflink Stadium (as it's currently known) … which, thinking about it, would be somewhat problematic if we were ever due to play there on the last (Saturday) away game of a season!

Stroll to the Shire Horse for lunch (cod goujons, i.e. fish finger, sandwich and a pint of Rebellion's Relativity; both decent) after an unwanted doorstep confab earlier in the day: I'd stepped out onto a (shockingly) cold and wet driveway - wearing just my boxers and a dressing gown - to put a nappy in the bin and was greeted by a Jehovah's Witness (next weekend is, apparently, 'the annual celebration of Jesus Christ's death')

Flapjacks and a flare: I was helping to make the former, as the Youth (presumably) celebrated Harry Pritchard's 81st-minute equaliser by letting off the latter (it seems that we played well and deserved a point, which I'd have happily taken pre-match)

Limping towards our long-held safety target, though, in a rather agonising fashion; simply staying in this tough division will, of course, be a terrific achievement, but after some notable scalps earlier in the campaign, it's a bit of a shame to see our form tail off as it has done of late (Ebbsfleet came into this match atop the four-game form table, whilst we were bottom - hopefully we can kick on again, once we've finally broken through the psychological barrier (?) of 50 points

Envious of our friends at Wealdstone, who had a big Semi-Final second leg (which, sadly, they lost); this felt like our year in the Trophy and getting knocked out at Stockport after dominating the first game and then leading 2-0 in the replay, is a black mark against 2017/18

Excuses are not, thankfully, Dev's style; it was absolutely the correct decision to keep faith with the players who won us the title - I have previously criticised Drax for needlessly breaking up our Southern League promotion-winning team - but I think he'll appreciate that next season could be a slog if the doesn't strengthen the squad in the summer (Nb. James Comley was conspicuous by his absence vs Ebbsfleet; it seems that he went off injured the previous weekend.)

Two million pounds (GBP) is what Ebbsfleet lost - not spent, LOST - finishing second to Maidenhead United last season! Time to share this video again (Is there an extended version? I seem to remember seeing an extended version in the immediate aftermath of Margate.)

(Match highlights here)

Second time this season that I've missed a match-up with Paul 'tell Superman to shut up!' Doswell's charges: I was in Rye, East Sussex, for our 2-0 away win in September and at the in-laws for Good Friday

Understand that our friends at Gandermonium have press accreditation for this summer's ConIFA World Cup, so perhaps, I'll catch up with them then … although the standout fixture - Panjab vs Western Armenia, at Slough Town, on a Saturday in early June - coincides with my Dad's birthday! #jinxed

Truly remarkable that the U's - familiar Isthmian League opponents of ours over the years - hosted Leeds United and Arsenal in the FA Cup last season and are now on the cusp of promotion to the Football League; it was only ten years ago that they finished rock bottom of the Conference South table with a measly 24 points (a 1-1 draw with them at York Road, over the 2007 festive period, had prompted the first calls - that I remember - for the sacking of Drax)

Torquay was not segregated, but Sutton was?! At least the decision - probably made by Thames Valley Police after taking one look at the league table and factoring in the Bank Holiday (allowing them to stand around, picking their noses in the buffer zone on double pay) - afforded one celebrity fan suitable protection from the travelling horde

On/ off commentary from @SUFCTV (presumably, the monsoon conditions played havoc with their equipment): I only heard three goals described live, and so, as far as I'm concerned, we won the first half 2-1 (Pritchard, Hyde; Walton)

Not a good day for Sutton: our match was abandoned at the break (seemingly the correct decision; more questionable was starting the game in the first place) - with little or no sympathy from the hosts - and then Macclesfield won at Woking with the very last kick (the former have a knack for late goals and appear destined to go up as champions)

(Match highlights here)

August, September, October, November, December, January, February