"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

Monday 13 January 2020

Away Day Diary: Halesowen Town 2-2 Maidenhead United (11/01/20)

Happy birthday (25) to me, on the first and hitherto last time that Maidenhead played at The Grove, back in September 2006 (the wife - girlfriend at the time - and I stayed over afterwards, in Birmingham, if memory serves); Saturday was Alan Massey's birthday (31), and so we bought him a beer after the game (reluctantly accepted, so embarrassed was he by the Magpies performance)

Although we'd been there before - and I completely understand the appeal of Bradford (Park Avenue) - I was relieved that Halesowen had won their First Round replay, because I couldn't face another trek up to Yorkshire; not with the trains still busted, out of King's Cross, and so soon after Harrogate away

Left Reading on the 09:45 (Clive Connor - brother of Brian 'MUFC Hall of Famer' Connor - was sat in our carriage and, remarkably, was also on the same return train as us; we had a brief chat and a photo); then New Street to Snow Hill, a meet with Steve H Solihull Steve aka 'the Sweetie Blinder' on the 11:43 to Rowley Regis (which, IMO, sounds like a West Indian cricketer of '80s vintage), and a soaking on the walk to the Fixed Wheel brewery tap

Early contender, this, for GMOSC Pub of the Year; the meal deal ("better than Tesco's"), the beers (Tornado Tom was the near-unanimous favourite), the cheeseboard (intended, I think, for brewery tour participants, but we got stuck in regardless), the decor (I'm a big fan of these industrial unit/ warehouse-type places, a la Dhillon's in Coventry), and the conversation (jovial recollections, with two couples from Worcestershire, about our various attempts at the Tything pub crawl) were all on point

Short taxi ride - G.M. was with us, and I said to his Reading-supporting mate, attending his first Maidenhead away game, that we'd probably just experienced the most enjoyable part of the day - to the Waggon & Horses, Islington (not that one), close to the ground; it would be understandable to think that we were back in Harrogate, judging by the almost mind-boggling choice of ales

Only one covered terrace, and it was cold, wet and windy as the Magpies attacked the open end of the ground in the first half; Joe Ellul scored with an early header, though, to warm the cockles

We re-took the lead through Josh Smile's neat finish just before half-time/ immediately after they had equalised with a screamer from outside the box; things seemed relatively rosy at the break, as we queued for the bogs and posed for a photo with John G, although Chris Dunn's injured hamstring - Ellul was taking goal kicks - was cause for some concern (what's TAH doing these days?)

Equaliser number two came early in the second half - an almost carbon copy of Ellul's opener (free header, at the near post, from a corner) - and, despite their keeper having to make a decent save to deny Jake Cassidy, the Yeltz (three divisions below us; the same level as M@rl*w) were unarguably the better team overall; their players were applauded from the pitch at the final whistle, by both sets of supporters, and deservedly so

Not my preference to go in the crowded clubhouse but go in the crowded clubhouse we did (more Fixed Wheel beers; plus a chat and a photo with N.O'G. - Maidenhead fan and groundhopper royalty - on his way to Torino vs Bologna) before a taxi to Brum and a pub crawl (as per the 2018 edition of the Good Beer Guide) back to New Street station: the Gunmakers Arms (pints so bad that the Macleods didn't come close to finishing theirs), Pint Shop (crowded; loads of decent ales on), the Wellington (crowded; loads of decent ales on), and the Post Office Vaults (not so crowded; loads of decent ales on) #yougetthedrift, #memorykindahazy

(Match highlights)

No comments:

Post a Comment