"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 11 October 2021

Away Day Diary: Altrincham 2-0 Maidenhead United (09/10/21)

A veritable horde of Maidenhead fans on the 07:32 train to Reading; topics of conversation on our journey northwards included the ticket inspector's resemblance to Ade Edmondson, the Saudi takeover of NUFC, favourite Belle & Sebastian songs (Craig's vote for #1 goes to the title track of their second EP), and a long-overdue chant for Alan Massey

Let's get the football out of the way early: the Magpies' performance at Moss Lane was rank and easily bested by a decent (if nothing special) side that we mightn't be playing again next season unless Dev quickly strengthens a squad severely lacking (1) midfield creativity and (2) forwards capable of providing a reliable goal threat

The Jolly Crofter (we changed trains at Stockport, which reminded me - not in a good way - of Chemnitz) was the first of several pre-match watering holes: Pi (some brilliantly-named ABC beers; discussion re 'Berks & Bucks towns as Premier League football clubs'), Jack in the Box ("another place more suited to a meal with the wife and the kids, rather than an away day with lads"), the Cheshire Tap (pints of Beartown - if not, sadly, Crème Bearlee - in an establishment that resembled an actual pub!), and Costello's Bar (group photo time)

RANK performance from the Magpies! Did I mention that already? OK, as you were ...

I wanted to go into Roy's Sports Bar, obvs., after expensive post-match pints on the Alty Bell End, but, following a supermarket sweep in Tesco Extra (better than recent efforts, especially as there was almost too much choice), we took the more sensible decision to whet our pre-departure whistles in the Station Hotel (carryout stashed behind the bar, as insisted upon by the door staff)

Not immediately evident to us - as I was bombarded with photos of beautiful beaches by members of the Egypt tourist board, and shared After Eights (straws, not squares) with fellow passengers Loughborough Jess (*not* the woman pictured, above, frightening Murdo) and Shai with an 'i' - that the train we were on from Stockport was running late; so much so that we would miss our connection at Reading

Clubbing together for an Uber ride might've been a good idea at this point but the choices considered were (A) stay put and wait more than an hour for the next Maidenhead stopper, (B) get a train - past York Road - for a connection at Slough, or (C) hit the town

Hit the town (i.e. Revolucion de Cuba) was the correct answer, or so Shay with a 'y' and I thought at the time; Craig and TWS - if not Macleod (M) - opted for (B)

Another good day out tainted by 90 minutes of football, then? Not so much. (Hey ho, at least Sutton United won we got to catch up with N.O'G., at the ground, for the first time since Halesowen.)

My next Maidenhead away game will probably be our midweek trip to Southend in late November; here's hoping that (1) any new manager bounce for them subsides in the meantime and (2) Sam Barratt and Emile Acquah can produce the goods - stop laughing at the back! - against their former club

Wednesday 6 October 2021

Away Day (sort of) Diary: Yeovil Town 0-0 Maidenhead United (05/10/21)

You'd have been forgiven, bearing in mind (1) Maidenhead's lamentable home defeat vs King's Lynn on Saturday and (2) the national fuel shortage, for thinking that we'd give a midweek trip to Somerset a miss, but that would perhaps be ignorant of (1) the Magpies' unbeaten record against the Glovers - won four and drawn two (now three), dating back to an Isthmian League Cup tie in October 1985 - and (2) the MurdoMobile having a full tank

Erratic weather - blinding sunshine one minute, ominous-looking clouds and torrential downpours the next - as we made steady progress on our relatively straightforward journey down the M4/ A33/ M3/ A303: we passed Stonehenge shortly after six and arrived at the ground in time for dinner (not bad) from the Only Food & Sauces van - behind the Thatchers Gold Stand, surrounded by countless potholes - before kick-off

Our starting lineup included new loan signing Jay 'Mingi the Merciless' and, despite his all-too-predictable dismissal for two tackles yellows (the Yeovil no. 16, in contrast, got away with persistent fouling all night), his sprightly midfield display typified a much-improved performance from Alan Devonshire's men

Very few goal-scoring chances were created by either side, even after the red card: Nathan Blissett had a couple for the Magpies in the first half but (1) was hauled down when through on goal (free kick just outside the box, obvs.), then (2) shot tamely into the side netting, while Rhys Lovett produced a fine save to repel Alan Massey's misdirected header, before the travelling hordes (34, officially, although there was 50-odd in the away end) roared the team over the line for a deserved share of the spoils

I'd have taken a draw before kick-off - and it was pleasing that almost every Maidenhead player impressed (including lively substitute Josh Kelly, if not the two attacking Bs) - but, as discussed on the drive home (involving a slight detour due to road closures affecting both the A303 and the A34; soundtracked by songs from the likes of Belle and Sebastian - seemingly a Murdo Mixtape staple - and The Lightning Seeds), it is a concern that our better performances of late have only yielded solitary points (see also: Grimsby); no win now since 28th August

Long (ish) trip to 8th-placed Altrincham, this coming Saturday, presumably has 'good day out tainted by 90 minutes of football' written all over it; here's hoping that the Magpies, rather than the watering holes in John Squire's hometown, change the narrative

(BBC report; match highlights)