"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 8 November 2021

Away Day Diary: Halifax Town 7-4 Maidenhead United (06/11/21)

Honestly thought, after our disappointing trip to Altrincham, that Southend in late November would be my next MUFC away game; I hadn't factored in (1) the Magpies beating Hastings United at the home of football, and (2) the subsequent draw made on ITV #MagicOfTheCup

A televised 90th-minute winner in front of the Bell End, and news of CWKHF kindly stumping up for a subsidised supporters' coach (which, lamentably, wasn't filled), confirmed that I'd made the correct decision to bin off a fireworks display on Saturday at Windsor Racecourse - I instead accompanied the wife and kids, on Guy Fawkes Night, to one in Henley-on-Thames - and commit to joining Craig and Macleod (M) on the trains (even though we would be travelling to an increasingly familiar destination, rather than the more exotic-sounding Ponte Carlo)

Like on opening day, we enjoyed a fried breakfast in Paddington before departing King's X on the 09:33 train; Macleod (M) pointed out both he and I had overlooked that our beloved Goldie Lookin Chain would be playing The Warehouse in Leeds later, which prompted a general sense of foreboding ...

I'd suggested we mix things up a bit with a pre-match mini-crawl in Leeds - before a customary stop in the Three Pigeons Pigeon Centre, obvs. - and that is what we did: Whitelock's Ale House (decent; "the very heart of Leeds," according to John Betjeman), the Head of Steam (we weren't planning on going in there, for a change, but [1] Tapped had bouncers on the door, which was off-putting, and [2] it's a good job that we did as, in addition to the usual fine selection of beers, there was a Maidonian behind the bar!), and the Scarborough Hotel (meh; topics of conversation included generational cohorts, which kinda summed things up!)

Frankly ridiculous first half (Emile Acquah with a brace!) ended 4-3, with the raucous away support asking both teams - genuinely - What the f**kin' hell was that?! The madness continued after the break, prompting the collective shaking of heads and scratching of chins (and, later on, the checking of record books): When was the last Maidenhead game with eleven goals? When was the last time that we scored four but lost? When was the last time that we were on the receiving end of a 7-4 beating?

After post-match drinks in the Three Pigeons ("We haven't made the 3rd Round Proper since 1988," lamented one home fan, rather misjudging the mood of his Magpies-oriented audience) and Meandering Bear (delicious pints of Tiny Rebel's Peloton Pale and Settle's Plum Porter; vibe reminiscent - in a good way - of a German bar); a supermarket sweep in Tesco Express (where, back in September 2017, we'd bought a Frozen cake to celebrate my birthday); a delayed train ride from Halifax (packed to the rafters with disconsolate Sheffield United fans); a sprint to catch our connection at Leeds; a carriage-wide sing-song to wish Willie T - self-isolating at home - a happy 40th; jovial conversations with the Rangers-supporting train guard ("like Steve Coogan channelling Brian McKendrick in an Armando Iannucci -penned mockumentary pilot"); and a regrettably unpleasant encounter with an accusatory, punch-throwing, silver-haired, silk scarf -wearing rugby fan with - he boasted - an architecture degree from Kingston University (year unknown; he couldn't remember); we stalked off - still more-than-a-little shell shocked, I think - into the cold Berkshire (mid)night

XII (i.e. twelve) successive post-WWII 1st Round Proper ties have now been lost by the Magpies, which is presumably an unenviable FA Cup record (UPDATE: nope!); we can perhaps write off the embarrassing 7-4 scoreline on Saturday as a freak - the result of a wide-open cup tie played in miserable conditions - but, it is crystal clear that Dev cannot put out a makeshift defence, with our tone-setting midfield dynamo shunted to full-back*, and expect to get anything out of games against above-average opponents such as the Shaymen (*Why haven't we signed a right-back on loan - if only for a month - with Remy Clerima busy modelling, plus Ryheem Sheckleford and Shaun Donnellan injured?)


Mark Croydon said...

Great stuff. You lot were always good company at Sutton and your blog is nearly as good as ours (as in that beer trumps everything)

Lenny Baryea said...

Thanks, Mark, for your comment. I am a big fan of the Gandermonium blog, although the matchday posts contain too much football for my liking!

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