"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 8 December 2021

Away Day (sort of) Diary: Southend United 1-1 Maidenhead United (07/12/21)

Sixteen years ago, the Shrimpers were knocking over the likes of Nottingham Forest at home – 1-0, Freddy Eastwood; 10,104 saw it – en route to winning the League One title; these days, in stark contrast, Roots Hall is playing host to a relegation six-pointer against the club that finished rock bottom of the Conference South – with a goal difference of minus 99 – back in 2005/06


Our wretched form hadn't deterred me, Craig, and Macleod (M) – the last-mentioned the only one of us *not* making his Roots Hall debut, having seen Leeds United (ft. Trésor Kandol) play there in a 2006/07 League Championship fixture – from planning to treat this midweek match-up as a bonafide away day, i.e. cigarettes trains and alcohol


Unfortunately for yours truly, though, the COVID-19 outbreak within the Magpies squad, which caused the postponement of the original game (plus Chesterfield at home in the league; Ascot United away in the Berks & Bucks), meant that I was ultimately unable to travel by train – hitting the pubs in and around London Bridge, and from Westcliff-on-Sea station to the ground – as, the day before the rearranged fixture, I started a new job


TWS instead joined Craig and Macleod (M) on the 12:54 from Maido and then the pre-match pub crawl, which apparently went as follows: the Market Porter (aka the Third Hand Book Emporium in 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban'), the Barrowboy & Banker (full of Ipswich Town fans en route to Charlton Athletic), and the Two Bridges (where, forty years previous, with Jinxy Munro and Hamburg Michael for company, Craig had enjoyed his first London pint), then the West Road Tap (ft. several beers from Berkshire's Siren Craft Brew)


Having hit the motorway shortly after finishing work at 4pm, I was hopeful of reaching the West Road Tap in time for a pre-match livener: I did make it in the end, albeit only after a trying 2hr 40min drive – featuring detours through Waltham Abbey and Brentwood – evoking memories of our midweek journey to Dover in November 2019 and ensuring that I truly savoured my swift pint of Leigh-on-Sea Brewery's Legra Pale Ale


Even though massively outnumbered, albeit by not quite as much as the official figures would indicate, it was the travelling horde making *all* of the noise – aided by excellent acoustics in the dilapidated away stand – during a first-half devoid of much/ any quality; that was until a couple of minutes before the break when a lapse by the follicly-challenged linesman ("You're just a shit Dr Evil") and or the Magpies' defence afforded ex-Arsenal youngster Rhys Murphy an embarrassing amount of time and space to (1) put Southend ahead and then (2) out himself as a pillock of the highest order by needlessly giving it the big'un towards the away fans behind the goal


None of us was confident that we'd see a stirring second-half comeback from the men in yellow and green, but, remarkably, we did! The outstanding Josh Kelly forced a fine fingertip save (the 'M@rl*w with the flag' awarding a goal kick, obvs.) – and substitute Dan Sparkes fluffed a golden opportunity when gifted possession by their goalkeeper – before later chasing down a lost cause, robbing a defender, and setting up Kane 'scores goals' Ferdinand to spark jubilant celebrations (albeit not, initially, from the goalscorer – Southend being his boyhood club)


Dennis Greene was talking bollocks (as per) when he said that "there's nothing better than a point on the road" – obviously it would've been better to have won the game; I think that, with a bit of luck, we would've – but a draw was not to be sniffed at, especially as it (1) stopped the rot, (2) lifted the Magpies out of the relegation places, and (3) seemed to be a more satisfying overall experience for us than for Southend; hopefully, it can be the catalyst for some much-needed Maidenhead wins

No comments:

Post a Comment