"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 January 2022

Away Day (sort of) Diary: Stockport County 3-0 Maidenhead United (25/01/22)

Seeing as (1) I expect the Hatters to get promoted (more so now), and (2) I'd missed both our pre-pandemic visits to Edgeley Park (babysitting when the Magpies threw away a two-goal lead to lose an FA Trophy replay in March 2018; hosting a BBQ to celebrate my youngest's birthday as we won a televised clash on the opening day of 2019/20), I was utterly determined to make Stockport (A) this season ... even though it was a January midweek and even if I had to drive

TWS, Mushroom, and Coxy – all fed and watered (to varying degrees) in the Bear and then the Pond House – were my companions (much to the wife's irritation, as three in number meant that she had to help me remove the children's seats from her car) on the long but relatively straightforward outward journey; after passing countless tractors ("on their way to Jeremy Paxman's farm," [sic]), stopping at Cherwell Valley Services (the pissheads needed a piss), spending a bit of time in traffic next to the Bescot (with, fortuitously, an attractive blonde alongside us in an Audi A3), and too much discussion (IMO) re various wagers (incl. the number of goals and corners in the Senegal - Cape Verde game!), we were enjoying pre-match refreshments and chatting with welcoming locals, in the Alexandra (interior reminiscent of the Three Pigeons), more than an hour before kick-off

0-0 at half-time was a travesty, as we'd frustratingly spurned three or four decent chances; Stockport inevitably improved after the break – presumably following a rocket from Dave Challinor – but, even so, Emile Acquah coulda/ woulda/ shoulda put us ahead, instead of dallying with only the keeper to beat, and almost immediately thereafter ...

Cacophonous noise emanated from the home support as former Bolton Wanderers skipper Antoni Sarcevic broke the deadlock with a header; soon enough, it was 2-0 thanks to a goal – unlike the first – that we could do little about

Kelly, Josh – on fire of late (prompting talk of understandable interest from EFL sides such as AFC Wimbledon) and so expected to hit the target rather than the side-netting when it came to one of those aforementioned decent chances – was rightly, IMO, afforded a rest; his substitute, the newly-signed McCoulsky, Shawn (notable scorer of Newport County's winner vs Leeds United in the 2017/18 FA Cup), was as hesitant as Acquah, though, after fashioning another one-on-one opportunity (the successful conversion of which would've made for an intriguing last ten minutes)

Persistent bugbear of mine is Maidenhead conceding partway through a rendition of "Alan Devonshire's Black and White Army"; it doesn't happen very often – *touch wood* – but it did on Tuesday night, as John Rooney notched his seemingly customary goal against us (in added time) to give the final score a deceptively one-sided look

Of all the (relatively) impressive stadiums that we've played at in recent years (e.g. Prenton Park, Brisbane Road, Meadow Lane), I think Edgeley Park is *perhaps* my favourite: the location (among rows and rows of terraced housing), eye-catching scoreboard, breathtakingly large Cheadle End Stand, and 'Je ne sais quoi' – as much as anything else – more than compensating for the lack of covering behind one of the goals (another bugbear)

Return journey was predictably tortuous, with several seemingly unnecessary lane closures and variable speed limits – it will be a minor miracle if I've managed to escape a ticket, despite not driving particularly recklessly – covering many miles of the motorway network; it wasn't until gone 1:30 am that we arrived back at home

Twenty-two away fans (among the 5,352 crowd; Edgeley Park really doesn't – or shouldn't – need a drummer!) did themselves proud, as corroborated by various Stockport supporters on Twitter; there will presumably be many (!) more Magpies at Wrexham on Saturday, although KSG representation might depend on Macleod (M) being allowed out and so our pre-purchased 'Two Together' train tickets being valid ...

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