"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 28 February 2022

Away Day Diary: King's Lynn Town 1-4 Maidenhead United (26/02/22)

Knife – you could cut the pre-match atmosphere with one, on my only previous visit to The Walks: our legendary, midweek Southern League Premier Division Play-Off Semi-Final victory in 2006/07 ft. Mark Nisbet's famous winner, "You'll never beat a keeper of Ramos' quality with a shot like that," the MUSA Supporters' Representative (later MUFC Ltd Director and York Road trustee) changing his corduroy trousers on the terraces at half-time, etc.

Initially, the plan was for a greasy spoon breakfast (after getting the 07:58 from Maidenhead and changing at Slough for the fast train); however, a distinct lack of tube trains meant that we instead settled for a McDonald's at King's Cross, before a relatively pleasant journey – Ely was particularly picturesque – on the 09:42

No Wetherspoons allowed – as, unlike at Shrewsbury, en route to Wrexham, conscientious objectors were present – and so the pre-match pub crawl started at the Eagle (primarily because it was open; £13.55 for five pints ... you gets what you pays for!) and then went as follows: the Maid's Head (not quite "Maidenhead, in the Maidenhead Inn," but close enough; according to subsequent whispers, a different group of MUFC fans got asked to leave after blowing the speakers!), the Nip & Growler Ale House (drinks selection as impressive as the urinals; my Seacider Black Cherry was delicious), Wenn's Chop & Ale House (too restaurant-y; my brightly-coloured fruit cider was *not* delicious), and, finally, Marriott's Warehouse (even more restaurant-y, but at least we got to sit outside in the sunshine and admire the view of the Great Ouse)

Given (1) our recent good form (at least at home: no away win since opening day) and (2) the importance of this fixture, it was a surprise – and, TBH, a bit alarming for me – to learn of so many changes to the expected starting XI: Charlee Adams (who was excellent in our recent televised win vs Boreham Wood) and Nathan Blissett were only among the substitutes, while Alan Massey (injured, as rare as hen's teeth) and Ryheem the Dream were both conspicuous by their absence from the team sheet

Segregation was needlessly in place; no cash or card payments at the turnstiles, so we had to queue at the Box Office to purchase tickets – talk about delusions of grandeur!

Lacklustre first-half performance from the Magpies, but at least we were level at the break: Dan Sparkes – such an important player for us – equalising almost immediately after their impressive centre forward had opened the scoring ('play Spandau Ballet')

Yellow-shorted home side put to the sword, early in the second half, as Josh Kelly scored twice in quick succession; I took a photo of Mr Logic's spilt tea, self-caused when he banged the stand in celebration of Kelly's first goal, but I didn't have time to post it on Twitter before our third had gone in!

NOISE from the travelling horde, as G.M. unveiled a new chant that we lustily repeated on a loop during and then after the game; we also serenaded fourth goalscorer Ryan Upward from the hill overlooking the ground, as he performed a post-match interview, on our way to Live & Let Live (decent backstreet boozer; both of my complimentary jukebox credits used on a certain Diana Ross number)

Nip & Growler – 'Pub of the Season' contender – for more pints (did I mention that the Black Cherry cider was delicious?), then a reasonably proficient supermarket sweep, before the 19:40 train; not even a heated exchange about Marcelo Bielsa could completely sour the celebratory mood, and some fellow passengers – waiting for the platform announcement at Paddington – danced to and joined in with our new favourite song (plus another ditty regaling the time that Craig had encountered Game On's Samantha Janus) ... it was one of those days!

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