"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 30 January 2023

Away Day Diary: York City 1-2 Maidenhead United (28/01/23)

You can surely appreciate, dear reader, that winning the 2016/17 Conference South title at Margate (in fancy dress) was an unsurpassable occasion for those Maidenhead United fans lucky enough to be there ... and yet one or two minor things prevented it from being *the* perfect day, e.g. in the excellent Fez (GMOSC Pub of the Year 2017) after the match, Del Boy et al. would learn that a 90th-minute Guiseley equaliser had saved the Lions and essentially cost us a game at Bootham Crescent. (Nb. Owing to my wife's birthday, I would also miss our visit to Nethermoor Park the following season  a good day out, by all accounts  and after finishing rock bottom and another subsequent relegation, Guiseley now play in the Northern Premier League.)

Only in mid-January, when the prospect of further strikes affecting our plans had finally subsided, did I renew our long-since-expired Two Together Railcard; more than a month after I'd booked the train tickets for our belated jaunt to York (if not Bootham Crescent)

Recovery from a ruptured ear drum (that had led to a memorable New Year's Eve spent at Wexham Park Hospital), a busy spell at work (the launch of a new app), and clearing out our kitchen ahead of a long-delayed refurb (originally scheduled to take place the week after Boris Johnson announced the first lockdown), had all contributed to a trying (and a MUFC-less) start to 2023 for me, so it was in eager anticipation that I met Macleod (M) for our walk into town ahead of the 07:28 train (on which topics of conversation included recent comings and goings at Farnborough FC, predicted makeup of the RBWM council after the local elections in May, and professional footballers that don't like football)

King's Cross for a McDonald's breakfast (note to self: think twice before starting conversations with bearded pensioners flicking through binders of vintage train tickets) and then the 09:00 to Dundee, which got us into York before 11am and preceded a pub crawl that went as follows: York Tap (an impressive selection of ales, but the building was a bit draughty and the staff seemed disorganised), Micklegate Social (reminiscent of North Bar in Harrogate, which is a good thing), the Ackhorne (decent back street boozer; I enjoyed a pint of Brew York's Juice Forsyth) and, after walking past a Popworld directly opposite a Travelodge ("what could possibly go wrong?!"), the Maltings (packed; the bald guvnor was a miserable so-and-so)

Chaotic scenes as – after we'd sat idle for a while and got overtaken by another no. 9 bus – Macleod (M) found out from our driver that the brakes had failed and so everyone piled off and had to queue again for a replacement; the delay meant that I very nearly wet myself on the belated journey to the out-of-town retail park ... although I *did* wet myself laughing at the Minstermen's ground (QR codes on the e-tickets didn't work at the turnstiles; the stand at the Hollywood Bowl End is an eyesore) and their team ("how shit must you be, we're winning away?!"; loud boos when their "not frightened" manager substituted no. 19, who later got announced as the sponsor's Man of the Match!)

I'm getting a bit fed up with hearing/ reading, "But that would be too easy" and "it's the Maidenhead way"  not wrong, but a comfortable 3-0 win (or two) would be nice! Instead, after Reece Smith's enterprising run had set up ANG for the opener, and Cole K. had doubled the lead after halftime via a dubiously-awarded indirect free kick (back pass seemingly came off the defender's knee), Big Emile spurned a very presentable chance to wrap the game up before indecision among the Magpies' rearguard allowed "his name is a shop" to pull a goal back and make for an almost-unbearably nervy final fifteen minutes

The celebratory mood amongst the 101 travelling fans soured somewhat as we had to hang around for a bus and then sat in gridlocked traffic; we also subsequently struggled to find House of The Trembling Madness (one of two), among the labyrinthine cobbled streets, but, TBF, it was ultimately worth the effort

York's station is dry between 6pm and 1am on Saturday nights, so it wasn't until our train had departed that we could purchase some extortionately-priced alcohol from the buffet car, which seems to me like a scam; almost as ridiculous as Craig's assertion that The Style Council are better than The Jam!

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