"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 10 July 2023

Away Day Diary: Ipswich Town 2-1 Maidenhead United (07/07/23)

I would've preferred that our fixture with the Tractor Boys at Needham Market FCannounced on 21st June, seemingly arranged as an afterthought – was a Saturday affair, with the KSG attending the Maidenhead Beer Festival on Friday night rather than the two events being the other way around, but, as Macleod (M) pointed out to me, it was still a rare pre-season entry in the 'not-to-be-missed' category (rail disruption notwithstanding); as such, I arranged for the afternoon off work and joined him, plus Craig and Rainey, on the 12:25 departure from Maido (tickets were £40pp on a Group Save discount)

Plush seats on the Greater Anglia train from Stratford to Norwich, which (1) had 12 carriages  and so met with Rainey's approval  and (2) delivered us into Ipswich bang on time; topics of conversation on the pleasantly uneventful journey had included Siouxsie Sioux at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall, the recently-released fixture list (Hartlepool away on a Tuesday night?!), and York City's new owners splashing the cash

Sweltering sunshine as we walked along the waterfront – high-rise apartment blocks of varying attractiveness interspersed with old industrial buildings – to the Briarbank, where we met with Macleod (M)'s old boss (same as the new boss); welcome refreshments were Grapefruit IPA, Mango NEPA, Perpendicular, Briar Cobnut ("Wasn't that the name of a character in The Mighty Boosh?") ... and a pint of Amstel for Rainey! (Musical nugget: Rainey revealed that his most recent gig was Roy Orbison at the Lewisham Concert Hall in 1982.)

Wcrossed the road – gridlocked with traffic, like seemingly all of the rest – for a quick one in the Lord Nelson (substandard pints of Adnams ... in an Adnams pub!) before passing two historic churches separated by a fenced-off wasteland (which rather sums up the town centre) on the way to the Thomas Wolsey, where I enjoyed perhaps my favourite beer of the day – Wolf Brewery's Golden Jackal – seated at a table on a quaint backstreet

I banged my head – nearly knocking myself out! – on the ceiling outside the gents at the Rampant Horse, a short walk from the station at Needham Market, and Macleod (M) did the same; decent pints of The Mighty Oak's Shady Daze (daze being the operative word!), more happily, as the travelling hordes were witness to a much-anticipated Guess Who? rematch. (I defeated TWS again, as I had done at Halifax's Grayston Unity in 2019, albeit not without controversy on this occasion – expect a third encounter at some point.)

Carl Pentney  initially but incorrectly thought by Macleod (M) and me to have been the instigator of this fixture  was in attendance, and I had a chat with him during the first 45 minutes of what was your standard pre-season fare, played in front of a capacity crowd; Harry Parsons was impressive; our left-back in the second half was not; Big Emile should've had a penalty; Will De Havilland suffered an injury (1 iSPY point); there was a lovely finish from Shawn McCoulsky to equalise (100 iSPY points); our off-the-peg yellow shirt is much easier on the eye than the two released earlier in the week

Horrific  both in terms of price and taste – and unnecessary pints of Madri for Macleod (M) and me at the Station Hotel, crowded train journeys beyond Stratford (thanks to The Weeknd playing at the London Stadium), and a very belated and eye-wateringly expensive (there's a theme developing here) supper at a Queen Street kebab house preceded my 01:45 arrival back home; not ideal preparation for the beer festival, but, then again, pre-season training isn't supposed to be easy!

(Advertiser report; match highlights)