"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 14 August 2023

Away Day Diary: Dorking Wanderers 0-2 Maidenhead United (12/08/23)

Despite a lamentable performance and result at Meadowbank in March, and the Magpies throwing away a two-goal lead and conceding a late equaliser to ten-man Fylde on the opening day of the new campaign, I was looking forward to our first trip of 2023/24  to an 'OK' destination per the KSG Away Day rankings (thanks to the relatively short train journey and some decent pubs, not the ground!); I met with Macleod (M), who has a new rucksack for the flags (#endofanera), at the top of the road, and we put the world to rights  as per  on our walk to the station ahead of the 10:30 departure

Our train from Reading  to Gatwick Airport!  was made up of only two carriages, which was ridiculous and worthy of an obligatory Raine's Rant; the rest of the conversation, before our arrival into Dorking Deepdene around midday, was dominated by RBWM's recent decision to renege on the lease agreement at Braywick

Rain began to fall as we walked towards and then along the High Street  passing Coxy and the Dunns going in the other direction, decked out in new MUFC replicas (the home shirt is particularly hideous, IMO), in search of somewhere showing the mighty Arse  but the sun was blazing come the time Craig, Macleod (M) and I were seated in the small patio garden at the Cricketers, with pints of London Pride and Darkstar's Hophead, discussing hot topics such as the demise of 6 Music and whether radio stations are now obsolete; more of the same, drinks-wise, in the Bull's Head after I had bumped into Phil W. outside the pub and belatedly located a cash machine at the back of Waitrose (I got a funny look from one old dear, and rightly so, as I realised I was walking down the aisle humming "F**k the Council!" out loud!)

Kevin Lokko made an(other) interception around the 60-minute mark, strode out of defence (reminiscent of Franz Beckenbauer at his imperious best), and, with an ideally-weighted pass, put Shawn McCoulsky away for the sort of chance – with time to think – that the Lewisham-born striker tends to miss, but not this time! Cue Earth, Wind & Fire on repeat from the vociferous travelling horde ("He's better than Lewandowski!")

I can't have been the only one fearing the worst when Zico got a second yellow card with 14 minutes of conventional time (plus, it would transpire, an additional eight minutes) still to play, but any such concerns were ultimately unfounded as the home side huffed and puffed, we got some deserved good fortune when a shot from the edge of the area struck Craig Ross' post, and ANG  one of numerous 'Man of the Match' contenders, in keeping with a decent team display  wrapped things up during an already thunderous Alan Dev's; the Magpies even had a glorious chance for 3-0  which might've flattered us, but only a bit  however, Harry Parsons got caught in two minds, between shooting and heading for the corner flag, when well-positioned

Not every day you see a manager having to calm a fan in the car park after the game or me having to mollify a (suspiciously-muscly) steward, but that's what happened after an away supporter's nose was bloodied by a punch, allegedly thrown by one of a group of lads with dodgy haircuts that had been 'bantering' with the 104 away fans from the home end, but who also made their way into our section at one point during the second half (Dorking's segregation, like their ground in general, is hopelessly flawed); such unsavouriness didn't sour the mood, though, as we supped celebratory pints  I was again on the rhubarb cider  in the excellent Cobbett's micro pub

Gateshead Dan's rather disrespectful prediction of a SEVEN-NIL defeat for the Magpies at Hartlepool on Tuesday night gave us all a good laugh as we sat drinking Surrey Hills ("When in Rome") out the back of the White Hart  next to an illuminated cellar built into a cave  before our return train journey (which, on reflection, wasn't the best time or place to discuss a topic as complex and polarising as transgender people in sports); a champion day out deserved a champion dinner, but, as it was, Macleod (M) and I would have to make do, on an excursion from Reading station, with meat and chips at Zorba's kebab house! ("Alexa, play 'Best Years of our Lives' by Modern Romance")

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