"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 5 February 2024

Away Day Diary: York City 1-1 Maidenhead United (03/02/24)

Year 2024 was supposed to have been kicked off here with a report of our stopover at a perennial KSG favourite ... but the Magpies' 20th January match at Halifax (and Bradford City vs Doncaster Rovers ... and Farsley Celtic vs Rushall Olympic) fell victim to freezing weather, so the honour instead goes to our second visit to the cathedral city that is the birthplace of Frankie Howerd, Rowntree's, and Shed Seven  we considered another stopover but ultimately deemed it too expensive, so the day started with an early morning lift to the station in the WillieMobile; there were as many as twelve MUFC fans, including some inevitably armed with alcohol, on the 07:26 to Paddington ...

Our journey on the 09:06 from King's X, after a lengthy wait for breakfast at McDonald's ("not-so-fast food"), was largely unremarkable; conversations about whether Kevin Lokko and other players signing contract extensions suggest Dev will remain as manager beyond this season (the clues are there ... ), the Early Doors live show on YouTube, and David Bowie's best albums and songs (I had 'Up the Hill Backwards' stuck in my head for some reason), while Willie T. helpfully pointed out the Mallard Speed Record Sign flashing past, before arrival into York on schedule ... accompanied as we were by an elderly gentleman (of the road?) wearing pyjama bottoms and wraparound sunglasses with neon green frames ("Timmy Mallett has let himself go"), and hordes of middle-aged women seemingly pissed on Prosecco

Rendezvous with Sandeep and his Uni mate Andy  a Scunthorpe United fan from *checks notes* Scunthorpe; long-time local resident  was arranged for the York Tap, but it transpired they were running late; after quick pints (Macleod [M]'s chocolate stout sounded better than it tasted) and an enjoyable walk in bright sunshine along part of the city walls (#yeractualcultueinnit), we met them in pub #2, the Golden Ball

Knowing  having done the research  that the Golden Ball and the Swan were going to be good ("Three Pigeons-esque"), it was still something of a relief to have it confirmed; Andy said they were among his favourites, with the nearby Slip Inn probably his number one, so we added that to the list ... and I'm glad we did as the beers in there, before catching the No. 9 bus to the football, were the best of the day

Comparatively tranquil was the bus journey to the unsightly, out-of-town LNER Community Stadium  we didn't have to change vehicles due to a brake failure this time, and I didn't very nearly wet myself, which was good; the electronic turnstiles were working, although the jumped up and impolite Chief Steward wouldn't let Macleod (M) hang the flags  he wouldn't even let him take them in, initially  because of RULES

I'd predicted "first goal wins" before the game and was therefore particularly delighted when JML and ANG ("Been dreaming all day of our number eight ..." #nicked) combined to put us ahead; however, the home side equalised before half-time thanks to some comical defending, and they were more deserving of three points ... but a shot from the lively Dipo Akinyemi smacked against the post and the Magpies escaped with a draw (72 away fans saw it)

The frustratingly long wait for the bus after last season's win was, regrettably, not a one-off  it wasn't until gone six that we made it back to civilisation and, as we were running out of time, headed straight to the York Tap; we had a quick chat and photo with Aldershot Ian (on his way home to Northumberland after seeing the Shots win at Halifax) and said our goodbyes to Sandeep and Andy (the latter has promised to attend a game at York Road, especially if we play Scunthorpe again) before the 19:02 direct train to London

York and Maidenhead continue to look over their shoulders begins the succinct match report on the BBC, and, sadly for us, it's true – as has been said countless times this season, we have a shortage of National League-quality options up front, so I worry that our lack of goals (31 in 30 games; only Woking and in-form Kidderminster, with 29, have fewer) will ultimately cost us dearly; if the Magpies and the Minstermen do survive relegation, though, I doubt I'll return for this fixture in 2024/25 – while the city is great (with a plethora of excellent pubs), the Hollywood Bowl add-on, and the post-match bus journey from it, is not

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