It’s been a while since my last blog and four matches have passed. So I’ll just do a brief round-up.
Firstly, Maidenhead. Having beaten Kidderminster, my Quest team were the once mighty Stockport County. They headed south for a match against the Magpies in Theresa May’s homeland. Imagine that – a couple of bus loads of Corbynites invading May’s constituency. And they were in good voice too, both before the game in the pub and at the ground.
Maidenhead, who play in the National League, a level above County, have an odd setup. The ground has one seated stand directly below the main line between Paddington and Wales. It’s in here which I plonk myself for the first half. The other three sides are standing. The opposite side to the seated stand is not really a stand. It’s just an uneven bit of concrete with an indoor five-a-side footy pitch situated at one end and a bar at the other. It’s an old-fashioned bar, much different from the rather plush little shack on the other side. I don’t know what the away fans get in terms of refreshments as that area is segregated. Good job too, as both sets of fans – separated only by a metal fence – trade insults throughout. Also if you’re a rail enthusiast, it’s a great ground for train spotting as trains rattle past that main stand.
On the pitch, a very wet pitch due to the persistent drizzle, County take the lead in the first half only to be pegged back in the second. It was an entertaining game which the home side almost nicked but alas, it ended 1-1, so back to Edgeley Park on a Tuesday night it is.
Except, it wasn’t. The forecast on that Tuesday was for snow, and anyone who’s driven through Buxton in the snow – as I had for the County v Kiddy replay – will know it is not a pleasant driving experience. So, couple the inclement weather with childcare issues, I stayed at home and followed the game on Twitter. Missed a humdinger though. Maidenhead squandered a 2-0 lead only to lose 3-2 after extra time.
Next up is another trip to Stockport, this time without the worry of snow. Their opponents were Brackley, a team from the same league, and a team which I followed on my FA Cup Quest two years ago.
After a pre-match beer in the local Sir Robert Peel pub, a stone’s through from the ground, I decided to sit in the Danny Bergara stand which is pitch side, having been situated behind the goal for the Kiddy game.
Despite the sunshine, it was bitter, and the first half was probably the worst 45 minutes of football I’ve witnessed in a good while. And I’m a Forest fan!
Thankfully after the break things perked up and County fell behind as Ndluvu poked home to give Brackley the lead.
But the home side were soon level, when Ball nodded in a leveller. And that was that; another draw. Back to Brackley on a Tuesday night? Well no actually. I had it all planned. Babysitter booked, leave work a little bit early, get to Brackley in plenty of time for a pint in the pub. Alas, I fell ill, and had to once again rely on Twitter for my Quest fix.
Brackley ran out 2-1 winners and so it’s them whom I follow into the semi-final against Wealdstone on Saturday. Will I meet the Wealdstone Raider? Dunno, but I shall be going back to a ground which I visited three times in 2015-16 on my FA Cup run so it’s a ground I know well. And another plus point: at least there will be no more awkward sodding replays!
To Brackley, (again).
Pics from Maidenhead
Pics from Stockport