Maidenhead United away. It’s fair to say (and I think I speak on behalf of plenty other DTFC supporters) this is one of my favourite away days in non-league football. Let’s get to basics. The club has history, with their characteristic York Road stadium being the oldest continuously used football stadium in the world. A town which has numerous pubs within close proximity of the ground and not to mention the famous Honeypot “club” located next door. That’s the potted history out of the way. From personal experience, I’ve had the pleasure of watching the Durnovarians here on four previous occasions, and lo and behold, we always win! (Well, nearly. One time we drew, and that point all but kept us up.) So what with eager anticipation and a decent away contingent expected to grace the Berkshire club on Saturday afternoon, the 19th October 2013 had the ingredients of a classic. And it certainly delivered.
The day’s events began in typical fashion, with stories emerging early that the traveling Dorchester following already in fine form on the train up from Dorset. A text saying “Basingstoke train station announcement – "stop throwing around the Carlsberg box and please get out the ladies toilets.” Dorch are here.“ All but confirmed it. Meanwhile the London exiles already managed to make the first cock-up of the day, getting on the wrong train at Paddington in a mad rush. As tempting as a holiday via Heathrow airport sounded, this was certainly not our planned destination, so a change and 10 minute wait at Ealing Broadway ensued. A phoneless Eames was still not to be found until we saw him lurking around Hayes station. Alas we arrived in Maidenhead, at around midday to meet the other travelling fans and commence the drinking inside the massive sports bar in the town centre. Lager, Jägerbombs and crazy cocktails in traffic cones were already being consumed. Classy lads.
(Cam and Tom enjoying a slurp. When did it become acceptable to drink WKD?)
Oh yeah, there was a football match in all this. We arrived at the ground where a good 60 or so Dorchies behind the goal were in voice for the duration of the game. The first half was a reasonably lively affair on the pitch and in the stands, with both sides playing some nice passing football. Us edging things possession wise and smokebombs being let off in the stands. It wasn’t until Jem’s thirty yard screamer on 36 minutes to put us 1 up when the buzz was really in full swing. A minute later we found ourselves leading 2-0 almost out of nothing. A cleared Maidenhead corner allowed us to break-away, when Smeeton was allowed a shot to be parried by the keeper and AFC Bournemouth loanee Brandon Goodship was in the right place to head into an empty net. Cue scenes, celebrations and pitch invasions. Utter pandemonium. God bless Steve, hugging the likes of Critts in a goal celebration that was possibly his finest hour on a football pitch. And that wasn’t all! Amongst all that a bin mysteriously made its why onto the pitch. Litter strewn everywhere.
After our deserved half time lead, the second half, it’s fair to say we were under the cosh for large parts, despite creating a couple of good chances ourselves to kill the game. Alan Walker-Harris in goal making world class save after save once again, while Calvin Brooks and an 82 year old Ashley Vickers were outstanding at the back. However, in true Dorch fashion, the home side’s pressure finally broke with 5 minutes to go and it was 2-1. Despite a nail-biting few minutes, what followed in the 89th minute was why we watch football in the first place. A low cross was met by Goodship, who smashed the ball in off the underside of the crossbar for his second of the game. 3-1, the match was sealed, and wild celebrations occurred behind the goal. And another smoke bomb.
Maidenhead away is usually a good day out but yesterday was something special. Whenever we seem to bring a healthy travelling support, we rarely fucking win, and this was a victory which saw pure passion and spirit from the team and fans alike. This elation was real, and was one of those occasions which make you especially proud to be a Dorchester Town fan. We then proceeded to continue the post-match celebrations in the bar, where you could see how much it meant to the players, who I was told were grateful to the fans for spurring them on. More beverages were consumed in some of the …err… delightful bars Maidenhead has to offer, including a strip club, where the girls walk around in more layers than we did and Cam strangely decided that chatting with the Maidenhead chairman [presumably drowning his sorrows] was more interesting than the girls?, before the London lot headed back to the smoke for a few more. (As if they were needed) To say the least, it’s certainly been an eventful season for DTFC so far, but more days like yesterday over the coming months, could make the struggles this season all worthwhile. FR.