BRAINTREE 0
MAIDSTONE UNITED 1
Match Report by LAURA-LOUISE FLUNGEMUNTER

Fucked in defence, fucked in midfield and fucked up front. Otherwise, not too bad...

MAIDSTONE UNITED 0
HARROGATE 2
Match Report by CREAMPIE FUKUYAMA
Outside the ground a member of the rowing club, presumably one of the coaches, was trying to clear the mud off his mountain bike wheel, using water from the Medway. His body was contorted into an entirely unnatural position as he dangled the bike over the water and it looked 50-50 whether he’d fall in, all for the sake of saving 0.001p on the water bill. On the plus side he did at least offer us a visual metaphor that works on multiple levels, so he didn’t risk Weil’s Disease in vain.

You can’t blame the new manager for this performance, it was a clusterfuck that had been gestating for months and it’ll be at least another two or three games before he starts to cop the righteous fury of even the least-well-adjusted members of the Main Stand and The Viper’s Nest.

Wheeler sounds impressive. He’ll have to be. Up until about 15 minutes from the end of the Maidenhead game it was possible to think we might be heading for a comfortable, stress-free, mid-table season. No chance. We are, to paraphrase Martin Johnson’s “can’t bat, can’t bowl, can’t field” remark, fucked in defence, fucked in midfield and fucked up front and it’s going to take more than a few dossiers and extended warm-ups to fix this.

Was anyone else struck by the timing of Nicky Southall’s tweet on Friday night, saying that something was unspecified was the biggest load of shit he’d ever seen? He might have been watching a repeat Call The Midwife of course, but he might also have been watching the club-sponsored interviews in which the players were handed a shit sandwich and told to take a bite.

Fitness? Discipline? More than half a dozen turning up on time for a midweek game? There’s no easy way a player can answer a question as apparently innocuous as “what’s different under the new regime” without sounding like he’s spraying it all over the previous management.

Dawes, so far has maintained a tactful public silence (which I suspect may end around about 8pm this evening), but Triggs is quite happy to use Twitter to blame the board for the slump, leaving many of us feeling like the friend forced to pick sides after a divorce. Even the most hardened of fans must have turned up hoping for a bounce, and indeed, for a while, this was reflected by the performance, an optimism that lasted for at least five minutes before it gave way to the groaning realisation that it was basically the same old piss in a different-shaped bottle.

They hit the bar twice in the quarter of an hour before they took the lead. The official website report says we “struggled to create anything of note” which is certainly one way of putting it.“Absolute gash” is another, but it looked like we might at least, as against Sutton, somehow get to half-time without suffering any further damage. And they went and fucking scored again, giving the ball to the kind of player you really can’t give the ball to.
The players had, apparently, been told not to do this.

At the end of the interval the coaching staff strolled across the pitch as the players waited to kick-off. This is the kind of thing you get in the Isthmian League. It might be accidental, it might be staged nonchalance to wind-up the opposition, but at the risk of stating the obvious, keeping 2,222 people waiting when you’re 2-0 down, isn’t a great idea.

And it was probably a bit much to ask a midfielder who hadn’tbeen playing for Billericay to solve our central weakness on his own, but someone needs to tell him that when you’re 2-0 down and you need to give the ball back to to the opposition after a drop ball ,you don’t kick it into the fucking corner so the keeeeepaaaaah can piss away another minute.

The second half was an improvement, but two early chances went begging. Then the ball sat up for Big Sham but he got under it and volleyed it several metres over the bar. Towards the end he hit the woodwork with a header, which might at least have shat Harrogate up a little, but this was as comfortable 2-0 win as they’ll enjoy all season. Harry Wheeler said it was an eye-opener. It was more of a bowel-opener.

The symptoms of Weil’s Disease include, fever,chills, muscle aches, headaches, coughing, nausea, vomiting and a loss of appetite. Perhaps we should have drawn up some bingo cards.

Did anyone order a pint of cold dog's piss?

MAIDSTONE UNITED 0
SUTTON UNITED 1
Match Report by Pennock Owers III

The front cover of the programme looked like a Daily Express Princes Diana special. Maybe it seemed like a good idea at the time, but after Saturday’s post-match interview, in which The Brave Brit said too many of the players were feeling sorry for themselves, a brooding portrait of the man they’d just help get fired must have been about as motivating as a pint of cold, canine piss.

There’s a time and a place for introspection and melancholy. It isn’t when you’re needed to pop a bollock play against last season’s play-off semi-finalist. As Jules Winfield once advised: “I’d knock that shit off if I were you.”

For the first time since the takeover, the club is giving the impression it isn’t sure of itself. Every public interview suggests the directors are still trying to convince themselves they made the right decision, let alone Joseph Public.

And then there are the rumours. This is a small town and “they” talk a lot. Nicky Southall’s comments about the owners were about as cryptic as a clue in the Sun crossword. Did we really flog The Larkfield Ronaldo to pay for the gates? Was the quote for the electronic man-bras £45 large, or was it a tenth of that? Have we really lost our video analyst to Greenwich Borough because they were offering more money? Did Employee X really hate Employee Y?

Some of it was true, some of it was bullshit, but there are certain managers looking at Maidstone United right now like a wolf about to eat Little Red Riding Hood with some fava beans and a top-of-the-range Chianti. Read Ian Ridley’s “Floodlit Dreams” if you want the low down on how one of the bookies’ contenders operates. Here’s the dilemma. You can employ someone like this and they might do a job for you, but even if they fuck up, they still get paid and they won’t care when it goes wrong. At the other end of the scale you can employ someone like Graham Westley, a man reportedly so wealthy he doesn’t take a salary and does it because he loves football. The flip side to this is that he’s still Graham Westley.

Amid all this conjecture, there are a couple of things we can say with 99 percent certainty:

1) It was mutual consent in the sense that the three directors all agreed with the decision. They mutually consented to give Jay the freedom of the labour market.

2) The Sol Campbell rumour was, as suspected, bollocks. How does stuff like this start? Easy. In a betting office it’s someone’s job to come up with a list of names, whenever a job becomes vacant. This job will be left to someone with less knowledge than the average supporter, but it’s still his job (it’ll be a man) to come up with some names. So he’ll look at who’s available, who’s recently been sacked, who has a track record at this level and then, because that list frankly won’t generate any web traffic, he’ll chuck in a couple of search-engine friendly names.

These will get picked by all the usual clickbait sources, because “Campbell linked with Maidstone job” will get approximately 100 times the hits “Kinnear linked with Maidstone job” will get. The editors are happy, the bookmakers are happy so what does it matter that it’s all bullshit?
(Incidentally the mere mention of Campbell’s name is enough to re-open the online sewage outflow pipe of humanity, where people think it’s fair game to sing about him swinging from a tree and then take umbrage when it’s suggested they get called out for it).

The actual match? Well, with our top scorer suspended for the worst error of judgement since he ... well let's not go there... our expectations were lower than those of Liam Fox's wife on her wedding night.

The first half was weapons-grade elephant spunk. The best that can be said about it is that at least it was only 1-0, opening up the possibility that we might somehow shithouse our way back into it. It was too easy for Sutton. We were already living dangerously when a cross came in from the right and Lafayette flicked it in at the near post, in perhaps the only genuine moment of quality for the entire 90 minutes. As such it probably deserved to win the game and the only mystery was why Sutton didn’t try and kill us off when they had the chance.

Towards the end of the half Loza skipped down the left and looked fleetingly dangerous until he was wiped out by a cynical tackle. The set piecewas wasted, as they all are. Then Muldoon had a free-kick from distance that nearly floated in at the far post by accident, but that was it.
The second half was a lot better, which may not be saying much, but at least an equaliser looked a possiblity instead of a fantasy. The Elvis End made a deafening noise and for a while the team seemed to respond, dominating possession for long periods but faltering repeatedly in the final third.

Muldoon’s 25-yarder against the bar sent a wave of excitement round the ground, but we didn’t build on it and never looked like opening up their defence. Passes went to white shirts and once again we pissed on our chips with a naivety that bordered on stupidity, giving away free-kicks that stalled attacks and allowed Sutton to wind down the clock.
There were irate cries of “get Paxman on!” coming well before he finally made his entrance with eight minutes left and by then the momentum was fading.

Stoppage time should be the cue for an eyeballs-out siege of the opposition goal, but we regressed, unable to even get the ball, let alone launch it into the mixeur.

We could have played till midnight and not scored, although when a referee takes 30 seconds out of the game to book a bastard for time-wasting, but doesn’t then add these 30 seconds to the minimum four minutes he was supposed to add on, then the aforementioned bastard has made you look like a right cunt, hasn’t he Sir? Not that you’d have stood out on a night like this.