The Shaymen returned to Northern Premier League Division One with the target solely on promotion. New manager Neil Aspin couldn’t have got off to a better start beating Colwyn Bay 3-0 straight off the bat. The wins wouldn’t stop there for Town, the rest of September saw The Shaymen pick up three points every time they crossed the white line. Aspin’s side would only concede twice in the opening two months of the season.
The Shaymen’s opening 19 games in all competitions were victories. Extra time was needed to get past Wakefield in the Unibond League Presidents Cup. There was also the 3-0 drubbing we handed to Salford City in the middle of September.
Towns impressive form saw them head into the Fourth Qualifying Round of The FA Cup with a home tie against Wrexham in front of a then record 2,843 at The Shay. The Shaymen came so close to forcing a replay against the Welsh side. Substitute Wes Baynes scored from 30 yards deep into second half injury time. Nicky Gray had a chance to equalise immediately he couldn’t convert.
The Shaymen would get back to winning ways in the UL Challenge Cup and The FA Trophy Qualifying Second Round. But the first league defeat arrived in November away to Prescott Cables. That loss would kick Aspin’s side back into gear as they finished 2009 unbeaten in the league. The Shaymen would give their fans an early Christmas present, beating Salford City 6-1 in Towns highest scoring game of the season.
Town would have the luxury of having the festive period and majority of January off due to the adverse weather at that time of the year. Towns last game of 2009 would be a home 1-1 draw to Wakefield, finishing the year top of the table heading into the new year.
The Shaymen would have to wait until 19th January before they were back out on the pitch. During that time title rivals Lancaster City had caught up with Town. The Shaymen took to the field like they had never been away, beating Bamber Bridge 4-1.
Now with a tightly packed schedule Aspin and his side were up against it for the title. February saw The Shaymen compete in seven games in the league and UL Challenge Cup. With the congested fixtures Town would exit the cup and lose one league to keep their hat in the title race.
Another eight games in March saw another potentially tricky month for The Shaymen. Convincing wins against Ossett Albion (5-0), Prescott Cables (3-0) and at Trafford (0-3) saw Town keep them in control of winning the league along with the sole promotion spot.
The middle of April saw Town come up against Lancaster City the only team with proper chance of halting The Shaymen from winning the league. The Lancashire side would be brushed aside by The Shaymen running out comfortable 4-0 winners.
With the league title firmly in their hands after the three points over Lancaster City, The Shaymen would finish the season strongly finishing unbeaten since early March, giving Lancaster no opportunity of sneaking their way back into the title race. The Shaymen secured the league title and promotion to Northern Premier League Premier Division at the backend of April. Aspins side would finish with 100 points and James Dean finished the season as top scorer with 27 goals.
Players: Jonathan Hedge, Aaron Hardy, Steve Payne, Scott Phelan, James Dean, Danny Lowe, Tom Baker, Nicky Gray, James Riley, Richard Marshall, Mark Peers, Ryan Crossley, Matt Hotte, Paul Sykes, Harry Winter, Luke Richardson, Michael Wilde, Lee Gregory, Dan Codman, Mark Whitehouse, Jamie Smith, Andrew Lee, Phil Senior, Luke Smith, Bradley Barnes, Paul Harrison, Sam Jerome, Neil Ross, Kevin Sansay