The rain was clattering the windows, the wheelie bins were performing a tango, edging slowly across the driveway assisted by the wild gusts of wind. We were sitting in the Positive Shayman’s car waiting patiently for confirmation of the pitch inspection, if it was game on then action stations, everyone knew the drill and would be ready and waiting. If not, then we all had the Emmerdale cliff-hanger to look forward to, with the heating on and a warm cup of tea. Suddenly the music started, ‘Young Man, you’ve no need to feel down…’, The Positive Shayman grabbed his illuminated phone and confirmed the game was on. Within seconds we were off.
Tea-time traffic wasn’t too bad, we were at Tesco Pete’s bang on schedule. Obviously, there was no sign of him, just lights going on and off inside his house as he completed his checks in the mirror. The Greetland Shayman was organised, sheltering inside an old telephone box as we arrived at his location. The motorway traffic was slow but moving, it felt like a game of roulette though, the rain had relented, but the wind was blowing in every direction. One moment we had control of the car, the next moment the wind was in charge. Our 66-mile journey was perhaps scarier if you had a steering wheel in your hand than if you were chattering away on the back seat.
With free parking at the ground and reasonable admission of just £16 to stand or £20 if you wanted to sit down, Fylde had done their best to attract the locals to the game. They even had the opportunity to watch the game from the terraces in the home end for just £12. The ground has been further developed since our last visit, the original open end behind the far goal now houses a brand-new covered terrace, with flashy entertainment bars beneath for the fans. The 130 or so travelling Shaymen had the terrace behind the other goal. There’s a full covered terrace down the far side of the pitch, and the main stand is impressive with generous sized modern seats in front of a glitzy hospitality area.
In truth, it was an achievement just getting from the car to the ground, the wind outside the stadium was perfect for funny videos. Everyone was leaning into the wind to make progress, two steps forward, one sideways, and one backwards. When the wind eased for a second, everyone lurched forwards. Inside the ground it was better but, at the end of the stands, by the corner flags it was bonkers windy. It looked very much like one team could be eight-nil up at half time and eight-all at full time.
The first half started with Fylde on the attack, they had a great chance within 30 seconds and hit the bar moments later. The Bramley Shayman was beside himself, holding a golden goal ticket with one minute on, he didn’t care who scored. His better half had another ticket, this time with four minutes on, did they know something in advance? In the end, it took Fylde just seven minutes to score, a wind assisted cross type shot that flew into the net from a narrow angle. They doubled their lead before half time and made the best of the unpredictable conditions. We were lucky it was only two at half time.
The second half was much better, the Shaymen were playing into the wind and shooting towards our support. Our first goal was well taken with all the team more interested in restarting the game than celebrating. The equaliser was spectacular, scored from outside the box but once again celebrated more on the terraces than on the field. The team looked like they were on a mission to put right what had gone wrong in the first half. There were other great chances too, some for us, some at the far end. Either team could have pinched a winner, but a draw seemed the right result in the conditions.
Driving back, and the wind was still at it. The game had been affected by the wind throughout, goal kicks and free kicks often took themselves. Goodness knows what would have happened if a penalty had been awarded. In the circumstances, we were all thankful of a decent point, there’s certainly no need to feel down.
Next up, we’re off down south to another tricky venue, Wealdstone away, you want some?
Miles on the road 4122, Goals on the road 17.
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