Dawn had just turned to daylight, the weather was still with a little fine rain in the air, anticipation was high. Only the hum of queuing traffic and muffled speakers broke the early morning tranquillity as all the locals rushed to fill their cars with petrol at the local supermarket in preparation for another week working from home. It’s a good job we panicked the day before and were fully prepared, and at least we had the excuse of a 235-mile journey south to look forward to…
With the roads paradoxically quieter than normal, we breezed down the M1 and headed for another healthy breakfast at our favourite Northamptonshire spot. The only distraction being Tesco Pete copying his favourite tunes to his new mobile phone. If only technology would allow users to copy across without having to play out loud; Abba, Steps, Rick Astley, Britney Spears, we were treated to a right disco.
Arriving at Aldershot’s Recreation Ground ridiculously early, we located our usual on-street parking spot in no time, trouble was, during lockdown, the local authority had been out with their residents only signs and they were everywhere. It seemed that the nearest available free space was somewhere near Woking. “That’s another hour of my life I won’t get back”, bemoaned the Ripponden Shayman. “At least you got to listen to more S Club 7 than you expected though,” replied Tesco Pete, he was having a great time.
Without any segregation we were free to explore the delights of Aldershot’s pleasant and colourful ground. A quick visit to the Children’s Fan Zone almost saw us thrown out when Tesco Pete nearly took the roof off the gazebo with an accidentally wayward penalty attempt. “Just kick the sponge ball though the large holes covering the goal” was the simple instruction from one of the club’s volunteer’s, “It’s that simple…” Fortunately, we survived and continued our journey around the iconic barrel shaped corrugated iron roofed stands.
The Shaymen kicked towards the large gathering of noisy home fans in the first half, they were supported by some really competent drummers playing anything from a Samba to a roll of thunder each time Sam Johnson took a goal kick. Midway though the first half, the Shaymen scored and the 74 travelling fans were delirious. It was a well-deserved goal with the away side dominating the game from the kick off.
The second half was much better for the home team, they played with more purpose but rarely looked like equalising. A great Sam Johnson save was the closest they came to scoring as the Shaymen showed resilience under pressure. The referee irritated both sets of fans with apparent inconsistencies, five minutes of injury time in the second half was another mystery to most of us. The final whistle was met with great applause and celebration, a job well done and an enjoyable afternoon.
We spent the first hour of our journey home still in sight of the illuminated floodlight pylons above the trees. The local petrol station was down to its last pump, the main road was gridlocked but we panic bought just enough fuel to get us home. With the extended delay we got to listen to more of Pete’s ‘music’ collection and eventually passed the team bus near Sheffield. It was getting late but it was another great day out to remember.
Next up and we’re back down south with a visit to Barnet, the good news is, whilst you’re reading this, we’re out getting petrol…. panic, panic, panic…
Goals on the road 6, Miles 1852, C’mon Shaymen!
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