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Altrincham: Traveller’s Tales

Posted by Rob Brown
Posted on Sun 2 Apr 2023
Posted in News

With an almost sell-out crowd expected at Altrincham, we had no trouble in agreeing an early departure. Some of us had concerns over parking, whilst others had worries over the potential size of the queue at perhaps the best chippy in football. Shortly after noon we were there, it had taken just an hour to cover the 44 miles. We parked within a few metres of the away end and sat on a park bench eating lunch. You could tell it was a big occasion, there were already familiar travelling Shaymen wandering around.

Altrincham’s Moss Lane ground has a certain charm. Its open terrace behind the goal for away fans is a real delight, the handwritten pieces of paper on the converted shipping containers to indicate Male or Female only adds to the ambiance. The magnitude of the game was clear, stewards were everywhere. We made a beeline to the back row of the family stand, the only place for travelling fans with cover. It’s still segregated by the biggest fence in football, I guess the numerous travelling pensioners have continued to fight with the Altrincham corporate guests since our visit on Boxing Day. Standing on the back row we could see a good 70% of the pitch, anyone sitting down had no chance of a view worthy of the admission price.

With 909 travelling Shaymen tightly packed behind the goal strewn with blue and white paper steamers, you can imagine the atmosphere if they had been under a roof. The Shaymen started the game attacking the far end which was packed with noisy Alty fans. The action was mainly at our end, the home side passed the ball well, looked faster and were dominant. They took the lead just on half time and deserved it too.

The second half was more balanced in terms of possession, Alty played deeper and looked to seal the game on the break. Their defence looked decent too. Johnson made a crucial save from a one on one, with around 15 minutes remaining. From then on, the home crowd sang continuously, counting down the minutes. The Greetland Shayman thought we’d equalised with around 10 to go, the ball hit the side netting, that was it for him, perhaps the last chance, he was off, looking for a better view.

“Where are you?” I shouted down the phone with all the commotion around us. ‘I’m at the car, why?” came the reply from the Greetland Shayman. “We’ve equalised with the last kick of the game”, I shouted, “get back here now, quickly, it’s penalties! I’m not winding you up either.” “It’s madness, absolute madness around us”. Credit to Tesco Pete, he’d noticed him slip out the exit to beat the queues with five minutes remaining. You can’t take these people anywhere!

Even when Senior had his first penalty saved and the nearby Alty fans were giving it back to us large (quite rightly), It never felt like we’d lose out.  The team had been behind in shootouts already this season and had come through.  Johnson is always good for at least one save in every five, he didn’t let us down either saving two. Credit to our outfield players too under pressure 4 out of 5.

The scenes at the final whistle will live long in the memory, every round away from home, three wins in shoot outs. The team and the support staff at the club have given us another Wembley final for the second time in recent years. Who said the FA Trophy doesn’t matter? Nothing can compare with the emotion of your football team winning when everything looks lost. Wow what an afternoon. This happy clapping has really caught on! The Greetland Shaymen wasn’t allowed back in but did witness the penalties from the parked-up bus, elevated enough to see over the fence, lucky guy!

It’s been a busy few weeks down at the Shay as the Club’s FA Trophy run coincided with our home league fixture against Wrexham. With both games being all ticket, and with requirements around Wrexham bringing the biggest away following to visit Halifax in many seasons, the club’s small team of dedicated staff have been burning the midnight oil. They deserve the credit and thanks for all their efforts, they’ve played their part in getting the team to the final.

Next up and it’s an Easter Monday local trip to York’s new ground. What an atmosphere there should be, let’s give the Club the support they deserve.

Miles on the road 8804, Goals on the road 21.

Read more posts by Rob Brown

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