The Shibden Valley looked magnificent in the early morning sunshine, the trees in the distance were just beginning to show the first signs of rust, the fields were sharp green. It had not been light for very long; it certainly wasn’t going to be light by the time we arrived home. It was the Equinox, the signal for the arrival for dark nights, autumnal weather, and tricky away trips.
With the usual suspects still recovering from a severe dose of Dorkingitous, our company for the day included the entertaining Tax Man. He’d tried and failed, several times apparently, to get a better offer, but in the end, he had to settle for the company of Tesco Pete and I for the 200-mile journey South. Sure enough, no sooner had we hit the motorway, then he was off, ‘Did you know you can get tax relief on private pension contributions worth up to 100% of your annual earnings? You will either get the tax relief automatically, or you’ll have to claim it yourself. It depends on the type of pension scheme you’re in, and the rate of Income Tax you pay. There are two kinds of pension schemes where you get relief automatically. Either…’ We had only asked him if he’d had a good week…
Breakfast was a solemn affair. The manager at our Northamptonshire breakfast stop greeted us in the usual way, tapping his watch as we were two minutes late, he escorted us to our normal table then shared the breaking news. A new menu was about to implemented, country wide, chips and all you can eat was no longer going to be an option. He gave us a sample of the freshly printed draft breakfast guide to peruse, ‘I don’t want you to be disappointed the next time you come in’ he said thoughtfully. As we sat there in near silence, staring at our last ever portion of chips, the serving staff were quick to gather round too, they’d not yet seen the new document and were keen for a peak. An Ultimate Breakfast is the new buzz word. What are we going to do going forward?
After a smooth journey into London, we arrived at Barnet’s Hive ground early enough to bag one of the few spots of free on-street parking near the ground. It was £8 to park inside the vast estate, or, if you’re daft enough, you can park directly opposite the main reception for just £50. Advanced admission was £22 for adults which gave us access to the end block of the orange all-seater stand behind the goal. The ground has a capacity of 6500 with the home fans mainly accommodated alongside the pitch opposite the main administration block. The admin block doubles up as a leisure centre facility for the rest of the week with function rooms. It has a few rows of seats alongside the pitch for the media. The far end is open, the original standing terrace was removed shorty after construction, you can now see just a wild grass banking.
The first half was competitive. Barnet had the majority of possession and forced Johnson into a few smart saves. Their team looked quick, inventive and had won every previous home game. The Shaymen looked organised, composed, and had their moments attacking the far end. The best chance came from the penalty spot, just before half time. It was difficult to see what happened from our seats at the other end of the pitch, high up at the back of the stand. The penalty was saved though, with the keeper pushing the shot out for a corner.
The second half was far more exciting, perhaps because the team were attacking our end with 107 travelling Shaymen making some decent noise in support. With around 20 minutes to go, the referee awarded a yellow card to a Barnet defender who cynically ended a Town attack. It looked very much like it should have been a red card in any other match, all day, any day, clean through with men in support. The travelling Shaymen were all up on their feet making their feelings known. A last-minute shot went just wide too, with only the keeper to beat. Overall, a goalless draw was a decent, well-earned point. Both keepers had been busy. We could have won, and equally, could have lost it too, both teams had good chances throughout the game.
Driving back everyone was positive, we’ve had some decent games on the road so far, this was another good result. We’d also learned about tax savings for pensions too, how good can it get?
Next up, we’re off on a midweek adventure to Woking, we often do well there, c’mon Shaymen!
Miles on the road 1204, Goals on the road 5.
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