Fantastic, we’re back in the National League, 7848 miles on the road, 23 league games and hopefully a few magical mystery tours in cup competitions on top. We’re almost doubling the mileage and perhaps, if we’re lucky, only likely to win half as many points on the road as last season! The usual suspects were raring to go on our first grand day out to Barrow-in-Furness and by 2:30 in the afternoon we were off up the M6 in search of glory.
Barrow is a wonderful place to drive to in daylight; views of silver sea over Morecambe Bay, the rugged wooded slopes of the southern Lake District hills, a vintage steam railway running alongside the open road and the curiosity of what looks like an inland lighthouse high above Ulverston but isn’t. With all these things to admire, excitement was at its highest level when Tesco Pete spotted a pub chain selling two for one meals before 6.00 pm. We were in there like a flash, the Yorkshire brigade had arrived!
Barrow’s Holker Street is a real traditional football ground – for now. With the passage of time many football grounds around the country have been either been rebuilt elsewhere, redeveloped or modernised. With plans imminent to replace the iconic (I’m sure I could climb up there if I really wanted to) floodlight pylons, the ground may never seem the same again. The concrete terracing, open ends and stands have all been identified, according to the locals, as possible renovation projects. Perhaps our game will be the last under the evening lights but in football, you never know.
With the game segregated 74 travelling Shaymen made the trip North West, most opting for the view to the left of one of the goals standing on the open concrete terrace. With seagulls and intermittent rain at kick off, everyone seemed ready for an exciting evening.
By half time daylight was fading, the lights had just come on and most of the action had taken place in front of the travelling support in and around the Halifax penalty area. In the seats, the locals were up and down like a jack-in-the-box, yellow cards, blood and thunder, an unpopular referee and then a crescendo of noise followed by cursing and frustration; the Barrow striker headed wide from six yards with only a passing seagull to beat. How we laughed. At the other end, a spectacular shot from outside the box gave us some excitement as it rattled the bar; the keeper and seagulls were well beaten but it stayed out.
The second half was far more exciting. Opportunities came and went for both sides. There was plenty of encouragement for the Shaymen from the terrace; a great run, a long pass and it was one on one with the Barrow goalie. A quick side step, a shot and it looked like it was going in, where did those defenders appear from? Our chance to pinch three points had gone but the team seemed delighted as they applauded the travelling fans at the final whistle.
Driving back and we all had a different view. Formations, substitutions and players, we covered it all on the journey home. One thing is for sure though, our last visit to Barrow was a 4-1 defeat, tonight we earned a great point and we can’t wait for Saturday.
Next up we’re off to Chester and it’s almost a local derby, c’mon Shaymen!
Total miles on the road this season 242, total Goals on the road 0.
Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist