Baxenden, Wiswell, Billington and Osbaldeston; I honestly never knew these places existed until the Ripponden Shayman led us on a Lancastrian magical mystery tour attempting to avoid the traffic queues on the motorways. Our scenic route may have kept us moving, but in all honesty we spent more time driving additional miles around these picturesque villages than we would have done if we’d just stayed on the motorway and queued like everyone else! It was a good 90 minutes before we rejoined the M6 just north of Preston; don’t you just love Bank Holiday away-days near the coast?
Every man and his dog seemed to be on the roads as we headed north; it took longer to drive to Barrow than it would have taken us to drive to London. The weather was bright and sunny along the west coast. The tide was turning as we passed the golden sands of Morecambe Bay, and the races were on at Cartmel, it’s a really enjoyable journey along the southern edge of the Lake District. It’s even better when you’re not in a rush though, and we’d lined up a visit to our favourite local chippy but time was running out…
With an advanced admission fee of just £16 for the main stand Barrow have moved into the technical age offering a good discount for those of us willing to buy an electronic ticket. The turnstiles are still the same though; it’s tight squeeze though the blue painted wrought iron gates to pitch side. The main stand astride the halfway line accommodates up to 1000 spectators with one block allocated to the travelling Shaymen and the rest to the home fans. The popular side has covered terracing, media facilities and some decent refreshment facilities. Behind each goal there are open terraces available to home and away fans, great in summer not so good in the middle of winter. The ground has a good feel to it with fans up close to the action.
The first half started with a great goal for Barrow, scored inside the first 2 minutes from the edge of the area into the top corner. The rest of the half was fairly even and neither goalkeeper had a save to make. Although the Shaymen had lots of midfield possession they lacked the important touch inside the Barrow penalty area.
The second half seemed like an entirely different match; the game was very open and soon after the break the Shaymen equalised scoring in front of the 200 or so travelling Shaymen. It’s fair to say that the referee’s decision to award the Shaymen a penalty soon after the equaliser was not too popular in the main stand with the home fans. The spot kick was scored to give the Shaymen the lead but the result hung in the balance with the Shaymen continuing to look lively whilst Barrow wasted several good chances to equalise. The final whistle generated a great cheer from the away end with fans, players and management team alike jubilant at a great result away from home.
Driving back and although we had more fun with the traffic we were elated, the team have really surpassed our hopes and expectations with some great football and unexpected results so far. There’s a real buzz about the team this season, there’s excitement each time the team go forward but also some great stability in defence too. The new management team have got everyone energized about the Club and looking forward to the next fixture.
Next up on our travels and it’s a midweek fixture at Chesterfield; they’ve not had a great start to the season so we’re heading there full of hope. There’s bound to be a big following of travelling Shaymen and I’m sure we’re going to make some noise under the floodlights. Can’t wait!
Total goals on the road 7, total miles 1349 – C’mon Shaymen!
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