Condensation on the car windows, bright early morning skies but noticeably cooler, you could tell that warm summer days were a thing of the past. At 8.00 am we were off back down South on just the second of 14 long distance away trips of the season. This is where the long and tricky season really starts we thought, just short of 200 miles ahead of us down the M1 our destination was Boreham Wood.
The first hour of any away journey is the most interesting; everyone has a view on the last game, team selections, transfer gossip and predictions for the day ahead. It’s like sitting with a bag of chips surrounded by seagulls at times with everyone talking at once and sharing their thoughts at the same time. Then, as time passes we often descend into long periods of mindless chatter about what television we’ve been watching. It was without doubt a Freudian slip when Tesco Pete suddenly mentioned the Footballer’s Wives box set and the whole car stopped for a second. He wasn’t keen to elaborate any further on just how well Earl’s Park FC were doing so I, of course, promised not to mention it.
After a hearty breakfast we soon found ourselves stuck in a long traffic jam around the Luton area; bumper to bumper we slowly edged our way down the congested M1. On the back seat of the car there was plenty of chatter from the old boys too. The Greetland Shayman was in deep conversation with the Navigator aka the Ripponden Shayman, apparently, they had a new phone app. “The red area shows the current traffic queues and green area shows when we can get moving again,” said the Navigator. If only they’d have shared the information with the front seats, we may not have ended up spending over an hour going nowhere!
Boreham Wood’s Meadow Park ground has capacity for 4500 people with small open terraces behind both goals. The new West Stand has 1200 seats and runs the full length of the pitch. It only has around 10 rows of seats but offers a really good view of the pitch with steep metal steps and a useful hand rail at the end of each row. The opposite side of the pitch has a much smaller, older stand with around another 500 seats. The pitch is like a snooker table, a mixture of synthetic and real grass; it is without doubt the best playing surface in the league. There are also plans to redevelop one end of the ground to provide a covered terrace behind one of the goals.
The first half was played in an eyrie atmosphere, most of the sound came from the players talking to each other, and you could even hear the manager’s instructions from the opposite side of the ground. Only the occasional shouts of “Come on Shaymen!” or “Come on the Town!” from the 108 travelling Shaymen disturbed the near silence from the terraces. On the pitch the game wasn’t great either, a strong wind helped Boreham Wood and chances were few and far between.
The second half was equally low key until the Shaymen took the lead from a corner in the 70th minute. From our view near the halfway line it looked like a referee may have disallowed the goal for a push on the defender but, no, goal given, the Shaymen had the lead. Boreham Wood soon equalised and for a moment, the home fans made their presence felt. With time running out and just 4 minutes of injury time, we were perhaps a little disappointed with a point, the Shaymen had more than matched the home side and it seemed more points dropped than a point gained. It’s fair to say we were more than a little perplexed when the referee decided to award a penalty to Boreham Wood long after the 4 minutes of planned additional time had elapsed. The penalty was scored but where did that additional time come from?
Driving back and the referee was the hot topic of conversation; he’d not had a great game in our view. We gave him a generous 4 out of 10. Matty Brown got our Man of the Match award, but as the sun set and we reached Halifax we felt our 12 points from just six games was a good start to the season.
Next up we’re off back down South to Sutton United and their plastic pitch. We did okay there last season in a narrow defeat so who knows it could be another grand day out. We’ll also get a further update from Tesco Pete on how Earls Park FC are doing too, can’t wait, c’mon Shaymen!
Total miles on the road this season: 850, total goals on the road: 4
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