Dawn was just starting to break; the overnight clear skies had left pockets of mist lingering amongst the bright white streetlamps, whilst the streets were deserted. It was something after 7.00 am, we had 237 miles ahead of us and I just had Tesco Pete for company, it was going to be a long day, a very long day…
To be fair to Tesco Pete, he was entertaining, engaging, knowledgeable and provided decent conversation as we relived the excitement of the midweek Solihull Moors game. Not so much afterwards if I’m honest, but at least we covered the first six miles to the M62 with plenty to discuss. We’d tried a number of contacts to see if they’d like to join us on the trip, but with the Greetland Shayman washing his hair and the Clayton Shayman again out for an anniversary meal, we were travelling without the usual background chatter and dodgy travel advice.
Breakfast was good, we talked about the exciting midweek match at Solihull Moors again whilst systematically clearing them out of everything on the menu, then returning to the road. It was bright sunshine now and the traffic was reasonable, it seemed only last week since we’d driven down the same roads. Bromley is just 18 miles away from Ebbsfleet and it feels like we spend half our season in and around the London area.
Bromley’s Heys Lane ground has had some significant redevelopment in recent years, with a wonderful 1450-seater stand behind one goal. Opened in 2019 it houses an impressive food hall, bar area, club shop and also offices for the club. The seats are a modern design, bigger than the usual football seat with plenty of legroom too. The main stand on halfway has less than 300 seats, reserved for sponsors, club officials and the media. Behind the other goal is an open terrace with a small roof covering only the back few rows. The other side of the pitch is open terrace, split 50/50 with home and away fans. The tallest dugouts in English football are located either side of halfway, they impede the view of even the tallest football fan, the bottom corner of the pitch is always out of sight.
With an admission price of £20 in advance, the travelling 67 Shaymen were allocated the open terrace in the bright sunshine. There’s a decent covered food area and bar available by the turnstiles, a sizeable box of chips and a cup of tea for just £4 was good value. The old floodlights are also on display, lined up in the corner of the ground, perhaps ready for another club to snap them up for a bargain price.
The first half was all Halifax; the Shaymen had much of the possession and created some chances whilst restricting Bromley to just a few wayward attempts. The team just lacked a goal as a reward for their dominance and control of the half. Around us, the home fans were quiet, very quiet, not a single opportunity for them to applaud or cheer.
We left the posh seating and headed back to the away enclosure for the second half. A picturesque sunset provided a colourful backdrop to the game. Bromley took the lead at the far end, perhaps reasonable given their good start to the half. The youngsters on the nearby home terrace celebrated their goal with party poppers and a disco. A few minutes later and the Shaymen equalised following a header that hit the bar, the keeper was flat out on the deck as cook headed into the empty net. The rest of the game was mainly played in the Halifax half, obscured by those wonderful dugouts. Bromley had most of the possession, but the Shaymen stood firm for a point.
Driving back and we talked about the midweek game at Solihull followed by the result at Bromley. Four points on the road within a week, an excellent return given that some had predicted a very tough week.
Next up, and we’re back down south, this time in the southwest with a visit to Yeovil. We’re due a win there so let’s hope the fine form continues.
Miles on the road 4299, Goals on the road 12.
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