“Look, there’s Pete Wild,” announced an excited Ripponden Shayman. “Where are you looking?” asked the Greetland Shayman all a dither. “He’s just run past us, that’s him there,” he confirmed pointing into the distance at a man running in black shorts and a blue top heading around the perimeter of the stadium. Just for a split second, Tesco Pete glanced up from his bargain bucket ‘healthy’ take-away tea to contemplate the possibility of a quick selfie. Suddenly our attention was diverted by the sound of the ‘Shaymen of Halifax Town’ blasting out of a car stereo. It was the Positive Shayman arriving at the ground with his wind battered Wembley 2016 flag fluttering above his rear window, the locals looked bemused. There’s always plenty of excitement when you get to a ground early!
It’s always a little more exciting travelling to an evening kick off; the traffic along the motorways is a complete lottery, and finding a free parking spot is a challenge, but football under the lights is something special. With a healthy number of travelling Shaymen expected, we were allocated the exclusive use of the 2000 seat North Stand at Chesterfield’s Proact Stadium. The view from the seats high up behind the goal was good, the ground is less than 10 years old and looks smart with a capacity of over 10,000 and the pitch looked immaculate. There are four individual stands, each full of blue seats and gaps in each corner dominated by tall thin floodlight towers to illuminate the playing surface. Each stand has a matching roof which keeps the weather at bay and helps the atmosphere.
The first half was dominated by the Shaymen as they kicked towards the opposite end of the pitch to where the home fans were gathered. It was no real surprise when they took the lead early in the game; the goal generated some good noise in the away end with the drummer dictating the beat. By half time the Shaymen were two goals up but there seemed to be a little less excitement than usual; perhaps a reflection on just how dominant the team were. Chesterfield looked well beaten and it was only half time.
A third goal, scored by Cameron King soon after the restart, was a real highlight of the evening. The team celebrated in their lime green away kit directly beneath the ecstatic 481 travelling fans and it seemed like it was game over. Chesterfield to their credit managed what felt like a consolation goal with around 30 minutes remaining. The rest of the game was perhaps more tense than it needs to be. Chesterfield pushed forward but were unable to score again until the 90th minute. The final whistle was a great relief, but the final score did feel a little generous to the home team.
Driving back and it was all eyes on the other results and what that meant to the league table. It may only be nine games into the season but the news that the team are top of the league is a real buzz. During the first few games you wondered if the team has just had a good start and losing at Wrexham seemed to be a return to the reality of a tough season, but since then the team have continued to win games. It really is an exciting start to the season; the team are playing well, and the management have captured the imagination of the fans. It’s a great time to be a Shayman!
Next up on our travels and it’s a rare trip to Notts County alongside the river Trent; they’ve had an indifferent start to life in non-league football and it’s bound to be another grand day out. It’s only a short distance further south than Chesterfield, I wonder if we’ll have over 500 travelling Shaymen roaring the team on?
Total goals on the road 10, total miles 1448 – C’mon Shaymen!
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