Start at the Shay Main Entrance at 7.00 am. From the Shay straight forward via Union Street South, Union Street, Market Street, and Northgate to North Bridge. Turn LEFT at North Bridge through Dean Clough (2 short climbs through this section) to Shroggs Road then LEFT at Ovenden Road (staging point 1 lay-by on Ovenden Road 1.6 miles 0.25 minutes……
It’s fair to say the Supporters Club sponsored walk was planned like a military operation. You can only imagine the roll call at 6.30 am led by Captain Bottomley. “I don’t care if it is -2 degrees, icy under foot, still snowing with a pitch inspection at 11.30 am; we said we’re walking 18.5 miles to Guiseley so we’re doing it!” Apparently around 10 hardy souls set off at the crack of dawn, with no expectation that the game would be on, it’s either madness or complete commitment, there’s certainly a very fine line between the two!
By 11.30 am we were ready to go, parked outside Tesco Pete’s mansion, awaiting confirmation of the pitch inspection. Pete’s manicured lawns were completely covered in snow whilst his driveway looked reasonably clear, it seemed like it was going to be a close call then suddenly, the tweet we’d been waiting for, Game On! In no time at all we were having a slap up take-away lunch from the finest chippy in Bradford.
Guiseley’s Nethermoor ground has limited cover from the elements; with segregation in place the 650 or so travelling Shaymen were allocated the Railway End of the ground. It has a basic two step terrace running the full width of the pitch behind one of the goals, and if you are over six feet tall you’ve got a reasonable view. The best place for away fans to watch all the action is from the 210-seat modern stand situated down the side of the pitch; with around 10 rows of seats it’s like the nearby main stand. The rest of the ground is mainly open with a few covered areas on the opposite side for the home fans. The recent exciting development in the away end is the construction of a new toilet block and snack bar; It may seem like a small improvement, but it makes a big difference to the fans when the ground is segregated.
Just after 2.00 pm with the seats filling up fast Captain Bottomley appeared with icicles hanging from the end of his nose and his hand clamped frozen solid to his laminated route map. He was full of beans and clearly had located a few ‘rest points’ along the way. In just seven hours the Supporters Club had walked the distance in sub-zero temperatures. Captain Bottomley was also keen to point out they’d arrived 20 minutes ahead of schedule too. Apparently, they’d had to run for a mile after Doris from Otley Road had spotted one of the team using her outside garden loo… The Captain’s blaming Freddy the Fox but I’m quite sure we know who the real culprit is! Anyway, it was a great effort and raised good few hundred quid, even Tesco Pete donated his winnings from the kitty.
The Greetland Shayman summed up the first half, “If I’d I told my neighbour I was off to sit on a plastic chair for three hours in the middle of Savile Park Moor, he’d arrange for me to be locked up!” It was bonkers cold; the wind was playing havoc blowing down the ground against the Shaymen and the pitch was cutting up everywhere. It was no real surprise that Guiseley had the lead at half time. A bizarre red card for the home side provided the only real moment of interest as we all huddled together in the tightly packed stand. It was even too cold to check the scores at the other games.
The second half started with Guiseley defending for their lives pinned back by the strong icy wind and the numerical advantaged held by the Shaymen. Corner after corner seemed to be either wasted or cleared as the Shaymen tried to grind out an equaliser. Midway through the half Tomlinson equalised on the break after quick thinking by Sam Johnson. It’s fair to say it was more of a relief than a celebration amongst the unusually quiet travelling fans. To their credit, the 10 men Guiseley team could have pinched a winner in the last 10 minutes; from nowhere they pushed forward and dominated the closing stages and were unlucky to only hit the woodwork from a good header late in the game.
Driving back and the car blowers were on full blast all the way as we slowly defrosted. All told it was a decent point and maintained the status quo at the bottom of the table. In truth, who would have expected our two-point cushion to be a 10-point cushion is such a short space of time? It was one of those games that we won’t remember, but at this point of the season it’s more about league points than anything else.
Next up we’re off to the seaside, well almost, it’s another local trip to our friends at Fylde on Good Friday and if you haven’t done so already it’s not too late to sponsor Captain Bottomley and his brigade. I’m sure he’ll be back on duty under the east stand on Saturday.
Total miles on the road this season: 6734, total goals on the road: 17.
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