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Oldham Athletic: Traveller’s Tales

Posted by Rob Brown
Posted on Wed 16 Aug 2023
Posted in News

Bright evening sunshine, 22 degrees and the roads were relatively quiet.  The old boys were chattering away on the back seat, the Greetland Shayman who was still traumatised by Saturday’s long adventure to Boreham Wood, was explaining that he would not be going to Solihull in a few weeks due to a prior engagement. Tesco Pete was busy going through his videos of his recent pop concert, someone had captured his dance moves on film, ‘best night out, ever!’ he proclaimed, proudly providing commentary to some eccentric shapes he had made on the dance floor.

The 24-mile journey across to Oldham passed in the blink of an eye. ‘Can I see your car park pass please sir?’ There were multiple traffic cones blocking the entrance to the car park as a friendly official appeared unusually at the passenger window. Concerned by the traffic behind us, I offered to move off the road towards the car park, ‘you can move a few feet if you wish, but I’ve got to see your pass before I move the cones’. It must have taken five minutes to get clearance, the electronic booking confirmation was clear to read, but for some reason, every part of my confirmation was checked. This was exacerbated by Tesco Pete informing him of another attachment with a barcode, that was then examined too. We were just waiting for him to ask us for a customs style car search when he reluctantly shifted the first cone out of our way, it’s a good job they weren’t expecting lots of fans.

Boundary Park is an all-seater stadium with a capacity of over 13,000. The 808 travelling Shaymen were allocated in the Chaddy End behind the goal, a decent size covered stand. The main stand has seating well elevated above the pitch level. The changing rooms are accessed unusually by steps up the terrace to the tunnel.  The far end provides accommodation for the vocal home support, the stand is built into the natural steep hillside. There’s a modern new stand opened about eight years ago that provides hospitality, club shops and bars for fans. Tall floodlight towers stand proudly in each corner, all recently updated with modern LED lighting.

The first half started with the Shaymen winning the toss and turning the team around. They attacked our end of the pitch and looked lively and up for it from the start. The drum beat out a good sound with great vocal support from the away fans. Harker launched a missile from about 25 yards that hit the back of the net around the half hour mark, the goal was reminiscent of Louis Maynard’s goal at Grimsby over 10 years ago. The atmosphere was terrific. Oldham grabbed an equaliser at the far end before half time from a corner, but the team were still playing well.

The second half was similar to the first as darkness fell and the electronic pitch-side adverts flashed continuously making it bright one moment then dim the next. The Shaymen attacked the far end of the ground whilst Oldham rarely looked threatening at our end.  We took the lead from a corner in the distance, the massed Oldham fans behind the goal didn’t look that cheerful as we all cerebrated at our end. The referee looked unpredictable, booking players from both teams for various misdemeanours, it seemed only a matter of time before he found a red card in his pocket.  Oldham finally looked dangerous in the closing minutes, the home keeper came up, cleared near the line and that was that.

The celebration and support for the team’s efforts were memorable, similar to that famous night in Grimsby.  We sometimes win away from home without too much excitement, and it wasn’t just about beating Oldham, we seem to do that each time we play them. Perhaps it was just to see the team play away from home and perform really well in front of a good travelling support.

Driving back and the Greetland Shayman was revising his plans for Solihull, he had remembered that he had his weekends mixed up, he can come to the game after all, surprise, surprise!

Next up it is a Friday night adventure down to the Midlands we did well there last season, C’mon Shaymen!

Miles on the road 414, Goals on the road 2.

Read more posts by Rob Brown

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