“Please don’t bang on this stand” read the sign behind the travelling Shaymen in the away end. Were they serious? Did this apply to the nail biting first leg of the National League North Play-off semi-final we wondered?
Salford’s Moor Lane ground is a real paradox these days; the Greetland Shayman was the first to notice the new developments. “I can watch most of the game from here!” he declared as we stood on street waiting for the turnstiles to open. In fairness, anyone that is more than six feet tall can get a reasonable view of the action by looking over the perimeter fence. With ticket prices of £7 for adults and only £3 for pensioners, lofty or otherwise, we soon reminded him he had already bought a great value ticket.
“Brutal architecture” someone responded seeing the last remaining icon of the old Salford ground on social media. The main stand has seriously thick concrete pillars and wooden planks for benches that will soon disappear as the entire ground is redeveloped. The once open spaces and grass covered terraces have recently been replaced with modern, shiny steel stands providing a better view and a more enclosed stadium.
With the Shaymen limited to only 600 tickets there was still a terrific atmosphere in the ground. A drum provided a steady beat; flags and banners were passed up and down the terrace behind the goal as the noisy blue and white army made their presence felt. By half time both sets of fans had given the back of the stand a stern test.
Salford started strongly before Richard Peniket gave us something to celebrate, a goal at the far end of the ground and a lead at the interval. With a few of us travelling Shaymen perched on benches in the main stand amongst the home support, we could feel their tension. The half passed with opportunities for both teams but it was Salford who grabbed that an equaliser late on. To be fair the final score reflected the balance of play.
Driving back and we were full of optimism. We’d taken careful notice of the motorway closure signs on the way to ground, but after a 30 minute detour around the centre of Manchester we finally made our way back to the M62. Then it dawned on us, Tesco Pete had correctly spotted the motorway was closed but he’d failed to notice it was on the other side heading towards Liverpool, that’s 30 minutes of sleep we’ll never get back, cheers Pete!
Next up it’s all in the balance, a possible trip to Kidderminster or home to Chorley. It’s been a season of highs and lows but I don’t think we’re finished yet, c’mon Shaymen!
Total miles on the road this season 4114, total Goals on the road 55.
Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist