“Can I have a battered beef burger and chips please?” It was one of those moments when you’re sure you heard it correctly but still had to look around the crowded chippy to see if anyone else was thinking the same. Yes, it was just me; all the locals continued their pre-match debates without even a second thought. You discover some real culinary delights travelling around the country watching football these days, but battered beef burger is going to take some beating.
Hiding in an alcove out of the chilly autumn wind behind the away end, the first few travelling Shaymen weren’t happy. “It says on my ticket that gates open at 1:30 pm, and it’s now 1:50 pm and they’re still not open.” “Having gone to the expense of printing our own tickets, you’d think they’d be right.” You’ve got to admire the Yorkshire spirit. Luckily a friendly passing policeman came to the rescue and whilst also initially perplexed by the lack of access, he soon confirmed a security exercise was in progress in the away end. “Once they’ve found the test package they’ll open right up.”
Prenton Park is the biggest non-league ground in the country with over 16,500 seats. Most of the ground was rebuilt just over 20 years ago to meet the standards required for the football league. The stand opposite the away end is the most impressive with large white letters amongst the dark blue seats spelling out the name of the team and enough seats to accommodate every fan attending the game. The Travelling Shaymen were out in force, with a match day admission price of £19 it’s a good view high up in the cowshed stand with plenty of leg room and still close to the action.
By half time things weren’t great; two goals down and Tranmere were playing well, their first goal created by one touch football down the left-hand side and a good finish. Their second was equally mesmeric, it looked for all the world like the Tranmere striker was five yards offside but credit to linesman, why spoil a good game and raise your flag when you’re enjoying the game so much? To make things worse on a chilly afternoon with 384 raucous Shaymen looking for refreshments, all the food had sold out before the break.
At full time Tranmere had won the game 4-2 but an entertaining and spirited second half saw the Shaymen give as good as they got and perhaps with a little more care and luck we could have taken a point. The noisy and enthusiastic travelling fans gave the team full support throughout the game, leaving a little disappointed and with many still hungry…
Driving back and the team are well and truly mid-table. The teams at the top are now pulling away whilst the bottom four are beginning to gain ground. All in all, it’s not been a bad start to the season but with the dark evenings now upon us again, it’s going to be an interesting winter!
Next up we’re off back down south and a new adventure, Sutton United and an artificial pitch, we always do well on those surfaces….
Total miles on the road this season: 2858, total goals on the road: 8.
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