It was almost an idyllic scene, the skies were a kaleidoscope of pastel colours, and the trees were ghostly silver shadows emerging slowly from the early morning gloom across vast fields of farmland. The weak sun was intermittent but was slowly winning the battle to burn away the mist ready to announce daylight. It was another early start as we headed quietly down the motorway, slightly later than usual but all for a good reason. Suddenly the car was illuminated from behind, bright flashing lights dazzled us in the mirrors, a loud car horn sounded two- or three-times disturbing Tesco Pete from his omnibus edition of Home and Away on his mobile device. “He’s found us”, said the crestfallen Greetland Shayman peering out the rear window, “he better not be sitting next to me for breakfast though.” he continued…
After a hearty breakfast we were soon back on our way, now in convoy with the Todmorden Postie who was brave enough to accompany our cantankerous friend in the car behind. With the Halifax Town pub quiz just days away, we spent most of the remaining journey working out who the best six players would be from our squad of nine hopefuls. Flags of the World, Capital Cities of Europe, American Presidents and British Soaps 1984 to present day, Tesco Pete made a passionate and reasonable case for a place in our team based on his wide-ranging knowledge. The Ripponden Shaymen then held up the dreaded ‘first reserve’ scorecard from the back seat during our secret ballot; Pete’s fate was sealed; we now just must work out how to tell him the news!
Woking’s Kingfield Stadium is a dominated by a modern all seater stands behind one end of the ground. There are over 2000 red seats with the white letters of WFC spelling out the initials of the club. The other end has a small covered terrace right behind the goal. The main stand and changing rooms are made up of two old wooden sheds, perhaps relics from the 1950’s with their corrugated iron roofs rusting over the years. The 116 travelling Shaymen were segregated and given the freedom of the open terrace down the far side of the ground and a block of seating in the big modern stand. The view from the stand is perhaps the best available in the league. With plans submitted to rebuild the ground, the current capacity of 6000 could rise to 10,000 within a new modern facility. The team would play at the same site, but the entire stadium would be rebuilt and moved slightly maximising space to allow construction of over 1000 homes within the new plans.
The first half was goalless as the Shaymen attacked the far end, although the first 10 minutes was promising as Woking struggled to get a kick of the ball. The rest of the half belonged to the home team as they slowly started to get into the game, and the home fans were on their feet as a few near misses whizzed past Sam Johnston’s goal. The second half was more of the same, the Shaymen created a few chances without ever really getting a shot on goal. A red card for Clarke seemed harsh from our viewpoint, many of the frustrated travelling Shaymen pointing out that he had won the ball. The last 30 minutes was reminiscent of last season with the players defending like a team possessed with just 10 men on the field, nothing could get past the Shaymen and we saw some great teamwork.
The noisy Carshalton Shay(wo)man was our guest hitchhiker for the return journey home, we didn’t see Tesco Pete for dust as he dived into the back of the Cantankerous Shayman’s car for cover never to be heard from again. Our journey home was dominated by the Shay(wo)man’s admiration for Matty Brown, he’d made a big difference to the team today but playing or not, it’s fair to say she’s a big fan. Sam Johnston was our Man of the Match; he’d made several good saves and looked his usual calm self all afternoon. It was a valuable and well-earned point on the road at a place where we don’t often do well. We’re still just a point off the top of the league too.
Next up and we’re off to Harrogate Town for a midweek fixture under the lights, it’s our third game against them already this season and I think we owe them one!
Total goals on the road 14, total miles 4032 C’mon Shaymen!
Read more posts by Rob Brown