“What could possibly go wrong?” was Tesco Pete’s response to our proposed travel plan to North Wales. With our usual food outlet having permanently closed its restaurant in Chester a few weeks earlier, we had no choice other than to go somewhere slightly classier for our tea en–route.
It was a warm spring afternoon as we left West Yorkshire, the school run had just started but we were taking no chances leaving over four hours before kick-off. The journey to Wrexham was only 83 miles with an estimated travel time of just 90 minutes. The plan was to avoid the rush hour traffic and enjoy the evening.
Shortly after 5.00pm and just before the Welsh border we parked up at a well know restaurant chain. With two adult meals for just £9.95 we couldn’t go wrong. The place was relatively quiet too, just a few young families and a few OAPs. By the time we were on the third round of ‘drink as much fizzy pop as you like for £2.99’ someone asked the time. We’d still not been served, and it was almost 6.00pm. To cut a long story short, the Greetland Shayman lost the plot and ended up starting a revolt. We finally marched out of there, with a full refund and inspired other diners to demand a refund too. It was almost 7.00pm and other than 25 cups of tea each, we’d not seen any food. Apparently, it was chef training night, at least it won’t take long to balance the till.
We whizzed though passport control like it wasn’t there, we were in so much of a rush to get to the ground. Tesco Pete read out the team news whilst the Ripponden Shayman provided the traffic news. We’d given up all hope of our usual free on–street parking and headed straight to the University car park next to the away end for a very reasonable £3.00.
Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground has had subtle improvements since our last visit back in 2019. The decaying old Kop End terrace behind the far goal that once used to house over 9000 spectators has been cleared of all barriers. It now has a black glossy advert displaying Wrexham’s ambition to win the UK’sCapital of Culture in 2025, and with County Durham, Southampton and Bradford as competition, the decision is bound to go to the wire. They’ve also got some of those electronic perimeter advertising signs that really improve your viewing experience and an additional 3000 fans from somewhere too.
The first half started with a great atmosphere. The 220 or so travelling Shaymen were in the usual end blocks alongside the pitch, closest to the home fans behind the goal. The drum was crashing a serious beat, as the fans gave it their all. At half time Wrexham led by two goals, both scored at the far end, one a penalty and the other a rebound off the keeper. In all honestly, it was difficult to make out the detail as the tall floodlights reflected off the glossy plastic advert behind the goal to almost silhouette the players in the penalty box. It must be great for the advertisers to see their information on the telly, but it’s really not great if you’re at an evening game at the ground
The second half was more of the same, Wrexham dominated and looked comfortable. The noise from the home fans, although sporadic, was quite impressive for the 5th tier of English football. The third goal for Wrexham in the last few moments of the match reflected their control of the game on the night. It started an exodus too, not due to a lack of support for the Shaymen, but more a reflection of over 8500 fans using a single car park and all the joy that would bring. As we left, we could hear the cheers for the Shaymen’s consolation goal. Certainly, the goal of the night, so we’re told!
Driving back and there were traffic delays and motorway closures, it seemed a much longer journey than the last away day to Weymouth. What a difference a result can make.
Next up and we’re off to Kings Lynn, we’ve not seen the team play there before and it’s another early start What could possibly go wrong?
Goals on the road 24, miles 7196, c’mon Shaymen!
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