Groundhopper: Shaw Lane 2 Blyth Spartans 0 (Malcolm Stephenson)

Shaw Lane 2 Blyth Spartans 0 (15/11/16)

Groundhopper-Malcolm Stephenson

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The Integro Doodson Sports cup competition does not particularly float my boat. Neither does it a lot of fans across the board judging by some of the attendances. A Tuesday night away in this competition is even less appetising. But what does excite more is a chance to visit a new ground with Blyth Spartans and this was probably the only reason i travelled down to Barnsley for this fixture.

Its quite an easy trip. Straight down the M1, head towards Sheffield and turn of just before there when you see the sign for Barnsley.

The Shaw Lane Sports complex developed various teams from 1991 starting with junior teams. Eventually a adult team was formed and later amalgamated with Worsbrough Common FC to form Aquaforce Barnsley FC. This team then merged with Barugh FC to create Shaw lane Aquaforce. Very quickly the club has come up through the Sheffield and Hallamshire league, North East County 1st  and Premier division, the Northern Premier league South to where they are today. All this has been achieved in successive promotions. The club has had the drop the Aquaforce bit as they are not allowed to be called after sponsors.

The Stadium is part of a sports complex with artificial 5 side pitches, a bowling green, smart clubhouse among other facilities. The Ducks (nickname) have a 2,000 capacity for the ground. There are two seating areas. One opposite the changing rooms and another set of seats behind one of the goals and that’s basically it. There is no terracing to speak of and you cannot actually get behind one of the goals as it is fenced off. There is a sloping grass bank immediately behind this goal.

Before the game, Shaw Lane had won all 10 previous games in all competitions. Spartans were unbeaten in 9 matches. The game kicked off with Blyth fielding a different side to normal with numerous changes. The game was deadlocked at half time although we had a few chances which we could not seem to put away.

The tannoy announcer at half time that there would be extra time and penalties if there was no winner after 90 minutes. I did certainly not want this to occur. It would even later when i returned home especially with having work the next day. I was also worried that we might even win this game and have another away tie which we could well do without.

My mind was put to rest after the break. In a 4 minute spell Shaw Lane hit Blyth with two goals to seal the game. Chances for Blyth were few and far between after that. So that’s our chance of glory in this competition gone for another year.

Admission £6

Prog- £1.50

Att- 150

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