Our weather changes so quickly, last week a match in Barnsley was moved to the away ground due to a waterlogged pitch and ten days later watching an evening game at the same ground in shirt sleeves. Shaw Lane FC v Altrincham FC in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, The Ducks v The Robbins, Trans Pennine Derby, The Established v The New Boys on Thursday 19th April.
Shaw lane AFC are relative newcomers to Non league football and have had considerable success for a small club. Formed in 1991 they merged with Worsbrough Common 2011 to become Aquaforce Barnsley and Barugh FC in 2012 to become Shaw Lane Aquaforce. In 2016 The club dropped the Aquaforce pat of their name due to FA rules on sponsors names being used at the level of football they were playing.
Since 2010/11 they have gained promotion in two divisions of the Sheffield and Hallamshire League and two divisions of Northern Counties East and now two divisions of Northern Premier.
This season 2017/18 they were one of the stand out Non-league teams in the F.A. cup getting as far as the first round proper. Shaw Lane’s magical FA Cup journey ended with a 3-1 defeat to Mansfield in front of over 1,576 people crammed into their Sheerien Park ground and broadcast on national TV.
The club originally played at Shaw Lane Sports Club, to the west of Barnsley town centre sharing a ground with Barnsley Rugby Union Club but in the summer of 2017 they moved to Sheerien Park where they now ground share with Athersley Recreation. A ten year lease has been agreed and the ground has been brought up to Evo-Stik premier standards.
Shaw Lane 1 Altrincham 2
Some strong tackles marked the start of this game that was initially played at a frenetic pace. Altrincham had most chances but Shaw Lane’s goalkeeper Ed Wilczynski was in command. As the game neared 40 minutes a cross goal move by the visitors was picked up by John Johnston who took it to the bye line and somehow managed to score from the acutest of angles.
Shaw lane hit back with a penalty on 43 minutes when Damien Reeves slotted home.
The second half matched the physical intensity of the first but as the half progressed Altrincham gained more and more of the possession and the scoring chances. It was not surprising that they made it 2-1 when Joshua Hancock swivelled round in the centre of the goal and planted the ball into the net to the right of Wilzynski after 83 minutes. The resulting celebrations were as if they had won the league but are still short by only one point which will not be long in coming.
Shaw Lane are still four points of the play offs and must now depend on others to slip up.