It’s the post Christmas match, a date that all non-league supporters look forward to. A chance to escape the festivities, the turkey and cranberry sandwiches, the chocolate Santas and everything else to get out of the house and watch a game of football between two local rivals. And 2021 sees that tradition return for the first time in a couple of years with a trip to Trafford.

Our history with the men of Shawe View goes back to 2003 when we would meet for the first time in the North West Counties League Division 1 and we would be regular rivals throughout bar a four year gap from 2008 to 2012 following Trafford’s promotion from the Counties to the NPL and we would join them later.

The head to head record, certainly in league competition, is quite something with both sides having won nine and both sides having scored
30 goals! There are a couple of Cup games – FA Trophy in 2018 and NPL League Cup in 2020 – that break the equilibrium of the goal scoring tally but the wins total remains constant as the Rams won the former and Trafford the latter.

It’s back to 4 November 2003 under the Riverside lights when we would meet for the first time and a managerless Rams would claim a 3-0 victory thanks to goals from Glyn Barker, Jordan Rispin and an own goal from Mark Drew – who would go on to play 72 games for the Rams from 2010 to 2013 and be a part of the famous NWCFL promotion team in 2012.

The Rams had a manager by the time the sides met again but there was plenty of controversy as Trafford ran out comfortable 6-2 winners but it was the substitution of winger Danny Hayes that would be the main talking point. There were goals from Iain Dyson from the penalty spot and Michael Saunders for the Rams but it was the heavy defeat and the aftermath that had tongues wagging…. I will leave you to read the Lancashire Telegraph report from that game!!!

In the next six league meetings, there were only nine goals scored with three 1-0 victories – two for the Rams and one for Trafford – and three 1-1 draws. Not exactly riveting stuff but it was the 2007-08 season that Trafford pushed the accelerator and claimed all six points on offer as they would sour to the NWCFL title some eleven points clear of second placed Salford City… wonder what happened to them???

The Rams would finish a lowly 16th.

Troy Hayder and Andy Lundy gave the visitors to the Riverside an early 2-0 lead before Max Kisseh gifted the Rams an own goal. The two goal cushion was restored by Lundy before the half hour, Sean Pearson pulled one back again to make it interesting but Chris Dalton’s own goal just before full time gave Trafford a 4-2 win.

The return fixture on 9 February 2008 couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Rams, having not tasted victory in the league since 3 November – three months ago. Pressure was building on manager Neil Hart as Scott Barlow hit twice in the space of two first half minutes to seal a comfortable victory. Sanity was just around the corner as the Rams won their next two games against Runcorn Linnets and Nelson to break that run!

We would finally meet again in 2012 in NPL Division 1 North and ever since it has been very competitive. That first season, the honours were shared with a Trafford 2-1 win at Shawe View and the same for the Rams at the HWRS.

Rather surprisingly, and probably because of the pandemic, Monday’s game will be the fifth time in the last six that Shawe View has hosted the game.

The first of those saw a Rammy win in the FA Trophy Preliminary Round after Aaron Burns early opener for the Whites was cancelled out by Nialle Rodney and Tom Kennedy and then the Rams would head back in February and storm to a 4-0 win with Nic Evangelinos and Kennedy scoring in the first half and Jamie Rainford and Kieran Lugsden in the second.

It was Bank Holiday meetings in the 2019/20 with a HWRS visit in August when Kennedy’s 74th minute strike was enough to seal the win and a New Years trip to Flixton would see Evangelinos score twice, one in each half, to bring a 2-1 victory home with Max Hazeldine scoring late on for the home side.

The last meeting came nearly two years ago in the NPL League Cup Round 2 on 14 January 2020 and resulted in a 5-2 win for the hosts in front of 129 spectators – the lowest attendance at a game between us since 2008!

So that’s the history and Bank Holiday Monday writes another chapter – the 14th meeting at Shawe View with five wins each…. it had to be!