FOOTBALL Another stunning season for Town
GO on then - who saw that coming?
There was plenty of optimism for life in the Evo Stik Premier Division and no little expectation on the players for another promotion challenge following the Shaymen’s elevation from One North.
But to win the a second successive title at such a canter must have been beyond everyone’s wildest dreams.
At the end of 42 matches, Neil Aspin’s Town side were 19 points clear of the field having wrapped things up with an impressive five matches to spare.
And the reason is simple - they were the best side, with the best players and the best manager.
Of course it was not all plain sailing at the start of the campaign with just nine points from the opening six games, which included a defeat at Chasetown.
But perhaps that was something from which the players learned because after that they simply steamrollered their way past the opposition.
The wagon started rolling in early September with a 1-1 draw at home to Northwich who at the time they arrived at the Shay were the early pacesetters.
Town might have only picked up a point, but they were so clearly the better side that the performance gave the whole squad massive belief.
Whitby were dispatched in the FA Cup four days later and they returned to the Shay seven days after to become the first of 10 successive Town victims as the Shaymen went on a run that took them to the top of the table.
They reached the summit midway through the winning sequence, which started with five goal thrashings of Whitby and Stocksbridge, and never relinquished top spot again.
They enjoyed a run of six successive clean sheets, four in the league, one in the FA Cup and one in the FA Trophy before the run ended with a 2-0 defeat at home to North Ferriby on November 20.
It was a shock to the system because not only did the Humbersiders win but, prompted by former Shay duo Paul Harsley and Russell Fry in midfield, they made Town look ordinary.
There was no immediate chance to get the defeat out of the system either, with the bad weather forcing a three-week lay off.
The match after the Ferriby defeat was against FC United of Manchester at Gigg Lane, just days after the fans’ club had knocked Brighton out of the FA Cup.
But former United man Simon Garner, possibly the bonus of the season with a string of impressive displays, scored the only goal of the game and the Shaymen were up and running again.
Well, that’s what they thought - the weather had other ideas.
The next game was the New Year’s Day clash with United at the Shay when a league record 4,023 crammed into the Shay to see Town inflict a 4-1 defeat on their rivals with Lee Gregory, on his second Town debut after returning to the club on a permanent basis from Mansfield, among the scorers.
So too was Jamie Vardy whose value to the side was becoming immeasurable.
The key to many of Town’s successes was to get the ball
Jubilant scenes: Town fans celebrate a second successive promotion