Just who are Shaw Lane and can they qualify for the FA Cup first round proper?
Shaw Lane Aquaforce FC was formed in 2012 with the merging of two clubs, Barugh FC (1991), one of Barnsley's finest junior clubs, and Aquaforce FC (2007) – the successful senior club who were causing quite a stir in the Barnsley and Sheffield leagues.
Aquaforce FC were formed in 2007 as a Sunday morning pub team. The following season they entered in the Sheffield County Senior League which is a Saturday league and quickly made a big impression by winning the title and a cup.
Then promoted into the first division (this was the first of five successive promotions for the club) they knew further progress would require a ground that was suitable. Aquaforce won the County Senior Premier League and a move was made to Shaw Lane where Barugh FC and the senior club Aquaforce FC would merge into one which was a move that gave both parties the progression they craved.
In 2012 Shaw Lane Aquaforce FC had a team capable of an assault on the County Senior Premier League with a mix of young and experienced players. The season was hard fought and the club suffered only one defeat which was incredibly their opening fixture.
The next stage in the club's plan was to enter into the North East Counties League. The cllub had an agreement with their Shaw Lane partners, Barnsley Rugby Club, to share their pitch and consulted with officials from the NECL to ensure the ground came up to the conditions required.
The ground at Shaw Lane was lengthened by 16m and endorsed by the FA and all that was left now was to attend the NECL agm and secure the votes from league members.
Shaw Lane Aquaforce were not accepted into the league which was unprecedented and would ultimately mean league rules were changed to ensure this could never happen again. The only course was for Shaw Lane Aquaforce now was to appeal to the FA and that was successful.
Shaw Lane Aquaforce were now officially promoted into the NECL. The 2013-14 season was a big step into the unknown for the club both on and off the field. They got off to a great start and began playing good football despite doubters saying football and rugby couldn’t work side by side.
By Christmas they had become league leaders but never opened up a sizeable lead and the wet winter months took their toll on the playing surface at Shaw Lane and postponements created a fixture pile-up at the end of the season.
Shaw Lane Aquaforce held on to second behind Cleethorpes and won promotion. For the first time they would be able to enter the FA Vase.
A run to the FA Vase quarter-finals put the club behind with their fixtures but an 11-game unbeaten run clinched the NECL Premier League title at their first attempt.
The following season, 2015-16, saw the club compete in the Evo-Stik Division One South for the first time and reached the play-offs but lost out to Coalville Town in the final.
Following some correspondence from the FA and the League Shaw Lane Aquaforce were informed they could not use their sponsor name or business “Aquaforce” so from this season are known as Shaw Lane AFC.
Shaw Lane have scored 7 goals in 3 FA Cup games this season beating Radcliffe Borough 3-1, Blyth Spartans 2-1 and Lancaster City 2-1.
Next up on today is Barrow with the winners qualifying for the first round.
Shaw Lane started the league season with two defeats but have won 11 of the their next 13 to sit at the top of the league, Barrow are two leagues above Shaw Lane but are struggling at the bottom end in 20th place and haven't won any of their last seven games.
Last match for Barrow saw The Bluebirds play out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Leyton Orient last weekend at the Furness Building Society Stadium. Barrow twice came from behind to level through Bedsente Gomis and Jordan White.
On Monday Shaw Lane beat Buxton 2-0 with goals from Paul Clayton and Alex Byrne to take top spot off Warrington Town.