There were tears of joy in the Tamworth dressing room after their narrow win at Barwell on Saturday afternoon – but they didn’t come from any of the players.
Tyrell Waite’s late winner will have rightly been the highlight for many fans.
But for sports therapist Manzu Cain, it was what happened moments later that sparked a flood of emotion.
What caused it was the sight of Charlie Shaw completing his first full competitive game of football in over two years.
Shaw’s last league appearance for he Lambs came all the way back in April 2019.
An ACL injury, an operation, a global pandemic and 938 days later, and the 23-year-old saw out the entirety of Tamworth’s win at Barwell on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s the best feeling ever to be honest,” Shaw said after the game.
“I’m buzzing to be back; I just love playing football and love being out there with the boys.
“After my injury and being sidelined for so long it’s just good to be back, especially with a win as well.
“To complete a full game is unbelievable. I really can’t say more than that, there are no words for how I’m feeling right now.
“It’s been hard with everything that’s been going on. Mentally it’s been tough and I’ve had to keep my head a little bit.”
There was one man in particular Shaw wanted to pay tribute to as he targets a long stint in the starting line-up.
“It’s been tough but shout out to Manzu [Cain], he’s sorted me through it all.
“He was in tears after the game because he was so happy. He’s always on at me and messaging me to get me to do bits in the gym.
“It’s been constant work but I’m back now, I’m fit and I’m ready to play.
“Hopefully I can cement my place in the team and get playing every week because I just love playing football.”
Joint boss Gary Smith reckons the reintroduction of Shaw gives Tamworth something they have been lacking in midfield.
“It’s a testament to the work Manzu has done with him behind the scenes because it’s not easy recovering from an ACL,” Smith said.
“You could see on the pitch the effect of that hard work today on the pitch and I think Charlie Shaw gives us something out there that I don’t think we’ve got which is a lot of legs and a lot of energy. I’m ecstatic for him.”