Troon 3 vs. 4 Ardrossan W.R.
Stagecoach Ayrshire District League
Saturday 30th August 2008, Kick-Off 2pm
Portland Park, Troon
A local derby. But then again most games in the Ayrshire District League are. Troon is about 40 minutes on the train from Glasgow, and Portland Park is only a five-minute walk away from the train station. The train passes straight past the ground. Although my eighth game of the season, this is the first ground I hadn’t previously visited.
Some things you see at the Juniors that you don’t see in the senior game part two.
1.) A couple of Jakeys sitting necking cans of Stella Artois.
2.) A dead bird behind the goal.
Most junior games have a half-time draw and attempt to sell you a ticket as you come in the door. I decided today to plump for two 50p tickets, quickly working out that my odds of winning were about 40 to 1.
Ardrossan Winton Rovers arrived here on the back of a 7-2 win last week, while Troon’s new team are still finding their feet. So their manager says in the match programme anyway.
For the second Saturday in a row I find that a scotch pie is my first meal of the day. I really need to get out of bed a bit earlier.
Troon’s ground has to be the tidiest I have visited so far in the junior ranks. Most of the terracing is grass and it’s very well kept, without a spot of litter. Until, that is, I left my empty polystyrene teacup behind the goal.
We get an early goal when a tap-in from close range by Jon Gallagher puts Ardrossan one-up in the third minute. That’s followed up three minutes later when a looping header from Graeme Hamilton doubles their lead.
A junior match is no place to be if you have young children with you. Unless of course your intention is to introduce them to the joys of swearing. Swearing in all its forms.
Swearing as aggression: “Ya fucking prick.”
Swearing as ridicule: “You’re fucking blind referee.”
Swearing as admonishment: “Don’t fucking do that again.”
Swearing as praise: “That’s fucking brilliant.”
“Fucking brilliant”, seems to be a phrase that gets bandied around quite often at today’s game. A lot of things seemed to be ‘fucking brilliant’ for the Ardrossan players.
As well as telling each other off players in junior teams do like to praise one another for near enough anything. The Ardrossan keeper even got praise shouted at him from his defence for his shouting, “That’s good fucking talking Stevie.”
Shame that didn’t turn into some sort of Russian doll scenario.
“Good fucking praising of Stevie for his talking Wullie.”
“Good fucking praising of Wullie for his good fucking praising of Stevie for his good fucking talking Archie.”
“Good fucking praising of Archie for his good fucking praising of Wullie for his good fucking praising of Stevie for his good fucking talking Jimmy.”
“Good fucking praising of Jimmy for his good fu…”
Troon don’t look much like they’re going to get back into this game. Until that is they get the ball into their opponents half and a clumsy tackle on centre-forward Cowan as he was moving away from goal gifts them a penalty kick.
The penalty duly dispatched it’s back to 2-1.
Troon frequently try to create chances by going down the right wing, but their attacks prove fruitless.
“Let’s try to find a winner,” a Troon player shouts out.
“We’re winning 2-1 ya fucking madman,” Ardrossan’s keeper shouts back in reply.
It remains 2-1 to the visitors at half-time.
The man selling the half-time draw waits patiently as the players come off the pitch through the crowd and into the dressing rooms. When the referee comes by he snatches his moment.
“Draw the half-time draw, Ref.”
The referee duly reaches into the Tupperware tub and plucks out a number. Not mine I hasten to add. With no loud speaker the guy has to walk round the terracing shouting the number out “Three-Nine-Three. Number Three-Nine-Three.”
There’s a small social club inside the ground and I briefly consider going inside for a drink, but it’s already pretty busy, so I give it a miss. The toilets have no sink or running water, which is less of a plus.
So to the second half. Troon’s team talk must have been a good one as they come out all guns blazing. Ardrossan are hardly in it.
Ardrossan go down to ten men as their number five, Wilson, picks up a second booking, having earned his first conceding the penalty. A fact lost on the Troon manager.
“Aye about fucking time you booked him. You’re about an hour too late.”
The offending player offered only a feeble, ‘Aw naw,’ before turning around and heading meekly for the dressing room, with no further protests.
In the 65th minute Troon get the reward for their possession when a curling cross ball by Bryan Mitchell is headed home for the equaliser.
It only takes another two minutes for a hammer shot from the edge of the box to take the score to 3-2 for Troon. Minutes later the Ardrossan keeper is caught in two minds and Troon’s number 17 has an empty net to shoot into. He takes too long and succeeds only in shooting tamely into the keeper’s arms.
A cry that the Troon players and staff seemed to shout repeatedly was “Don’t foul!” you might think that players didn’t need constant reminders of this, but this, after all, is the junior leagues.
The two jakeys making their way through their cans of Stella shout their abuse at Troon players and the referee as Ardrossan hit the post.
“Are you fucking from Troon ref? Is your hoose just roon the corner?”
One of them even encourages his son to join in, targeting Mitchell, who goes by the nickname, Homer.
“You’re Bart wee man. Kick Homer’s baws. That’s what Bart does. Kicks Homer’s baws.”
As a committed fan of The Simpsons, I’m not sure I’ve seen that episode.
With about ten minutes left Rovers get a penalty after a handball in the box. They bang the ball home and it’s level at 3-3. Only one team in it now and two minutes later a header from McAvoy creeps in under the crossbar and amazingly Ardrossan have turned it around and now lead 4 goals to 3.
This is the third junior game I’ve been to so far this season and it’s the third time a goalkeeper has picked up a booking for repeated back-chat, as the Ardrossan ‘keeper goes in the book.
That’s the end of the action for what’s become the game of the season so far. Quality entertainment for the princely sum of £4.
I finish the day by having a stroll down onto the beach to get myself a single nougat.
I have a collection of photographs on my Flickr page.
Troon FC: Johnson, McColgan, Friel, Conroy, Burns, Hanvey, Bell, Muir, Cowan, Miller, Main. Subs: Crichton, Mitchell, Clark, Walker, McDonald
Scorers: Hanvey (22 pen), Cowan (65), Muir (67)
Ardrossan Winton Rovers: O’Neill, Paton, Houston, Milliken, Wilson, Gallagher, Gilmour, Frye, Hamilton, McAvoy, Muir. Subs: Adam, Patterson, Monan, Cook
Scorers: Gallagher (3), Hamilton (6), Frye (80 pen), McAvoy (87)
Referee: M. McLean
Attendance: I did a head count and reached 60.