Posts Tagged ‘Junior football’

2009/10 – Game 6 – Girvan vs. Petershill

July 31, 2009

Girvan vs. Petershill

Girvan 2 vs. 2 Petershill

Pre-season Friendly
Saturday 25th July 2009, Kick-Off 2.45pm
Hamilton Park, Girvan

It’s a lovely summer’s day, just the one in amongst the almost constant rain that we’ve been having on the west coast of Scotland. Girvan’s about an hour and a half away on the train from Glasgow, changing at Ayr.

Hamilton Park couldn’t be much closer to the train station. It’s right around the corner and less than two minutes walk.

The kick-off time as advertised on Petershill’s website is 2.30pm, so I’m there in plenty of time. However, as the teams are still out kicking the ball around at that time it’s obvious the advertised time is wrong. Some of the punters around me think it’s a 3 o’clock kick off, but the game actually gets under way just before ten to three.

It’s quite a competitive match with both sides committed in their tackling.

The pie stall has ran out of pies so someone makes a run to Asda to get some more.

Girvan take the lead in 33 minutes when their number 10 rolls the ball in after one of his team-mates has cracked a shot off the crossbar. The Petershill goalkeeper sums up the run of play, “Wan chance the cunts have had and they’ve scored!”

The scores are levelled on 40 minutes when Petershill’s number 10 slots the ball into the far corner.

At half-time the social club bar has run out of vodka and someone has to go out to Asda to get more. “You guys can come back anytime,” he says to a group of elderly Petershill fans.

Girvan vs. Petershill

In 65 minutes Petershill get in front when John McGonnigle gets his head to an inswinging corner.

The referee spends much of the last twenty minutes pulling up a succession of Petershill players. With the match being a friendly there’s an obvious reluctance to get the yellow card out, but the game is stopping every couple of minutes so that another Petershill player can get on the receiving end of a talking to.

Girvan equalise in 76 minutes when their number 6 fires in a beautiful free-kick that goes in off the post.

The home team get the chance to win it with two minutes left when the Petershill keeper pulls down the Girvan no 16 as he goes round him. The Girvan player/manager who has just come on as a sub steps up to take the kick. It’s poor and the keeper makes the save.

Petershill supporters

That’s the last action from an entertaining game. A warm day and four goals makes the trip worthwhile.

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Game Forty-One – Pollok vs. Clydebank

April 21, 2009

Pollok vs. Clydebank

Pollok 2 vs. 3 Clydebank

Citylink Scottish Junior Cup Semi-Final First Leg
Saturday 18th April 2009, Kick-Off 2.30pm
Newlandsfield Park, Glasgow

One of the best games of the season for my money. A gorgeous day, a healthy crowd and a match played in proper cup-tie spirit.

On the approach to the ground after I leave Pollokshaws East train station there’s a vendor selling Pollok and Clydebank scarves and flags. There’s one at the corner of the ground too. I say ‘Pollok and Clydebank’ really they’re just black and white, and red and white flags and scarves. Talk about opportunism.

The prices are jacked up today also. It’s seven quid admission. Still, it’s decent compared to some of the mad prices in the SFL.

There’s a definite sense of occasion in the ground. It really does feel like it’s a big game.

The SJFA have made a change to the format for this year’s semi-finals. This is the first time they have opted for a two legged tie. The thinking behind this is to boost crowds and therefore takings. Traditionally the semis were played in a senior ground on a Friday night. This obviously allowed the games to avoid clashing with senior matches, the thinking being that it would boost attendances. The police have vocally opposed Friday night games, although the crowds haven’t been great in recent years in any case.

There are no away goals and if the tie is drawn it goes straight to penalty kicks.

I’ve been to Newlandsfield Park once already this season, to see Pollok take on Auchinleck Talbot, who are playing Kirkintilloch Rob Roy in the other semi.

On that occasion I’m pretty sure that the match announcer played ‘Jocelyn Square’ by Love and Money, which he also does today. If James Grant is wondering where those steady PRS cheques for 12p are coming from then look no further.

I notice that the referee (or if this were the Daily Record, ‘Whistler’), Des Roache, I’ve seen in action already this week. He took charge of the Rangers-Aberdeen Reserve game on Tuesday.

There is a really good crowd in today. It’s not a sell out, but everywhere on the terraces seems quite full. The Clydebank fans are in good voice and start the singing from before the kick-off. They regularly taunt the home support to sing and every so often they stop singing with a ‘Ssshhhh’ to give Pollok’s fans a turn. There’s certainly enough of the home support to make a roar for a couple of penalty claims, but there’s not a song all day.

The game opens at a quick pace, with Pollok having most of the early attacks. Clydebank defend well. In particular Mark Hailstones who twice clears from on the goal line.

Against the run of play Clydebank take the lead. A Hailstones corner from the left comes into the box. Kris Robertson in the Pollok goal goes for it but misses. John Jack leaps and heads the ball into the net to make it 1-0 to the visitors.

There’s not the same sense of excitement that there was when Clydebank shocked Petershill to go a goal up in the Quarter-Final. This obviously stems from the fact that in this two-legged tie there’s a long way to go and little chance that this 1-0 lead will be intact at the end of 180 minutes.

In fact it lasts only 2 minutes as a diving header from Stevie Miller levels the score.

With twenty-five minutes gone Mr. Roache awards Bankies a penalty kick. I don’t have the best of views but there’s a strong shout from the Clydebank fans. Gary Lynn sticks the ball down Robertson’s left hand side and the underdogs are back in the lead.

There’s a let off for the vistors on 37 minutes when ‘keeper Stefan Gonet goes up for a high ball around about the penalty spot. He misses it completely. A Pollok forward heads it onto the crossbar from where it bounces back into Gonet’s arms.

A few moments later Clydebank have a chance to increase their lead as Hailstones takes a quick throw-in that sends Charlie Hobbs off down the left wing. He cuts inside and cracks a shot that flashes past the left hand post.

The Pollok players run onto the pitch for the second half shouting and encouraging each other. This seems to have done the job as they start with all guns blazing and get the equaliser within the first minute. Gonet spills a shot straight into the path of top scorer Bryan Dingwall who slots it into the net.

Hobbs goes off

It’s a fine spring day and some of the fans in attendance have taken the opportunity to have a cargo in the sun. There are groups of lads with cases of beer, bottles of Buckfast and MD 20/20. There are also several children running around chasing each other.

In 69 minutes there’s a scramble in the Pollok box. Clydebank have a shot blocked. Then as Ryan Scobie hits a shot with Robertson in goal nowhere Derek Wingate appears to stop the shot with his hand. I’m not as vocal a Clydebank fan as I used to be several years ago, but even I, stood behind the goal, shout “Penalty!” The referee has no hesitation in awarding it and follows that up by showing Wingate a straight red.

Lynn steps up to take it again. This time he changes sides and skelps it high to Robertson’s right hand. The 6-1 outsiders are back in the lead again at 3-2.

Eight minutes later there’s an incident just outside the Clydebank penalty area. From where I am I don’t get a good look at it, but a guy behind me claims that Turnbull has put a knee into a Clydebank player’s face. Sure enough the ref whips out the red card again and Pollok are down to nine men. He follows that up very quickly with a red for Bankies’ subsitute Steven Blair. It’s now 9 men versus 10 men.

Pollok have a couple of chances to get the equaliser, but with a further 90 minutes coming up next week, there’s no need for them to commit too many men forward.

Bankies’ Mark Maxwell appears to take a heavy knock, but plays on as there are no more substitutes left. Apparently he incurred a broken collar bone.

Clydebank hang on to take a shock lead to Millburn Park for the second leg. They also maintain their record of never having lost an away Scottish Cup tie since their return to the Juniors.

The main aim for Bankies today was to keep the tie alive for the second leg and they’ve certainly done that. It should be an interesting match down in Alexandria next Saturday.

Pollok manager and ex-Clydebank (when they were a senior team) striker Jimmy Sinnet said afterwards to the Daily Record, “At the end of the game they were acting as if they’d won it already but the tie isn’t over yet.”

There’s a preview of the game from the Evening Times here, with an interview with Bankies’ Charlie Hobbs, as well as a good discussion about the tie in the comments section.

A selection of photographs from the Pollok website are here.
I have more photographs here.

Pollok vs. Clydebank

There are about 18 minutes of highlights from YouTube below. First half then second half.

Pollok: Robertson, Carruth, Cruickshank, Aitchison, Wingate, Miller, Hardie, McGeown, Dingwall (Downs 81), Turnbull, Essler (MacKay 81)

Scorers: Miller (16), Dingwall (46)

Sent Off: Wingate (68), Turnbull (76)

Clydebank: Gonet, Lynn, McInnes, Rushford (Blair 52), Soutar, Anderson, J. Jack, Smith (Maxwell 71), Hobbs (Scobie 63), Mackie, Hailstones

Scorers: J. Jack (14), Lynn (25 pen, 69 pen)

Sent Off: Blair (76)

Attendance: 1480

Referee: Des Roache

Assistants: Andy Tait, Euan Anderson

Fourth Official: Neil McLennan

Game Thirty-Four – Clydebank vs. Pollok

April 3, 2009

Holm Park, Yoker

Clydebank 0 vs. 3 Pollok

New Coin Automatics West of Scotland Cup 3rd Round
Saturday 28th March 2009, Kick-Off 2pm
Holm Park, Yoker

This is the first of three cup ties between the two sides I intend to go along to. They are all at different venues as well, with the SJFA deeming today’s venue, Holm Park, as unsuitable to host Clydebank’s home leg of the Scottish Junior Cup semi-final. I can well understand that given the state of some of Holm Park’s terracing. Although to be fair there is new terracing currently being built.

I think this is the first match I’ve been to this season where I have already seen both teams on show. However the attraction of the triple header was too much. It’s the business end of the season for both teams and this is a nice little warm up for the more exciting two-legged Scottish Junior Cup semi-final in April.

Since Clydebank became a junior team the club have made an effort to put merchandise on sale and it’s something they are to be commended for. It’s one of the best examples of a club shop I’ve seen. You can buy DVDs of the Junior clubs highlights from over the last 5 years, as well as replica strips, Polo shirts, T-shirts, mugs and key rings. You can also buy mousemats and framed pictures from throughout the history of both the Junior and Senior club as well as back issues of programmes.

Clydebank vs. Pollok

Clydebank start the match well having plenty of possession. It doesn’t last however as in virtually Pollok’s first attack, in the third minute, they score. It’s scrappy and it just about trickles over the line, but it’s 1-0 Pollok and Clydebank are up against it.

Five minutes later it’s worse as a long throw into the box ended up falling to Calum Hardie who thumped the ball high into the Bankies’ net.

At 2-0 it’s looking like a tall order for Clydebank to get back into this one.

Two guys on the terracing behind me neck cans of Strongbow and Tennent’s Lager respectively. They appear to be the kind of guys who will happily shout the word ‘cunt’ in earshot of kids standing with their parents.

Clyebank attempted to push on to get back into the game, but they never really troubled the Pollok defence.

With 13 minutes to go Pollok finished it off when Clydebank lost possession in the centre circle and Davie Turnbull went through on goal, knocking the ball past Stefan Gonet to make it 3-0 Pollok.

Although both teams will probably field a different line up in the first leg of the Scottish Cup semi I can’t see Pollok being too worried by the Clydebank threat. Bankies will have to play much better over the two legs to make the final.

From the Clydebank Till I Die website comes the match highlights at the bottom of the page. Remember to hit the ‘HQ’ button.

A report of the match is on the Pollok website. You can also find a report on the game from my fellow groundhopper Dave’s excellent website. I have some more photographs here.

Clydebank vs. Pollok

Clydebank: Gonet, Allum, McInnes, Rushford, Cunningham, Soutar (A. Jack 53), Maxwell, Jack, Mackie, Selkirk (Scobie 46), Fisher (McIntyre 81)

Pollok: Robertson, Carruth, Dillon, Cruickshank, Wingate, Sweeney, Hardie, McGeown, Dingwall (Waddell 73), Downs (Turnbull 73), Essler (MacKay 79)

Scorers: Sweeney (3), Hardie (8), Turnbull (78)

Referee: Ross Haswell (Category 2)

Game Twenty-Nine – Irvine Victoria vs. Largs Thistle

March 16, 2009

Irvine Victoria vs. Largs Thistle

Irvine Victoria 0 vs. 2 Largs Thistle

Ayrshire Weekly Press Cup, First Round
Saturday 7th March 2009, Kick-Off 2pm
Victoria Park, Irvine

I almost made game twenty-nine last Sunday when I headed out to Summerston to see Drumchapel Athletic AFC take on Red Lion. I was thrown at first as I had presumed their game was on the pitch in the grounds of John Paul Academy. When two under-15 teams trotted out at 1.50 I realised that the game I was looking for was probably on at the pitch I had walked past earlier, just up the hill from there.

Sure enough when I walked back I could hear the shouts of players and caught a glimpse of Drumchapel’s Argentina style strip. However, I then realised that they seemed to be playing a full-on bounce game between themselves, with some of them in bibs. It turns out that Red Lion didn’t have enough players to fulfil the fixture. So Drumchapel were awarded a 3-0 walkover.

So instead game twenty-nine is this trip down to a wet, windy and bleak Irvine for an Ayrshire Weekly Press Cup game.

You pass Victoria Park on your way in to Irvine station from Glasgow. It sits parallel to the railway line and it’s less than a ten minute walk once you’re off the train.

The ground is yet another contender for most run down of the season. It certainly has its charms though. I wander down to the far end of the terracing and stand under one of the two covered sections. A man in a Largs Thistle jacket decides to have a piss right there on the terracing. He finishes just as two women come past.

As the game kicks-off there is the distinct sound of an Orange Walk nearby.

A cup-tie, this match sees Largs Thistle, currently riding high in the West of Scotland First Division, taking on lowly Irvine Victoria, lying fifth in the Ayrshire District League. Largs are clear favourites. The last time Irvine Vics beat Largs in a cup tie was in 1952/53 when they won 2-0 in the first round of the Ayrshire District Cup.

In the tenth minute Largs win a penalty. A stonewaller if ever I’ve seen one. It’s firmly tucked away, low to the keeper’s left and any thoughts of a cup shock are probably over.

Bert and Hughie, the Irvine ground staff seem to spend most of the match retrieving balls from around the ground. I believe at one point Hughie gathers one from off the railway line.

Irvine Vics keeper saves

Midway through the first half Irvine’s Scott Hayes collides with Thistle’s John Paul Dow, the referee only awards a free-kick when Dow picks up the ball. “Is he the fucking ref now?” shouts one of the Irivne players.

It’s 2-0 on the half-hour mark when a long ball comes over from the right which drops for Alan Barnes to hammer the ball across the keeper and high into the net.

In the second half it’s all Largs Thistle as Irvine toil to get back into the game. The Largs fans are in a buoyant mood and display this by berating any Irvine player within earshot.

“Look at you smiling,” one of them shouts at an Irvine forward, “You’re only getting beat two-nuthin ya fat ride!”

Scott Hayes is substituted with 18 minutes remaining. He appears to have some words for his manager before forgoing the dugout to walk down the pitch and go into the dressing room. As he walks past the Largs support one of them shouts out to him.

“Respect your manager son.”

“Fuck off back to Largs,” the Vics number 6 replies.

The Largs fan explains Hayes’s indiscretions to his pal. “He’s calling his manager an arsehole and aw that.”

“He is an arsehole. He’s fucking right.”

The Irvine keeper makes several good saves to keep the score down, but the home side can find no way back into it and it finishes 2-0 Largs.

Old Bert from the Irvine backroom staff doesn’t take too kindly to the away fans’ gloating at the final whistle. “The road to Largs is that way,” he points.

“The road to the pie shop is that way,” a Largs fan shoots back. They have several attempts at it though also suggesting, “The road to Weight Watchers is that way.”

A report from The Largs and Millport News is here. More of my photographs are here.

Lags head just over the bar

Irvine Victoria: Murray, Rodgers, Rocks (Timoney 72), Smith, McMeeking, Hayes (Cunningham 72), Gilmour, McGrath, Lennox, White (Robertson 72), Boyd Unused subs: Barclay, Madden

Largs Thistle: Connick, Molloy, Hendren, Gault, McMillan, S. Kyle, Robertson (Marks 83), Black, JP. Dow (M. Kyle 67), Davidson, Barnes (McCabe 63) Unused Subs: M. Dow, Lappin

Scorers: JP. Dow (10 pen), Barnes (30)

Referee: Stuart Hodge

Game Twenty Four – St Anthony’s vs. Yoker Athletic

February 22, 2009

St Anthony's vs. Yoker Athletic

St Anthony’s 0 vs. 0 Yoker Athletic

Central District First Division
Saturday 14th February 2009, Kick-Off 2pm
McKenna Park, Cardonald

This is the second time this season I’ve seen Yoker play, having gone along to their derby with Clydebank back in August.

St Anthony’s McKenna Park ground is only about five minutes walk away from Cardonald train station, which is in turn less than ten minutes away from Glasgow Central.

When I arrive at the the ground I’m one of the first there. There’s little to the ground itself. No real terracing to explore, but the pitch looks in good condition.

There is a nice little virtual tour of the pitch and the changing areas at this link.

This Wikipedia article suggests that Celtic actually began playing in green and white hoops after being inspired to do so by St Anthony’s in 1903.

I queue up at the pie stall just before kick-off. I’m quickly joined by three of the St Ant’s subs. To be fair to them they forgo the pies and only buy soup.

McKenna Park is parallel to the M8 motorway. The match is soundtracked by the constant ‘woosh’ of traffic flying past. The building where the Daily Record and Sunday Mail are printed also overlooks the pitch.

St Anthony's vs. Yoker Athletic

The first action of the match comes in fifteen minutes when Yoker look to have scored. A low shot from John-Paul Grant beats the keeper, hits the inside of the post and looks to (although I didn’t have the best angle) have crossed the line. The referee waves play on. The Yoker players go nuts, while the home side keep quiet.

“It’s over by a yard!” one of the Yoker players shouts.

“A fucking mile ref,” another exaggerates.

The ref is not having it. It’s no goal.

“Not one of them [St Ant’s players] said ‘Good decision’,” another Yoker man points out.

Yoker’s local paper, The Clydebank Post, later has the headline ‘Ref’s blunder costs Yoker’. Their article goes on to say “…with photos later proving the ball had crossed the line.” The photograph that accompanies that article is not of the ball crossing the line, but one of Grant, which wasn’t even taken at this match. So we’re no clearer.

Yoker go close another couple of times before the interval, but the first half finishes without any further incident.

In the juniors it doesn’t seem to be uncommon for some of the guys standing in the crowd to be among the backroom staff, or at least such regular supporters that the players and management don’t mind them hanging about with them. This seems to be the case with the Yoker fan next to me who returns from the clubhouse after the interval to comment to his pal, “The ref asked, ‘Was the ball over the line?’ He didnae see it!”

The first excitement of the second period is when Yoker’s keeper Kenny Meechan is caught on the knee by a St Ant’s forward as he goes up to catch the ball. “Whit did you dae that fur?” he shouts as he falls to the ground. “Naewhere near it ya cunt.”

Neither side makes many chances in the second half as the match becomes rather turgid.

A Yoker fan frequently berates the ref for giving free-kicks and throw-ins to St Ant’s. “Ho ref!” he shouts, “Which side are you on?”

“Green and white,” St Ant’s number 2 quips as he runs past.

With an hour gone the home side hit the crossbar, but it’s looking very much like a no score draw. Fifteen minutes remaining and Yoker get a free-kick just outside the box. O’Hara lines it up and curls it nicely into the keeper’s top right hand corner. It’s disallowed as the referee indicates that he hadn’t blown his whistle for the kick to be taken.

St Ant’s have a little bit of pressure in the last few minutes, but there’s no way through to goal and the match finishes a nil-nil draw.

Yoker attack

Yoker: Meechan, Dempsey, Bissland (Vickers), Cameron (O’Hara), Schoneville, Jordan, Carson, Grant, Gallagher, Marshall, Malone (Williams) Subs not used: Quigley, Lalli

Attendance:
After a rough headcount about 60.

Game Fourteen – Pollok vs. Auchinleck Talbot

November 12, 2008

Pollok Clear an Auchinleck Attack

Pollok 2 vs. 0 Auchinleck Talbot

Stagecoach West of Scotland League Premier Division
Saturday 8th November 2008, Kick-Off 2pm
Newlandsfield, Glasgow

Other commitments have prevented me from attending a match for five weeks and if I’m honest I’m up against it now to make 50 matches by the end of the season. I’ll just have to cram them in over the winter months.

Today’s game looked like it might be a tasty encounter between two of junior football’s best sides. Before the match I went along to the Mitchell Library. Here there is an exhibition highlighting Pollok’s centenary. Although ‘exhibition’ makes it sound slightly grand, it was really a display case with a handful of items in.

These items included a club ledger from (I think) the 1948/49 season, 3 match programmes from Pollok’s 3 Scottish Junior Cup wins, 2 medals – the 2007/08 Junior Premier League and the 2007/08 Evening Times Cup Winners’ Cup winners medal. There was also a hat, scarf and T-shirt in addition to some photographs of the side through the years.

Newlandsfield is pretty easy to find. Get the train from Glasgow Central to Pollokshaws East and the ground is viewable from the station. It’s right around the corner from the exit. The doors don’t open until about half an hour before kick-off, and although there’s only a handful of people waiting around at that point there’s a decent attendance once kick-off arrives.

Kids on the Pitch at Half-Time

The game starts in quite an attacking style with Auchinleck going close after Pollok keeper Kris Robertson came for a long ball and missed it. His defender put in a terrific goal-line clearance to keep the score at 0-0.

Robertson might be the quietest goalkeeper I’ve seen so far this season. He contributed to a few defensive muddles due to his lack of communication with his defence. So much so that one of his team-mates berated him for his lack of vocals. His distribution was also quite poor, continually launching long balls up the field to no one. At one point both keepers kicked the ball to each other three times in sucession.

As I stood behind the Pollok goal for a period in that first half I could hear two old boys beside me, in the midst of a conversation. They were discussing Harry a chap who was absent from today’s match.

“You wurnae speaking to me at that match. You were too busy talking to Harry.”

“I was just wanting him to be happy so he’ll keep coming to the games.”

“He’ll only come if I give him a lift.”

“Aye, that’s good of you giving him a lift.”

“Did you get another prgramme for him the day?”

“Aye, I got another programme for him.”

“That’s four you must have for him by now.”

It was like some junior football based version of Waiting For Godot.

Auchinleck can’t capitalise on the home side’s defensive misgivings and Pollok take the lead in the 21st minute when Stevie Miller hits a low shot through a packed penalty area.

Some of the junior grounds have new toilets, some like here, have old school outside brick wallks. Peeing outside, you cannae beat it. While I was there two Auchinleck fans were having a heated discussion about the facilities. The elder of the two seemed outraged by having to pee out in the open, while his youngre counterpart was quite happy.

“At least they’ve got a pish-hoose! It’s better than that thing we’ve got.”

When the half-time whistle sounds scores of kids run onto the pitch to start their own games. There is at least 20 of them running about and a seven-a-side game is in progress. On the terracing a group of Pollok fans have a carry-out well on the go.

Andy Essler Celebrates

The second half starts off with Auchinleck trying hard to get an equaliser. Kris Robertson in the Pollok goal makes and outstanding save to stop a close range shot and turn it past the post. This turns out to be Talbot’s best chance of the match.

A few minutes later Pollok make it 2-0. After a corner on the right a shot looks to be missing everyone and going wide of the post. Until, that is, Andy Essler slides in a foot out from the back post and slides the ball in between woodwork and keeper.

You’d think that with over 20 years in the game, playing with sides such as Queen of the South, Stirling Albion and Dumbarton, 41 year old Stevie Mallan would have experience enough not to get up to some off-the-ball violence. You’d be wrong. He received a straight red card and Talbot kissed goodbye to any chance of getting back into the match.

After that incident a few more tasty challenges went in from both sides, but there were no further incidents as Pollok ran out deserved winners.

The Pollok website has several very good pictures from the game here. The Auchinleck Talbot website similarly omits a report of the game but again has some good photographs on the main page.

Pollok: Robertson, Carruth, Cruickshank, McClay, Wingate, Miller, Hardie, McGeown (Dillon 52), Dingwall, Turnbull (Downs 60), Essler (Newall 79)

Auchinleck Talbot: Strain, Latta, McVey, Pettigrew, Robb, Davidson, White (McIlroy 71), Slavin, Doolan (McKelvie 86), Mallan, Young (Phillip 79)

Sent Off: Mallan (63) for bammery

Scorers: Miller (21), Essler (52)

Referee: Derek Nicholls (Category 2)

Attendance: 702

Game Eight – Troon FC vs. Ardrossan Winton Rovers

September 1, 2008

Troon FC
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.

The penalty makes it 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.

Ardrossan defend a corner

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.

Game Seven – Maryhill vs. Cambuslang Rangers

August 29, 2008

Maryhill vs. Cambuslang Rangers

Maryhill 3 vs. 2 Cambuslang Rangers

Stagecoach Central Dist League – Division 1
Saturday 23rd August 2008, Kick-Off 2pm
Lochburn Park, Maryhill

Maryhill’s ground Lochburn Park is hidden away up a short hill just off Maryhill Road. It’s easily accessed from the city centre by the number 40 bus and indeed any of the buses that go along Maryhill Road.

Some things you see at junior grounds that you won’t see at a league game.
1.) Terracing. At junior games you get to stand on terracing. Most time dilapidated terracing that is probably a risk to your health.
2.) Picnic tables and chairs. Now I don’t suppose every junior ground has these but Maryhill’s does. Big wooden chairs and benches like you would see in a country park.
3.) Substitutes climbing up onto the roof of the ground to retrieve the match ball.
4.) A linesman in a suit and anorak. At games of this nature it’s normal that the referee is taking charge on his own. Usually a representative of each team will take a flag and patrol each line. Their role is simply just to flag when the ball goes out of play. Judging by today’s game they don’t bother keeping up with the play and simply pick a spot and stay there.

This game took a wee while to warm up but once it got there it was a cracker. Maryhill got in front when a header from Willie Sawyers clipped the post and trickled over the goal line.

Cambuslang got back into it when a great through ball resulted in a perfectly measured lob from the edge of the box by Chris Quinn. Just before half-time Cambuslang took the lead when Quinn scored direct from a corner. I can’t remember the last time I saw that. Although it wouldn’t be long until I saw it again.

In the second half Maryhill fought hard to get an equaliser, going close on a few occasions. They appeared to chuck the fightback away however when centre forward Charlie Hobbs stupidly got himself sent off for a tame headbutt. What followed was another classic junior match moment as Hobbs had to be escorted from the field by his team mates as he attempted to square up to several opposition players. He was waved from the field by Cambuslang’s goalkeeper who was shooed back into his goal by one of his defenders. Once off the pitch Hobbs made to throw a water bottle into the crowd as his manager restrained him. This type of behaviour is pretty typical of the junior game, where players really go for it when they lose their temper. Of course such bammery is not exclusive to the junior ranks, but I find that they do it best.

The Sending Off

The ten men got themselves back into the match when a goalmouth scramble resulted in a Cambuslang defender booting the ball off the line and straight off the backside of Sawyers.

It was all Maryhill from then on and they got their winner with the game’s second goal direct from a corner. God knows how Jon Connolly, Cambuslang’s keeper, managed not to see the ball until it was a yard over the line but that’s when it caught his eye. It was from the same side as the first goal direct from a corner and I did look along the line to see if there was some discrepancy such as a wonky goal-line, but it all seemed to be fine.

Connolly then managed to get himself booked by pointlessly protesting to the referee about the goal. He had narrowly avoided a booking minutes earlier when the ref thought his mouthing off was the product of his left back who had been told to ‘shut your mouth’ seconds earlier.

Maryhill had a couple of good chances to kill the game off but they both resulted in weak finishes. However they hung on for the win in this five-goal thriller.

It's 3-2

A match report from the Maryhill website is here.

More of my photographs are here.

Maryhill: Quinn, Wilson, Robertson (McManus 66), Trialist, Trialist, Smith, Sideserf, Currie (Trialist 66), Hobbs, Stanley, Sawyers. Subs not used: Barr, S.O’Neil, Montgomery

Scorers: Sawyers (19, 68), McManus (84)

Sent Off: Hobbs (59)

Cambuslang: Connolly, Doak, Lynch, Irvine, Bishop (Gray 87), Kenna, Ferguson, Hughes, Ogilvie, Miller (Boyce 72), Queen (Sweeney 76) Subs not used: Marshall, Steele.

Scorers: Queen (38, 42)

Attendance: I did a head count and got 87.

Referee: Alistair Ross

Game Five – Yoker Athletic vs. Clydebank

August 18, 2008

Yoker Athletic 2 v. 0 Clydebank

Sectional League Cup
Saturday 16th August Kick-Off 2pm
Holm Park, Yoker

Another local derby this was a spirited 90 minutes. Clydebank has existed as a junior team for five seasons. Before that Yoker Athletic were the town’s only junior side. For readers outwith Scotland ‘junior’ is a rank of non-league football in Scotland.

This season Clydebank have moved from their former home at Glenhead Park in order to ground share at Yoker’s Holm Park ground. Both teams are confident this will be a good move as they work together to improve the ground. Last season Yoker had the unenviable record of having most home games postponed. I wonder how the increase in the pitch’s use will effect postponements this season. The sides play in different junior divisions but they meet today as they’ve been drawn in the same group in the Sectional League Cup which opens the junior season.

Clydebank sat at the top of the five-team group at the start of the game. One team from each group qualifies for the quarter-finals.

Yoker got the first goal within a minute of the kick-off as striker Davie Kirkwood glanced home a header past Stefan Gonet. Clydebank were up against it from then on. Although they pushed forward often and hit the crossbar twice they never really looked like getting back into the match.

In the 78th minute Yoker’s recent signing Kirkwood scrambled home a second and that was that.

Clydebank did fight until the last minute, but to no avail.

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In such a small game you can hear every shout from the crowd and every utterance on the pitch.

The Yoker defence in particular were very vocal with their keeper, Kenny Meechan, shouting at his back four to stay in line. He was also keen to offer them praise whenever they played a good ball.

He marshalled their substitute left-back frequently, reminding him that he had asked to be kept right before kick-off.

“Don’t listen to him,” he told the number 15 when the sub suggested the reason he was out of position was that he doing what the right-back told him to.
“Listen to me,” the keeper replied. “I’ll keep you right. He’ll just pull a ‘Where wur ye?’”

The other thing I noticed that I’ve certainly never seen at a senior game is the referee and linesman answering their respective critics.
“Is Stevie Wonder reffing?” one wag in the crowd shouted.
The referee gave him a withered look and shouted back, “Aye, that’s a belter.”

The linesman also vociferously explained his decisions to Yoker’s back four whenever they frequently felt aggrieved that their side weren’t getting offside decisions or free-kicks.

Yoker’s keeper eventually came a cropper thanks to his constant back-talk. As he prepared to take a goal-kick he shouted at the referee that there were, “Too many people supporting the one team here.” The linesman immediately flagged for the referee and reported the keeper for calling the ref a cheat.

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“Yellow card?” the ref asked his assistant before approaching the keeper.

“Did I call you a cheat?” the keeper asked, genuinely surprised that was how his patter was being interpreted. “I didn’t mean that. I apologise. I apologise.”

There’s a report of the game on the Clydebank website where you can also watch highlights of the match.

There are some more photographs here.

Yoker: Meechan, Vickers, O’Hara (Lalli 38), Cameron (Bissland 12), Schoneville, McKellar, Carson, Gallagher, Kirkwood, Marshall, Jordan. Subs not used: Bell, McKenzie, Malone.

Scorers: Kirkwood (1, 78)

Clydebank: Gonet, McInnes, Lynn, Maxwell (Bowie 77), Cunningham, Packham, Allum, Hailstones, Proctor (Scobie 57), Jack.A (Selkirk 57), Fisher Subs not used: Docherty.

Attendance: I didn’t do a head count but around about 100 should cover it.