Posts Tagged ‘Scottish 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.

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-Seven – Gretna FC 2008 vs. Craigroyston

April 15, 2009

Everholm Stadium, Annan

Gretna FC 2008 1 vs. 2 Craigroyston

East of Scotland League First Division
Saturday 11th April 2009, Kick-Off 2.30pm
Everholm Stadium, Annan

I expect by now most people know the rags to riches to rags again story of Gretna FC. Their BBC Sport page will give you the full story if you don’t know or if you fancy a refresher.

Gretna FC 2008 are not a continuation of the old club, but a new team set up by fans during the last days of the old Gretna football club.

The side don’t actually play in the town of Gretna but 8 miles away in Annan. Somewhat ironic since Annan Atheltic took the place of the old Gretna team in the Scottish Football League.

I get the train from Glasgow to Kilmarnock where I have to change for a connecting service to Annan. If you’re a regular traveller on trains you won’t be surprised to learn that the train was held up on its way to Kilmarnock. Therefored by the time I get in to the station I’ve missed my connection. Luckily I had taken the earlier train so I should still make it okay. I spend an hour hanging around Kilmarnock. The station has a small cafe which happily does a nice line in rolls and a good cup of tea.

From Annan train station Everholm Stadium is only about 10 minutes walk away and I find it quite easily. Admission and a programme is £4. The programme seems the standard kind you’d pay a pound for elsewhere, but inside the cover the price displayed is £2.00, so I assume entrance alone is also two quid.

The only toilet on the premises is in the changing area, so I have to walk back towards the pavilion which is around two minutes away. When I come out I discover that one of the linesmen is waiting to get in. I won’t miss kick-off then.

There’s a nice atmosphere in the ground. ‘Stadium’ perhaps lends an inaccurate grandois sound to the facilities. There is no stand or seating area other than the park benches around the sports ground.

I’m surprised but pleased to see that there is a pie stall. This being what appears to be homemade goodies sold out of the back of a car by two ladies. This brings a nice village fete feel to the occasion.

A decent crowd has turned up today. It’s a nice, sunny day even if there is a cool breeze. Many of the Gretna fans wear the club colours. Plenty of them have the current team jerseys on, while some wear the tops of the old side.

Craigroyston are based in Edinburgh. The club were formed in 1976, when Eyemouth United manager Rab Melrose tired of travelling from the capital to the Borders. So along with some of his Edinburgh based players they formed their own local team.

Before kick-off Gretna sat third in the East of Scotland First Division, 4 points behind and two games in hand on leaders Tynecastle.

Craigroyston are in fifth place two points adrift of their hosts today, having played six games more.

The match kicks off around 5 minutes late. Possibly because that linesman had to wait for me to come out of the toilet.

Gretna get off to a great start when a Dan Carmichael cross to the back post is headed in by Sean Bannon after only two minutes.

The match is played at a fast pace, with both sides really going for it. Craigroyston are the only team to have beaten Gretna in the league when they won their home fixture in December.

With the sun shining Craig Weir, Craigroyston’s keeper wears a peaked cap. The first such instance I can recall seeing all season.

The Edinburgh side are fighting to get back into the game and mount several attacks on the Gretna goal. A number of seemingly respectable gents in Craigroyston ties aim some verbal abuse at the linesman after a handball decision. Their coach joins in until the ref walks over to have a word.

The Craigroyston gaffer gets a talking to

The pace doesn’t let up in the second half as both sides try to get forward and bring more goals to the game.

Craigie’s keeper, who is also their captain, rallies his side and demands that they all put in 110%.

From the running track around the Gretna side of the ground comes some instructions being delivered by an obviously intoxicated fan. “Get the baw on the deck Gretna!” to be fair to him his advice isn’t unhelpful. He then compares the goalkeeper to “The boay fae Gregory’s Girl.”

Perhaps inspired by this some Gretna fans get in on the shouting action by letting the Craigie players know they are “Just a bunch of junkies fae Muirhoose.” Ah, the good old Edinburgh junkie insult. When I lived in Edinburgh folk from home were never by asking me if I was a junkie yet.

Craigroyston get a free-kick out on the left-wing. It’s launched high into the Gretna penalty area and Kevin Morrison rises to head it into the goal. Seventeen minutes to go it’s now 1-1.

Our drunk fan is not finished yet. Wandering up and down the running track he checks himself for swearing. “Musn’t swear.” He then tells off one of the players, “Ho! Nae swearing. I heard somebody swearing there. Nae swearing.” He gets back to encouraging Gretna. “Come on he’s got the fucking baw…oh, oh, don’t swear.” And so on.

Five minutes after their equaliser Craigie make it 2-1. A speculative cross-cum-shot from Stevie Manson out on the right wing catches John Jamieson in the Gretna goal wrong footed. He can only push the ball out from under his crossbar and that leaves Kris O’Neil with a simple tap in.

Gretna try hard to recover the match but they just don’t have enough in them and Craigie nick it by two goals to one.

As the visitors and the officials make their way to the dressing rooms on the final whistle the Gretna team sit on the pitch to listen to their gaffer Stuart Rome’s post match team-talk.

An enjoyable game of football, good weather and a nice ground to visit made this a decent day out. The first train to Glasow however, is not until 6.30 and I find myself hanging around in Dumfries for over an hour.

I have more photographs at this link.

From the Football Grounds in Focus website comes this report of Gretna’s home match from the 4th of April.

Gretna vs. Craigroyston

Gretna: Jamieson, Rea, Gullen, Ruddick, White, Jardine, Errington, Seggie, Bannon, Rayson, Carmichael Subs: Trestianu, Milligan, McMath, Murphy, Renyard

Scorer: Bannon (2)

Craigroyston: Weir, Jeffrey, Morrison, Paterson, Robertson, Binnie, Manson, Hay, O’Neil, Martin, McKenzie Subs: Scott, Wilkinson

Scorers: Morrison (73), O’Neil (78)

Attendance: 145

Referee: Martin McGuinness

Game Thirty-Three – Drumchapel Athletic vs. Glasgow East

April 2, 2009

Drumchapel attack

Drumchapel Athletic 14 vs. 0 Glasgow East

Glasgow Sunday Amateur Football League – First Division
Sunday 22nd March 2009, Kick-Off 2pm
John Paul Academy, Summerston

I tried to get to see Drumchapel Athletic a few weeks ago, but their game was cancelled, when the opposition were unable to field 11 men. Today’s game happily goes ahead.

The football pitches of John Paul Academy in Summerston are about 10 minutes walk off Maryhill Road.

There is a strong wind and rain is in the air as the teams kick-off. Balls go astray and players fall over straight from the first whistle. This is proper amateur football, and I mean that in a good way. Glasgow East have several players on the stocky side, making me think that perhaps I gave up my football dreams way too soon and maybe it’s still not too late.

In games of this nature there’s a referee, but no assistants. On occasion the referee will hand a flag to a member of the backroom team of either side. They will then patrol the touchline and signal only to let the referee know when the ball has gone out of play. Within the first minute the guy from Glasgow East doing this chore has his flag up for a foul on his keeper. One minute later he’s attempting to signal for offside.

Drumchapel look the stronger team from early on. They bag their first goal in 8 minutes when David McLelland follows up to bang the ball home from close ranger after Jon Walker has had a fresh air swipe at it.

Their second comes three minutes later. A good team move ends with McLelland knocking the ball home. This especially please the Drum management who acclaim the goal with shouts of “Seven passes!”

The Glasgow East team does seem to have a couple of players less interested in receiving the ball. Their number seven for example, out in space on the right wing when a long ball comes to him. Instead of taking it down and controlling it he half-heartedly attempts a Cantona style back-flick to no one in particular, which results only in Drumchapel regaining possession.

The game is befuddled with match ball problems. When one ball goes some distance out of play there is a frantic scramble to find another ball. I remember the days when Premier League games had to wait while the crowd threw the ball around amongst themselves. There seems to be some confusion as to what to do with the original match ball when it comes back. At one point it sits on the goal line, until the Glasgow East man running the line responds to his opposite number’s requests to move it. Shortly afterwards there are three balls on the pitch.

The Glasgow East staffer with the flag now abandons his post to go behind the goal to have a pish. On his return he gives up the idea of patrolling the line altogether.

Back on the pitch McLelland completes his seven-minute-hat-trick to put Drumchapel 3-0 up. Glasgow East do not look like they’re going to find a way back into this match.

In the 26th minute it’s 4-0 as Jon Walker pounces on a rebound and tucks the ball home.

Two minutes later it gets worse for Glasgow East as they concede a stonewall penalty thanks to a late tackle in the box. The referee has to pace out the penalty spot from the goal-line. The kicker smacks the penalty off the post. He plays the rebound too and puts it wide. The ref doesn’t seem to notice that this is illegal and signals a goal-kick.

I read a letter in When Saturday Comes not so long ago where a fan of an English League side wrote up about how infrequently you get a touch of the match ball in the crowd at league matches. At amateur games you can find yourself on the end of a loose pass several times in one game.

The ball comes hurtling towards me after going out for a throw-in. I see my chance to trap it before returning it into play. However I mistime it and the ball goes under my foot. I’m then forced to run after it, although another ball gets thrown on so no one is really bothered about how quickly I return it.

It’s 5-0 eight minutes before half-time when a cross into the box is played onto his own post by a Glasgow East defender. When the ball comes out Jay Jackson prods it into the net.

That’s how things stand at half-time, as both teams trot to the side of the pitch for their widely differing teamtalks.

Drumchapel shoot

In the interval the referee practices dribbling the ball around the pitch.

Glasgow East start the second half much better than they finished the first. They take a quick free kick while John McKinlay, the Drum ‘keeper, attempts to organise his defence, who aren’t moving into the shape he requests. The shot cracks off the inside of the post provoking fury from the ‘keeper.

“Nae cunt’s listening to a word I’ve said,” McKinlay shouts at his defenders. He’s still complaining when Colin Crichton makes it 6-0 in the 49th minute.

It’s 7-0 one minute later as Jon Walker lifts the ball over the goalkeeper from the edge of the box. The Drumchapel keeper still hasn’t finished his rant at the defence.

Crichton blasts the ball into an empty net in the 64th minute for 8-0.

One minute after that it’s nine after some good work down the right hand side by Crichton, crossing in for Jay Jackson to tap the ball in.

It’s a 30 yarder from Jackson to make it into double figures on 69 minutes.

Greg Burns dribbles the ball around the keeper on 77 minutes for 11-0.

With ten minutes remaining substitute Scott Mitchell makes it 12-0, as Glasgow East’s keeper gets caught out racing around outside his penalty area as he desperately attempts to block another attack.

Down at the other end the Drumchapel goalkeeper is having shots hit in at him by one of the substitutes. I now realise that with knocking the ball back into play twice in the second half, I have had more touches of the match ball than the Drumchapel keeper.

Jackson hits his own fourth on 84 minutes for number 13.

Drumchapel’s Scott Mitchell crashes to the ground as one of Glasgow’s stockier defenders falls on top of him.

“Oof,” he cries from the ground, “that’s a lump of a boy to fall on you.”

He gets no sympathy from his own team-mates. “Roll him aff ref,” suggests one.

“Kick him aff to the side ref,” adds another.

Jay Jackson lobs the keeper from outside the box with the last kick of the ball to finish the scoring at 14-0.

This result is Drumchapel’s biggest ever victory eclipsing their 11-0 triumph over Tullichewan in November of last year. Glasgow East unfortunately are no strangers to 14 goal deficits, as they were humped 15-1 by Budhill last October.

It’s been no contest as a match, but you cannot deny that 14 goals is some afternoon’s entertainment especially for no admission fee.

Formed only in 2007, Drumchapel look well placed to top the league and gain promotion to the Premier. However, with a couple of the teams being forced to pull out of the competition it’s still all up in the air.

Drumchapel complete their rout

Drumchapel Athletic: McKinlay, Muir, Nixon, Bruce, Caven, Burns, Crichton, Malone, Jackson Walker, McLelland. Subs: Cassidy, Mitchell, Brand

Scorers: McLelland (8, 12, 15), Walker (26, 50), Jackson (37, 65, 79, 84, 90), Crichton (49, 64), Burns (77), Mitchell (80)

Game Eighteen – Glasgow City vs. Boroughmuir Thistle

December 1, 2008

Glasgow City vs. Boroughmuir

Glasgow City 12 vs. 0 Boroughmuir Thistle

Scottish Womens Premier League
Sunday 30th November 2008, Kick-off 2pm
Glasgow Green Football Centre, Glasgow

That’s right 12 (twelve) – nil.

It’s a freezing cold afternoon at Glasgow Green, or more accurately Glasgow Green Football Centre. I’m here to see my third women’s football match of the season. This one is the highest standard I’ve seen so far, or indeed I’m likely to see as Glasgow City are the current Women’s Premier League champions. Earlier in November, Glasgow, formed in 1998, also lifted the Women’s Premier League Cup for the first time.

Boroughmuir were promoted from the First Division last season, their third promotion in a row. At this point they were called Dalkeith Ladies. In 2007 Boroughmuir was formed when a group of parents whose daughters attended four primary schools in Edinburgh, decided to form a girls and ladies football club. Dalkeith joined up after they had secured promotion in May of this year.

The move to becoming Boroughmuir Thistle allows the team to provide players from under-9s on up a steady path into the top level of the women’s game.

The newly promoted side are managed by 65-times capped Scottish international Pauline MacDonald. As a player she played with the legendary Arsenal Ladies as well as Central Fife Ladies, Cumbernauld Ladies, Cove Rangers Ladies, Stenhousemuir Ladies, and Atlanta Classic and Miami Gliders in the US’s semi-professional W-League. Amongst other honours she holds three league winner’s medals, five Scottish Cup winner’s medals and a FA Cup winner’s medal.

She was helpless today however as Scotland under-19 international Ruesha Littlejohn was the star of the show with a double hat-trick.

The first goal came in the 8th minute when the Boroughmuir keeper fumbles a shot to leave Littlejohn with a simple tap-in. She misses two good chances in the following five minutes before bagging her second in 17 minutes with a nice finish.

A textbook header into the top left hand corner of the net completed her (first) hat-trick in the 25th minute. Glasgow City and Littlejohn’s fourth arrives just before the half-time whistle when the Boroughmuir keeper makes a good save only to see the rebound tapped into the net.

When the teams come back on for the second half you would have thought it was Glasgow who were trailing by four goals, such was their eagerness to score again. It only took them about 40 seconds into the half before they got the fifth as Littlejohn chipped a nice left foot shot into the top corner from about 12 yards out.

It’s nice to see a team not wishing to ease off when they already have the game sewn up.

Four minutes later Clare Gemmell makes the score 6-0. Boroughmuir simply have no possesion to speak of in Glasgow’s half. They hold on to the ball very little anywhere on the pitch. The gulf in class between the two sides was obvious from early on and Glasgow managed to turn it into goals.

Littlejohn dribbles around the keeper to finish off her six goal haul in the 55th minute. She spends the rest of the game attempting to provide goals for her team-mates as she fires several crosses into the box.

It turns out that the other two spectators alongside me are her parents. (Hello if you’re reading.) Her dad tells me that she’s been provided with more passes today than in the whole season so far.

Boroughmuir defend a throw in

Despite the scoreline the Boroughmuir keeper didn’t have the worst game ever. She did manage to make a few decent saves along the way. She makes a good stop in the 60th minute and the ball falls to one of her defenders, who instead of launching it away from goal, takes it for a walk, only to be swiftly dispossesed. A second later and it’s now 8-0.

Seven minutes after that Littlejohn slides a pass into the box for Katharina Lindner to slip the ball into the net for the ninth.

I had to feel sorry for the beleaguered Boroughmuir keeper at the loss of the tenth goal. She races out of her goal to clear more danger and collides with one of her defenders, the ball spinning free to an attacker. She lies prostrate a couple of yards outside the penalty area as Glasgow make it into double figures.

Another two goals follow to complete the demolition. It’s a cracking afternoon’s entertainment and the women’s game has now provided me with a goal average of 7.33 so far this season with 22 goals in three games.

Glasgow City have one more game to play, next week at Forfar, before the league goes into a two month long winter break.

Although the scoreline and Ruesha Littlejohn’s goal haul are pretty impressive they’re both a long way off the club record. Glasgow City’s biggest win in a match came in February 2004 when they thumped Motherwell 28-0 in a Scottish Cup second round tie. Scottish international Debbie McWhinnie helped herself to twelve goals that day.

A report of the game (yes, a report of a women’s football match!) is at Glasgow City’s excellent website.

Boroughmuir defend

Scorers: Littlejohn (8, 17, 25, 45, 46, 55), Gemmell (49, 84), Ross (60, 82), Lindner (67), Brown (76)

Attendance: 6 Again I’m not counting the numbers around the sidelines who are clearly staff and out-of-action players. The number of spectators who presumably weren’t related to, or are friends with players I can safely number at one.

Game Sixteen – Ayr United vs. East Fife

November 26, 2008

Next Home Game

Ayr United 4 vs. 2 East Fife

Irn-Bru Scottish Football League, Second Division
Saturday 22nd November 2008, Kick-Off 3pm
Somerset Park, Ayr

For a reason I’m unaware of Clydebank had some sort of intense rivalry with Ayr United. I seem to recall a particular song concerning the imagined slaughter of Ayr United fans on Ayr beach. Perhaps it was the generations of Bankies who holidayed in the town who bore some resentment.

But nonetheless I’ve made the trip down to Ayr to see The Honest Men for my sixteenth game. It’s only a 50 minute train journey from Glasgow. Newton-on-Ayr train station is just a 5 minute walk from Somerset Park.

There is talk that Ayr may not be playing at the ground much longer as the board are actively looking for a buyer so that the side can move to a purpose built state-of-the-art ground.

Somerset Park really does retain the feeling of football grounds pre-1990s. First of all there are the tall floodlights of the kind immortalised in Subbuteo. There is also a sizeable uncovered terracing area, which reminds me of games I went to when I was wee. Terracing and this type of floodlighting was commonplace some years ago, but now when nearly every ground is all seated it seems notable, like relics of a bygone era.

The record attendance at Somerset Park is 25,225 for a 1969 game with Rangers. Currently the ground’s capacity is 10,185.

The teams come out onto the pitch to ‘Battle Without Honor or Humanity‘ by Tomoyasu Hotei. Presumably the song’s title isn’t supposed to be an indicator of how the teams will play.

East Fife are wearing a Real Betis style green and white strip. Odd, considering that this actually clashes more with Ayr’s all-white strip than East Fife’s usual black and gold home kit.

Lining up at number 8 for East Fife today is 34 year old Stevie Crawford, holder of 25 Scotland caps. Crawford stepped down into the third tier of Scottish football in the summer after being freed by First Division Dunfermline Athletic.

Ayr’s website stated before the match ‘The Honest Men are yet to conceded a league goal in the first 15 minutes and have scored 8 in the same period.’ That proves to be prophetic today as in the 14th minute Ayr make it 1-0. David Gormley swung over a cross on the left and former Chelsea trainee Ryan Stevenson leapt to head the ball home.

Ayr showed no signs that they were happy with that and hit East Fife with attack after attack, bagging their second goal three minutes later when Gormley slammed home from what looked like a difficult angle out on the right.

At this point Ayr were playing the best competitive football I’ve seen so far this season. They played some great stuff around the box, playing passes, taking their time to find space.

Another cross into the penalty box and a header from Willie Easton made it 3-0. Ayr were crusing at this point and looked like they were going to score each time they moved up the park.

Ayr United vs. East Fife

No more goals though by half-time. A big cheer goes up from the Ayr fans during the interval as the announcer tells us that local rivals Kilmarnock are 2-0 down in their match. It doesn’t get much better than this for your average Ayr fan.

In the second half predictably East Fife come at the home side and look to be making a bit more of a game of it. The Fifers get a goal back in the 62nd minute as they put the pressure on Ayr.

Two old guys behind me are screaming and raging every time a decision goes against Ayr. One takes off his glasses and proffers them to the referee, “Take these, ya blind bastard.” Another shouts “Just give them four penalties. You’ve given them everything else.” Personally I couldn’t see the alleged bias that these guys clearly believed was being perpetrated.

The oddest chant though is the old chap who persists in crying out “Come on Ayr-gentina!”

Dean Keenan slams in Ayr’s fourth from 25 yards to make the score 4-1 with 9 minutes to go and cheers up the old boys in the process.

East Fife aren’t finished though and a goalmouth scramble in the 86th minute sees Kevin Fotheringham thump in their second for 4-2. The old guys kick off again, “Cheating bastard referee.”

In the melee Neil McGowan picked up a yellow cards before and after the goal and was sent off. I’ll be honest, from where I was standing, behind the East Fife goal, I didn’t even notice that and it was after the game had finished before I realised. Apparently the police had to usher him from the field of play. I should pay a bit more attention to what’s going on up the far end of the pitch and not so much to the old guys round about me in future.

With no more goals in the remaining four minutes it finishes 4-2 to Ayr and I have to say it was one of the best games I’ve been to all season. I will be back to see Ayr again at some point before the season is out.

There is a report of the game on Ayr’s website here. East Fife’s match report is at this link.

There are some photographs from the match at East Fife’s website. They include the one below where you can see me, circled, looking none too impressed. I have got some photographs as well, which you can find here.

Me at Ayr United vs. East Fife

Ayr United: Grindlay, Dempsie, Walker, Martin Campbell, McGowan, Borris, Stevenson, Keenan, Easton, Prunty, Gormley (Williams 82). Subs Not Used: Stewart, Henderson, Agnew, Weaver.

Scorers: Stevenson 14, Gormley 17, Easton 23, Keenan 81.

Sent Off: McGowan (86).

East Fife: Brown, Stewart, Cameron, McDonald, Fotheringham, Fagan (Blackadder 85), Young, Crawford, Templeman, Linn, Campbell (Shields 85). Subs Not Used: McCulloch, O’Reilly, Muir.

Scorers: Linn 62, Fotheringham 86.

Attendance: 1,254

Referee: Anthony Law (Assistants: Barry Cook and John McCrossan).