West Region Superleague, Townhead Park, 21/12/19
Cumnock Juniors Football Club
Founded – 1912
Nickname – The Nock
Honours – Scottish Junior Cup 1978/79 and 1988/89
Current Division – West Region Super League
Random Fact – A fact I learned today, Townhead Park wasn’t always a football ground. It was once upon a time used as an equestrian training centre for the army. The current clubhouse is what was the barracks
For the last game of this trip home, thirtieth of the season and the last game of the decade I was back on the Scottish Cup winners hunt. This time Townhead Park in Cumnock. A nice long distance effort to see out the 2010s. Winners of the big pot once in my life and twice in total they are part of my challenge and also the second time I had found myself in Ayrshire in the last month with Largs being visited three weeks ago.
The day started in bizarre circumstances as I don’t think I have ever left for a day time kick off(in Scotland) at sunrise before. The combination of short days, distance and early kick off equalling what I think is a definite first for me. After a fine easy drive with very little traffic Wee Man and me were in Ayrshire. As we had company from a central belt Dons fan and work mate of Cumnocks Andy Dowie we found ourselves with a lot of time before his arrival. This leading to a walk around the town, this including a visit to Donsport where Wee Man demanded we get Cumnock touries. I cant see many five year olds in Aberdeenshire if any ever sporting a Cumnock tourie. After this we stumbled across the Mercat Cross. The emblem on the CJFC badge. A great photo opportunity for Wee Man and quite topical given the upcoming events
Townhead Park is a decent ground. The clubhouse doesn’t look like a usual footbally type structure and neither does the open patio out the front either, this obviously due to the random fact above. But it adds a quirkiness to the place. Id put it up there with my favourite grounds in Scotland. One wing has a pitch length enclosure and the opposite end to the clubhouse there is a another enclosure which didn’t seem to be serving its purpose of being a “family enclosure” as it seemed to be housing the “more vocal” Glenafton supporters
The game started with multiple attacks from Glenafton. Most of which coming from the Glens 10 Reilly who was clearly the go to guy with the ball. A cracking wee player who we learned was on loan from St Mirren. To be honest we laughed about him before the game as we thought he was just a wee bairn as he looked about thirteen. Turned out he is ace. The Glens pushed and pushed bring out a couple of great saves from the Nock number one Semple. They also smashed the post and missed a few more good chances and really should have been in the lead earlier than they were. The opening goal came on around the twenty minute mark when the best player on the pitch Reilly put in an inch perfect cross along the deck leaving Findlay Frye to slide in an tap home from six yards. A well deserved goal as there was only one team in it. The teams went in 0-1 which I cant help but think was a relief to the home team after the relentless pressure they were under
Due to contacting the club via twitter we found our selves invited into the hospitality at HT when I was stopped and asked if I was “the guy from Aberdeen”. This meant sandwiches, a fine piece and coffee in the clubhouse. More importantly it included conversation with members of the club who were very welcoming and happy to have us. I also found out a lot about the club, including the random fact above and the story of the two Scottish Cup finals they were in. We were then invited for the same again after the game in the social club. A superb gesture. A gesture that adds fuel to the fire when it comes to me jacking the big leagues in the summer. The gesture, the people and the Club itself were fantastic. Cheers to the Nock for the friendliness. It goes along way. To me it does anyway
The second half seemed to be a different Cumnock. They were much more in the game and created a few good chances and possibly should have grabbed an equaliser. This added a little bit of niggle to the match and for a brief spell it seemed as if this derby was to boil over. A terrible challenge led to a rammy with some pushing and shoving and maybe even sneaky headbutts. The following few minutes saw a few yellows which to be fair to the referee clamed things down. Pretty good officiating from a guy who didn’t put a foot wrong all game. The equalizer did come from an excellent header from Murdoch off an equally good cross ball. The game was well and truly on. Both teams could win this and it was brought to life by the equalizer. Both keepers were tested but only one was found picking the ball out of the net. Cumnock had a great chance where Caddis connected well but put his effort too close to the keeper who saved well. This led to the Glens breaking and scoring through that man Frye again who placed his effort high out of reach of the despairing Semple much to the delight of the “family enclosure” occupants who celebrated on the pitch. The goal was the proverbial kick in the bollocks for the Nock and with so little time left had had the stuffing knocked out of them leaving the three points to head south east of Townhead Park. It also meant I had witnessed one hundred goals this season so far. I would have said both teams had a half each and a draw was a fair result. But fitba doesn’t work like that. A good game and a good day out and a good way to wave goodbye to the decade and my latest stint at home.
Me 172, Wee Man 44, Fraser unknown