Strathmore Park, East Region Consolation Cup,1/5/19
Forfar West End Football Club
Founded – 1892
Nickname – West End
Honours – Tayside Junior Football League 1990/91
Current Division – East Region Superleague North
Random Fact – Exactly a week after this I headed to Blairgowrie for another Consolation Cup tie including West End. It finished 4-3 to the away side and was almost as good as this. 15 goals over the two matches. Quite the entertaining team
People asked why I would bother going to watch Forfar West End v Tayport in the consolation cup on a Wednesday night. I think I even questioned myself. As I was on a one hundred and forty mile round trip many others would have chosen to sit in front of the box watching the Barcelona v Liverpool in the Champions League. Not me though. I will always choose lower league fitba over moneyball overhyped garbage. Turned out what was ahead of me will live in the memory until old age catches up with my memory. Quite simply, the best game I saw in 2018/19 season by a country mile and easily one of the best ever. I would have paid thirty quid to watch this it was that good. A fiver and a turnstile lift for Wee Man was all this epic cost.
The night started off in a good way as I was on the hunt for a pin badge for my brothers extensive collection. In the end I literally managed to buy one off the lapel of a committee members blazer after he was coerced into it by his fellow blazers. Top man. The friendliness didn’t stop there either as Wee Man got his salt and vinegars free when we hit the snack bar. This was followed with a yap with some locals who spent more time speaking to Wee Man than me in all honesty. Friendly folk in Forfar it seems.
Game wise, to start it was rough throughout with tackles flying in everywhere, some better timed than others but it was more than just a battle. Refreshing to see such commitment given this was an end of season kick about. In the opening few minutes Tayports Robertson had a couple of positive efforts and tested Morrison in the Forfar goal, who was alert enough to pull of a great save from the second strike. Unfortunately for the home goalkeeper, the resultant corner led to opening goal from Mackie who blasted in a half volley at the near post. Tayport smelled blood and continued to force the game and that man Mackie was in amongst the action when he thundered an effort off the bar. As the half wore on West End found their feet and got more and more into the game and were eventually awarded a penalty for a daft foul by the ‘port defender. No complaints were made by the visitors on or off the pitch. Batchelor stepped up and Tayports number one Jack Shaw did what he is paid to do and pulled off a decent save to keep his team in front. However this wasn’t to be his best save of the night though.
After the interval due to the mass of fouls in the first half, I decided to count the infringements but didn’t get a chance as the hosts had the ball in the net to level up almost straight from the restart. Montgomery on hand to head home from a cross from the left. Once centre was taken I started my count and I got to thirteen which in fact led to a Tayport penalty. Not bad for twelve minutes . The penalty wasn’t a surprise because after the equaliser went in, Tayport were continually on the attack and West End couldn’t cope while continually on the back foot . 2-1 the ‘port, Robertson with the successful kick.
From centre I saw possibly the greatest save I ever seen in the flesh. This isn’t just hyperbole to prove a point. This genuinely was one of the best things I have seen on a fitba pitch. Seeing the keeper at the edge of his box West End shot from kick off, the hit was not a lobbed effort but more arrowed at pace, this sending the keeper scrambling back toward goal and with maybe two yards to spare the ball was over the Tayport number one but he miraculously dived towards goal, body fully horizontal and threw a haymaker at the ball from what could have only been between a yard from his line and almost under the bar and incredibly managed to divert it over the bar and out of the ground. Truly spectacular stuff. If that was in the the jamboree down south or the World Cup the media would have been gushing for weeks. To make the save better, the resulting corner was cleared and Tayport rapidly countered and won a free kick and from there made it 3-1. Question marks over the home sides keepers angles had to be raised and were by a Tayport fan who just so happened to be satnding next to the father of the West End custodian. The starting off some handbags “that’s my fucking son you prick”, “what the fuck you saying about him”, “ill knock your head off” to which the Tayport punter replied cool as you like “might be an idea to teach him the basics of keeping. Near post, ouch” ending the “discussion” on that harsh but fair statement
Given the time on the clock Wee Man and I started to shuffle toward the exit as the minutes were whittling down but West End who were clearly down but not out grabbed a second through a header across the goal.Whether this went in via a heavy deflection or even an OG is a possibility but my view was not clear enough to be positive. At this point we stopped to see if an equalizer would come and it did via a ninetieth minute stonewall penalty. Dispatched by George who didn’t buckle under the pressure . Surely the game over now with a draw being the result. But in typical fashion of this too and fro game, on ninety-three minutes, Gill tapped in from close range and remarkably Tayport had won it with a fourth . Or so everyone had expected. The piley on celebration suggested the Tayport players thought so too. But again, there was another twist to this classic encounter and West End went straight up the park with McMahon smashing home an unlikely fourth. This leaving Tayport to rue some poor defending that cost them the result .What a finish to a game maybe only fifty people were lucky enough to witness.
Eight goals, only half of the eight scored with five minutes to go, two teams clearly wanting to win, fouls galore(no sending offs surprisingly), three penalties, the greatest save I think I have ever seen and free crisps on a cracking spring night. What’s not to like about that. Stick your English mercenary jamboree and Champions League. I’d rather go to the Juniors
Absolutely fantastic viewing and just goes to show you don’t need multi-million-pound players or over inflated egos to create top class entertainment. It’s an argument I have with everyone who buys into the whole ethos that the best players in the world create the best fitba. Utter pish if you ask me and this magnificent game of fitba proves it. Superlative generating brilliance.
To answer the question of why I would bother heading down to a consolation cup match on a Wednesday night. THAT IS WHY