Craighead Park, Friendly, 28/5/21
Entrance – Good will donation bucket (tenner for the two of us).
Attendance – 171 when counted just before half time.
Pie, Burger and Coffee – £5.20
Pint – N/A
Lesmahagow Junior Football Club
Founded – 1885
Nickname – The Gow
Random Fact – The club started off as Nethanvale Swifts from1885-1906 when they were renamed Nethanvale Thistle. This was until 1920 when their current monicker was introduced.
A 350 mile round trip on a Friday night direct from the school run, aye go on then. With the recent drout of fitba anything is fair game just now I would say, hence this trip. Let me tell you something, it was well worth it and more due to Craighead Park, it is a fantastic ground. A hidden gem in South Lanarkshire. I would love to know where the pitch sits in comparison to sea level. The grass is not quite burning due to it’s proximity to the pits of hell but this place is seriously dug down. It is one of those grounds that when you walk through the gate you know it is special, even with the old shed enclosure having been removed recently and replaced with a more modern example. I can see why it made “360 :The Worlds Greatest Football Grounds”.
This was like my viewing on Saturday in Forfar, clearly a pre-season/maybe post season friendly. I run my seasons by Champions League final to Champions League final so it is still under the 2020/21 bracket to me. Again like Saturday this was noticeably a friendly in terms of match sharpness as the rust was clear to all, but this is not surprising after both side having no season to speak of. In terms of friendly in the challenge this was far from it.
The first half was littered with poor finishing (see the aforementioned sharpness). The worst offenders being the home side who have three of note. The first coming from the number 10 who slid in to tap home from a few yards into an empty net but put it high wide and handsome. The ball may have went out prior to the cross but this does not excuse a poor showing from the striker. This was followed up with a miss of the target from two yards, a feat harder to pull off than score. The perpetrators number is unknown as blocked from view but what was clear was, it was a sitter. The Royal Albert keeper was also forced into a save from a close range effort from the Gows 10, a cracking save yes, but he should never have been allowed to make it as the ball should have been buried but instead did not have enough on it. Royal Albert also should have had a couple but also spurned decent chances. There was also an element of the strikers being a yard of the pace of the great balls being played into the box. Again though they have been a long time without a ninety minutes. However the Albert did stick a chance away midway through the half when some suspect goalkeeping/defending led to a tap in for the visiting striker. The long ball landed between the Gow keeper and centre halves and nobody took charge leaving a gift wrapped present to break the deadlock. It may have been the first goal but on another day it could have been the fourth or fifth
The first half may not have been great and the second half was to be no different, however a niggle did appear leaving the match to lose its “friendly” status. Within the first five minutes there were four robust challenges pulled up and one booking handed out.(Also a red after the 90 which we missed as we were making our way out).The fouls didn’t end there either and the second period was stop/start throughout with another three yellow cards dished out. Chance wise The Gows 10 pulled out another fantastic save save from the Albert custodian, but this time the striker did everything right with the header and it was down to a brilliant piece of goalkeeping that kept the score at 0-1. Albert had their chances too but the lack of cutting edge was prominent again. The hosts were the better team but couldn’t find the equalizer and in all honest seemed to try and walk it in at times. As already stated , not a classic but who am I to complain. I have only been to ten games in fifteen months. Plus Craighead Park was worth the entrance donation alone. A highly recommended ground.
Me 190, Wee Man 58