New Beechwood Park, East Region SJFA Midland League, 4/8/21
Entrance – £6
Attendance – 93
Pie – Closed
Pint – N/A
Lochee Harp Football Club
Formed – 1904
Nickname – The Harp
Honours – Tayside Premier League – 1983/84, 1984/85, 1985/86, Dundee Junior League – 1904/05, 1906/07, 1910/11, 1922/23, 1923/24, 1926/27, 1928/29, 1929/30, 1930/31, 1931/32, 1934/35, 1935/36, 1937/38, 1948/49, 1949/50, 1953/54, 1954/55, 1958/59, 1960/61, 1962/63
Random Fact – Harp were the opposition in the Scottish Junior Cup Final when Aberdeen side Sunnybank won the trophy in 1953/54
On a night where I was abandoned by my loved ones I could’t sit in the house and stew in the heat. I had to get out into fresh air. To Dundee I headed but The Harp was not the original plan. East Craigie were hosting Dundee Violet at Cragie Park, or so I thought. On arrival on Old Cragie Road In noticed a distinct lack of cars parked, a quick look online and it turned out they were playing at a changed venue of Downfield Park. Somewhere I have already been for my fitba kicks. With a quick look at the fixtures I noticed my old buddies Forfar West End (the greatest game I have ever seen involved them)were in town at Lochee Harp, so the mile or so up the Kingsway I went for plan B.
New Beechwood Park, or Lochee Community Sports Hub is as new as they get. It is definitely the newest ground I have been in for sure as it has not been open a year. Sitting pretty much across the road from the old Beechwood site this is a typical new ground. 3G pitch, fence blocked off to avoid rogupe spectators plus a wee enclosure at half way. However not all new community grounds are next to the fantastic architecture of local legend Cox’s Stack.
A Wee Man free game for a change (as I said I have been abandoned by my loved ones) this was to be not a bad way to spend a Wednesday night. For starters the Dundee sun was beautiful leaving it possible to sit behind the goal on the hill without getting a soaking arse, this while taking in the events of my first ever newly founded Midland League match. Not the greatest match I will ever attend but certainly not the worst. A match that fitted into the old cliche of “a game of two halves”.
The first half the home side were the more dangerous looking side with many a chance carved out. Unfortunately the just couldn’t find the killer instinct. The West End keeper was the busier of the two custodians in the openening stages. The Harp keeper should have been picking the ball out of his net for his first action of the match when his defence went AWOL and were caught with a through ball. The West End number 9 benefited but had a rush of blood and fired the most clear cut chance of the match so far over. The Harps best chance of the match came from a great passage of play when a fine team passing move culminated in the number 9 laying of his strike partner 10 who unleashed a powerful strike which he seemed to cut across too much causing the ball to side spin somewhat and rattle the left hand post. Not long after there were penalty shouts for the home team, I was too far away to see properly but what I did see suggests there was something in it. The shouts were for hand ball and there was a clear change of direction of the ball off the cross, preventing the ball reaching the danger zone. Lochee were in the ascendancy and got the ball around the heavily pelleted surface with relative ease. So in typical fitba fashion Forfar WE took the lead. West End were given a freekick out toward the left. This was swung toward the back post where Ethan Samson was waiting unmarked to place a very good header back across the goal and into the net, against the run of play. The lead didn’t last very long and the Harp were celebrating a very route one type goal. Goalkeeper Sloan fired a lengthy punt up the park, this was nodded on to number 9, Tucker who spotted FWE’s keeper just off his line and exquisitely chipped him leaving absolutely no chance of the save such was the precision. A stunning finish. The action wasn’t finished there for the half with both teams missing headed chances in the dying embers, both number 9’s guilty of dropping a bollock with their efforts, both of which I would have said should have been better.
The second half started with a game changing decision. One which I think was extremely soft. The foul was committed yes, but to merit a yellow was harsh even being on a yellow, this seeing the end of the match for the Harp man. This got the West End tails up and they took the game to the home side. This led to a bit of a loss of discipline from the Harp and in my eyes were lucky not to be reduced in numbers further when 11 went in late and rough on the FWE 9, it was extremely rash from the Harp man. This led to a rammy where the Forfar 10 squared up to the assailant only to be put on his arse far too easily for a grown man. From here there was a bit of handbags which fizzled out as quickly as it started. Not long after Forfar West End took the lead when Rikki Gillespie(11) thumped an effort across goal from the edge of the box which neatly nestled in the bottom right corner of the Harp goal. Two became three with a few minutes left on the clock. A daft foul was conceded with no danger on the cards. The resulting strike took a heavy deflection and flew into the net, this giving Gillespie a brace and Forfar West End the three points. But it was not plain sailing as with five minutes to go Harp substitute Neave rocketed a twenty five yard effort through a pile of bodies leaving the West End keeper no chance. This putting the frightners up the visitors. Lochee should have equalised in the last minute when given a corner. A great ball in found the head of the centre half who got a heavy touch on it when a placement was needed over power. It was sent high wide and handsome preventing what would have been a great comeback. But it wasn’t to be for the Harp and the points headed up the A90 to Strathmore Park. A decent enough game and got me out the house which was well needed.
In my short time travelling watching the lower leagues/groundhopping (terrible term), I have now seen Forfar West End on four occasions. Three wins, one draw and thirteen scored. I am a bit of a lucky charm for them it seems.