Newbattle Complex, East of Scotland League First Division Conference B, 6/8/21
Entrance – Me £6, Wee Man £0
Attendance – 99 and two dogs(counted again to see if I could get the 100, 99 again)
Pie – £3.70 pie, coffee and Kit Kat Chunky
Pint – £2, Tennents, (Easthouses Lily Club Bar)
Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare Football Club
Founded – 1969
Nicknames – The Lily, Houses
Honours -East of Scotland Football League Premier Division-1991/92, East of Scotland Football League First Division –1990/91, 1998/99, 2004/05., Alex Jack Cup – 1990/91, 1998/99, 2004/05, 2006/07
Random Fact – The club are actually a continuation of the the original club who formed in 1950 but withdrew from football in 1968/69.
A last minute decision and a milestone for me. My 200th ground ticked off, and to be honest I am chuffed it was the Newbattle Complex. There was potential of restarting the love affair with the Northern League at Birtley Town, but with yellow weather warnings right through the East Coast of Scotland in the early hours, driving home in the dark with the surface water and storms was not worth the risk. However, with a trip to Midlothian I could out run the incoming weather and be home before it reared its head.
As far as non league grounds go I am a massive fan of Easthouses Lily’s home. It’s a very tidy wee ground that has seen a lot of love and devotion in recent times. Like with a lot of clubs at this level there is the full accreditation from the SFA which is the must have for these clubs as for starters it gains them entry into the Scottish Cup. With a good committee and excellent fundraising, Newbattle Complex has been totally transformed. As I was told by committee members pre-game , it used to be just a pitch and nothing else but paint and goals. Now, it is still a pitch that I have to mention, was in brilliant condition tonight, it has a stand with seats in the team colours, there is a clubhouse complete with bar. The whole place is fenced in and also lined with trees round three sides to prevent sneaky viewing(the clubhouse and a fence make up the other side). There is also a 5-a-side pitch adjacent the clubhouse. The work is not complete yet with the opposite wing to the stand still having work needing done. Tarring and such like. It really is a great ground and a credit to the club. As are the people I spoke to who were helpful and great with gifting me a pennant which will be part of my 200th ground celebratory framed collage.
To the fitba, after the great welcome and the ace ground it would have been a shame for the match to be a damp squib. Fortunately it was not and again for the fourth time in six games this season, it was a “game of two halves”.
The first action was the referee trying to stamp his authority on the game with whipping out his yellow in the second minute for the Peebles number 8. I would say it was harsh, but it was just the way this ref was to go about his anal authoritative ways which were to be constantly apparent throughout this match. Not a very likeable jobsworth that’s for sure. The first real chance of the match came for the visitors and I know it looks easy from the side but they really should have scored. A good passing move led to the 9 being around six or seven yards out with only the keeper to beat, incredibly he decided to pass to team mate 10 who looked a bit anxious and fluffed his lines and looked scared to have a go. Both players could have scored in my opinion but it wasn’t to be. Lily were also guilty of missing chances throughout the first forty five and to a greater extent than the visitors. The first was when number 2 was left unmarked at the back post at a corner but his effort went past the upright, his report card would definitely read “must do better”. The next chance had a better outcome though. The ball came in from the left, a Peebles defender stretched to clear but could only deflect the ball to number 7, Russell who slotted past the keeper with ease from ten yards. Peebles had their keeper to thank for keeping the score down when Lily’s 10 looked odds on to net but the keeper got down well to palm the ball away from the goal. Russell really should have doubled his tally not long after when a clearance headed in his direction, and after a bounce it was teed up perfectly for a half volley but the midfield man inexcusably missed the target. A big chance. Was it as big as his team mate 9 who also missed the target when it was easier to hit it. As he was bearing down from the left he got the finish all wrong inside the box. All I can think is he was expecting to get clattered by the defender who was on him, but the challenge didn’t come and poor finish left the score at just the one. But there was another to come before the half time whistle went. Again a ball was put into the box and not dealt with adequately by the Peebles defence, this leaving Lily captain Eliot to finish from twelve yards despite slipping as he hit it. A suckerpunch for Peebles who went in at half time with twice the job on their hands.
Peebles came out a different side in the second half and it wasn’t long before the created their first chance when their number 10 skinned two defenders as he made his way into he box he got his shot away but the keeper was up to it. A scare for the home team who did not take heed of it. Peebles continued to attack and created a couple of more chances which did not trouble the Lily goalkeeper. But the home number 1 was picking the ball out of his net when his defence were split by a perfect through ball which found number 10 who managed to control the ball on the run and stick it low and beyond the keeper. At this point Wee Man deserted me (first time in 65 grounds)as he was asked for a kick about with a couple of Hibs clad kids on the 5-a-side pitch(good to see they were supporting a team from the Easthouses side of the M8 and not the wrong end). Anyway off he popped leaving me to watch the game my self, deserted in favour of bloody Hibs fans. But I was soon in the company of the EOSFL secretary Tom who had a blether with me on EOSFL and Turriff United after putting two and two together and doing the maths. Twitter post plus funny Aberdeenshire accent plus a Wee Man equals me. Interestingly there was wee invite to his club thrown in, Haddington Athletic are now on the list of to do’s(to be noted Heriott Watt also invited me to Oriam to watch them too tonight, this will also be taken up). Back on the pitch Peebles were in the ascendancy and were denied an equaliser by a stunning save combined with the bar. And almost identical through ball to the goal set the 10 off (I think) one on one with the keeper, his effort was placed well but the save was decent the rebound fell to 12 who thought he had scored but the keeper had recovered to get a hand to it and tip it on to the bar. Bad miss or great save, open to debate. The equaliser did come and I have to say it was deserved on the second half performance. It came from the spot after a definite foul just inside the box. Number 10 stepped up, number 10 wrong footed the keeper to share the spoils, finishing off what was a decent nights viewing and worth the last minute three hundred mile trip.
Great ground, sound folk and a good game of football almost played entirely on the deck. Friday EOSFL matches should happen more often
Me 200, Wee Man 65