2021/22 – Bo’ness Athletic 5 v 1 Bathgate Thistle

Newtown Park, East of Scotland League, First Division Conference X, 20/8/21

Entry – £6 me, £0 Wee Man

Attendance – 120, however that is very unofficial due to the large local ned troupe jumping the wall.

Pie – Sausage Roll x 2 and Coffee £4 (Sausage Rolls were excellent)

Pint – N/A

Bo’ness Athletic Football Club

Founded – 2001 as Linlithgow Thistle.

Nickname – None

Honours – None in Junior or Senior ranks to date

Random Fact – Rebranded as Bo’ness United Junior Football Club in 2018(from Linlithgow Thistle) to keep a Bo’ness junior presence after Bo’ness United were part of the exodus to for the EOSFL. Due to the East Junior Leagues disbanding in the summer of 2021, the club now finds it self in the pyramid with Bo’ness United and could face each other in cups or possibly play in the same league in years to come.

Newtown Park would have been visited by now if it was not the pesky pandemic that put a halt to pretty much everything In life. It was penciled in for the “groundhopper weekend” back in March 2020 which obviously did not come to fruition. Almost a year and a half later it was ticked off and we got to see the plumes, flares and lights of Grangemouth from the terraces. But this visit was not for Bo’ness United as originally planned , but for the towns second team Bo’ness Athletic.

Friday night under the lights for the third Friday in a row for us and like Easthouses Lily two weeks ago it was a long ranger at a 288 mile round trip. This coming after a day out to Dundee to the V&A and lunch with the good lady. This meaning my home to Dundee to home to Bo’ness to home day clocked up just the 480 miles driving all in name of culture and fitba. Well worth it though. A great day.

Speaking of great, while walking into Newtown Park I couldn’t help but think this place must have been a superb place to watch fitba in days gone by(no offence to the modern set up). I have seen the pictures of the old demolished Main Stand and imaging it still there with the three sides of terracing full and the old grass pitch makes me think it must have been one of the best grounds at this level and higher as the original Bo’ness played League football here. The modern ground is still a tidy set enough set up though and we both enjoyed our first ever visit even with a plastic pitch. Speaking of the pitch, another thing clear when you walk through the gate, the adjacent Unison Kinneil Band building which was gutted when the rolls of turf waiting to be laid in the summer of 2019 were set alight which caught the bands home and reducing it to a shell. The building still stands fenced off and a lot of what was inside sits in a pile next to it, inclusive of burnt out instruments. A sad sight.

To the football, a walkover in the end for the home side, but the game did not start in that fashion. In the first 10 minutes Thistle were the better team and got numerous good balls into the box but to no avail. The were definitely the more dangerous with winger 11(unsure of name) looking sharp. On the twelve minute mark, one of these balls into the box paid off and Chris Rooney was on hand to put the visitors ahead. But as the old cliche goes ” teams are most vulnerable when the have just scored” and again this season Wee Man and I saw an immediate reply when after what looked to be a mix up between defender and goalkeeper when they both went to ground and failed to deal with the ball. Chris Ogilvie had the whole goal at his mercy and smashed home from close range with the ball kissing the bar on the way in. The game opened up from here with both teams knocking the ball about well and getting into good positions but not much real threats were created. This was until a pinpoint ball from the Bo’ness left found Scott Sinclair who nutted the ball home with venom to put the hosts into the lead coming up for half time. Sinclair was not finished for the half though and struck a second goal in the death throes of the half. After being awarded a free kick on the edge of the box dead centre, I pointed out to Wee Man that a goal was coming from the kick. We were positioned directly behind it at the other end of the park but could see the enormous gap at the keeper’s left hand post due to the wall being all wrong(by a yard art least). The Bo’ness number 9 cool as you like curled the ball round the wall and right into the said corner, no power, just placement and opening up a good gap between the sides going into the break.

HT 3 v 1

Athletic should have added another from the restart when a fantastic ball over the top found Shanks who’s touch was superb and left the Bathgate defender for dead. He took another touch and only had the keeper to beat but he go the finish all wrong and fired directly at the keeper. A move that deserved a goal. From this miss Bathgate got up the park and created a rare decent second half chance when the number 10 let off a snap shot which fired across the goal and wide, much to the disgust of some of his team mates who were on his case after. Harsh? Maybe as the angle was against him(from my vantage point it seemed that way). This was to be a are sight at goal as Bathgate seemed to tire and this made Bo’ness look dangerous every time they went forward. More goals were surely a cert as I told Wee Man. They were unfortunate not to kill the game stone dead after another good move saw Snedden have an effort blocked on the line, the rebound being thumped from the edge of the box , only to be cleared of the line again by Thistle’s 3. A fourth did come when a sublime defence splitting pass from Ogilvy sent Mitchell through one on one and the midfielder struck across the goal and into the bottom left corner. The pass to Mitchell was worth the entrance fee alone. Brilliant play. Bo’ness continued to go for more. If the pass in during the build up for the fourth was worth the ticket money then the fifth goal must have been worth a fortune. That man Sinclair was to complete his hat trick with a stunning solo effort. Receiving the ball at the apex of the box on the left, the striker managed to dance his way through the whole Bathgate defence and along the eighteen yard line with some great nimble footwork. Nobody in black could get near him. It was almost elegant they way he moved. The finish was anything but elegant though as he let rip with a rocket which flew into the Thistle net. Bo’ness should have had a sixth but the referee declared it offside. When after a great move between Ogilvie and Rose, the latter rattled the ball home. But not for the first time the man in the middle got his offsides completely wrong. But it wasn’t to matter given the score. The action was not over there as there was to be a same team bout of handbags when Bathgate’s number 4 wanted his keeper to come for the ball, the keeper wanted the 4 to clear and they almost conceded because of the miscommunication. This led to the 4 pushing his own keeper and squaring up calling him a “fucking dick” in amongst it all. A wee bit of amusement to end the night for us. The full time whistle went and one thing was clear. Bo’ness Athletic do not look like a team who want to be the second team in the town. They mean business.

Me 202, Wee Man 69

Friday fitba, go on then
Friday night under the lights for the third week in a row
Newtown Park from one end
Newtown Park from the other end
Remnants of the fire in 2019. Including drums
Grangemouth, a near neighbour

Published by pacman1903

Once a football fan. Now a football nerd

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