Scottish Youth Cup, New Victoria Park, 17/9/21
Entrance – Me £4 , Wee Man £1
Attendance – 250
Pie – Pie, Coffee, Irn Bru £4.50
Pint – Arrived 5 minutes before kick off
Founded – 1890
Nickname – Nitten
Honours – Scottish Junior Cup – 1929/30. SJFA East Region Premier League – 2012/13. East Region Premier League 1990/91 and 1991/92. Edinburgh & District League 1921/22, 1922/23, 1923/24, 1924/25, 1925/26, 1926/27, 1929/30, 1932/33, 1950/51, 1951/52, 1954/55 and 1958/59
Random Fact – Former Scotland International and winner of top flight titles in Scotland and England plus FA cups North and South of the border, Dave Mackay played for the club in the 50’s
Friday night fitba is becoming a bit of a habit these days and this Friday was no different with another three hundred and twenty miles added to the motor. The trip didn’t start off too well with the trusty yellow fitba being forgotten. This is an unequivocal disaster and left a very distressed Wee Man. But a quick stop at Tesco at Dundee saved the day and a nine pound Mitre was purchased plus twelve pack of Ossain which had a damaged box and a dented can, this taking it down to a fiver. Am I glad the ball was forgotten? Absolutely, bargain beer. Result.
New Victoria Park is one I have always been looking to visit after seeing photos. It really doesn’t disappoint as it is quite the set up. As you get out the car there is a decent sized social club. Unfortunately, due to time constraints we never got inside. To enter the ground you need to ascend steps before you reach the turnstile which is flanked by two Nitten painted gates and a Newtongrange iron work sign on the roof. Very smart looking. It also begs the question to whether the pitch is raised or the car park is dug down? Once inside you are treated to a cracking wee ground. Surrounded by trees you immediately have the toilet block on the right plus the clubhouse on the left, then it opens out to the pitch which looked like a pool table. What a fantastic piece of grass and those responsible deserve the praise heaped on them. Stunning stuff. There is also the enclosure to which is of decent size and fitted out with crush barriers. This place really is as tidy as they come at this level. Another very noticable element to New Victoria Park is the friendliness. Walking past the the social club we were greeted with “good evening guys” from two locals, then the turnstile was a fine dude. Then when getting my obligatory coffee, the lady in the pie shack was extremely genial and even the guy on the tannoy had a very warn manner to him. He even sent out a warning when the pies were running out at one point. It’s the wee things you notice.
Fitba wise I was very intrigued to see the difference in sides given the large gap in levels. It was a big part of the reason why I decided to head down. It is a different competition from the days of watching games at Pittodrie in the 90’s. This due to the evolution of Scottish fitba which has allowed teams such as Newtongrange Star entry into the tournament. Something I do think is a great addition to our game as I do in the senior cup too.
The difference between the two teams was there to be seen. I don’t think anyone could have expected different. The Paisley side were a lot slicker, some of their first touches were superb, they found space well and they had a great ability in recovering the ball when lost. But that’s not to say they dominated and Nitten were not out of this or ran ragged as such and it was the home side who had the first chance and it was glorious. Some good wing play led to an inch perfect ball to number 7 who pulled a very decent save out of the young St Mirren keeper. Whatever he could the home keeper could do equally as well and almost immediately was forced into a good save from close range. The first goal came from the penalty spot when the referee awarded the kick to no complaints. From where we were at the opposite end the challenge looked to be a tad clumsy and the lack of complaints seemed to back this up. 1-0 from the spot. Star had a great chance to equalise when after so pretty pathetic defending from the Buddies, the ball dropped to the free Nitten 10 who hit his effort far to close to the keeper who could only parry to the feet of 7 who smashed the ball goal bound but the defender managed to get his back to it and divert it over the bar. From the resulting corner we saw one of the best saves we will likely ever see. I am not using hyperbole when I say this was some world class goalkeeping. The ball was swung in and 7 got a great connection into the bottom right hand corner. The ball was millimetres from going in off the post and from out of nowhere the St Mirren keeper managed to claw the ball out and to safety as it bounced on the line. We were directly behind it and I for one was stunned at the quality of this save. I really hope this was being filmed as its a save that deserves to be seen. St Mirren took control of the game again and were unlucky not to get a second when they almost snapped the bar with a half volley off what was a decent initial save from the home keeper. They did get the second just before the half after some fast passing play up the right win culminated in a great ball across the box leaving a tap in for the Buddies striker.
HT 0 v 2
St Mirren should have had a third right from the restart when their 9 pulled one wide from close range when he really should have at least hit the target. The third did come in utterly ridiculous circumstances. I don’t want to insult the word dubious by using it to describe this penalty award. The St Mirren right winger got in the box but took a heavy touch, this allowing the Star defender to reach the ball and block using his arm as leverage and strength, down when the St Mirren man and the ref blew up immediately. This was a truly baffling decision and quite rightly questioned with “fucks” and “shites”. This leading to a booking or two. But the referee should have been sending himself off for such a crap decision and at least booking his linesman for not overruling. Garbage officiating. No mistake again from the spot and 3 v 0 in controversial circumstances. Newtongrange seemed to fall out of the game from here and a fourth, and goal of the night followed soon after when a fantastic effort was unleashed from twenty yards across the goal and right into the the keepers top left. It was one of those types that soon as it was hit you knew it was special and special it was. This was lights out for the hosts and St Mirren saw out the last twenty five minutes or so. There may have been a big gulf in terms of levels but Newtongrange gave them a game and maybe on another day may not have went in two down at half time. They should not be too down about the result as the performance was a decent showing.
A good night in a very very smart ground. The upcoming Groundhoppers weekend has picked well by including New Victoria Park and Easthouses Lily’s Newbattle Complex that’s for sure
Me 208, Wee Man 76