New Countess Park, Friendly, 28/9/21
Entrance – Donation (£6 parted with)
Attendance – 53 head count
Pie – £5 , coffee and two sausage rolls(the very last two)
Pint – £3.20, Belhaven Best(when in Rome) Sport Centre Bar
Dunbar United Football Club
Founded – 1925
Nickname – The Seasiders
Honours – Scottish Junior Cup – 1960/61, East Region Division 2 – 1975/76, 1993/94 and 1997/98. East of Scotland Cup – 1960/61, 1963/64 and 1989/90, Brown Cup – 1962/63 and 1999/00
Random Fact – One of my favourite fitba autobiographies is “Life on the Line” by Kevin Twaddle. An incredibly candid affair filled with tales of his demons. A great read if you can get it. In this he states his pal told him he would get £200 signing on fee, free boots and his name in the paper if he signed at Dunbar. “Forget the boots, forget the paper, just give me the money” the big man said. Two hundred quid turned out to be a snip for the club who sold him to St Johnstone for £20,000 which still stands as a record fee received today.
A trip to Dunbar on a Tuesday night for a friendly even made me scratch my head in a “what the hell you playing at” type of way. A three hundred and forty mile round trip for a midweek kick about makes me think I have hit new highs in my fitba geekdom. But in my defence, Wee Man asked for a game, we don’t live in an area littered with floodlights, I am away to have no fitba for a month as of next week and lastly , the world shut down for over a year and fitba was at a premium, we are making up for lost time this season. Heading to New Countess Park was in fact a bloody brilliant idea.
Sometimes you turn up at a club and everything is just ace. It has happened in the past for Wee Man and me. Cumnock and Sauchie immediately spring to mind. From now on Dunbar United will also be thought of straight away. From the minute we turned up we were welcomed like we were pals. Everyone was really affable and when it became apparent we had traveled the distance we had, numerous people came to speak to us(ten at least). Hamish and Gordon from the committee had a blether with us and gifted Wee Man a sixty year Scottish Junior Cup anniversary t-shirt and a programme. The lovely lady (not sure of her name)in the tea shack gave us a drink on the house, others came to speak and the night was rounded of by a chat with Dougie who was clearly black and white through and through. I watch football for enjoyment, to meet new people and find out a bit about the clubs and I more than succeeded in that big time tonight right from the get go. The gifts are welcome but not saught after but what they are , are a measure of how great a club Dunbar United seem to be. This was a friendly and one hundred and seventy miles from home on a school night and it was absolutely worth it every mile of it.
After leaving directly from the school run armed with a picnic we arrived at New Countess Park with half an hour until kick off. Greeted with a train thundering past at the far end we headed to the bar next door. En route we got to see how good a set up there is in this East Lothian town. Adjacent to NCP is Dunbar Rugby Club’s pitch and an astro pitch next to that. The rugby pitch is flanked by a bar/sports club. Inside the bar there is a host of rugby and fitba memorabilia and mementos. A good place for a wee pre-game beverage, which we did. Then you have New Countess Park its self. When we first waked in Wee Man stated ” this place is really clean and tidy” and he is not wrong. There is not any shit lying about, not training goals stashed in a corner and the pitch surrounds are immaculate. From the edgings of the grass being perfect, to all the bordering chuckies being where the chuckies are supposed to be and not scattered across the tarmac track. The brick work of the perimeter wall is spotless and all the sponsors boards are a good as glistening. I really cant big it up enough. I look forward to see what it will look like when the stand is erected on the rugby club side wing. It will no doubt top off a ground that is clearly cared for and looked after.
This game was literally a training match and arranged just to mix things up a bit in terms of training, basically instead of beasting the players with runs or what have you, why not play a game? This meaning our journey was in the dedication/madness territory. But a game is a game and here we were. To be fair though the first half was not played in a training type manner. The grass was extremely slick leaving plenty of opportunity for good fitba to be played and it was. But it was also perfect for a big sliding tackle , which again there were plenty of. The match also started with a bang and was 1-1 within the first ten minutes. Johnny Edmund broke the deadlock with a tap in after some great work from the home 20 who skipped past the Tweedmouth keeper with some fast feet to lay it on a plate. But the lead lasted only three minutes until Michael Robinson took advantage of a poor clearance and struck his effort through a group of bodies across goal finding the Seasider’s keeper Johnstone’s right hand corner. The first half was mostly played in the Tweedmouth half as Dunbar had a large share of the ball but they couldn’t make it count. The biggest non converted chance of the half actually fell to the English visitors when their 6 found himself a few yards out with only Johnstone to beat after the home centre half got his feet wrong and let the ball pass. Luckily for him his keeper was alert to close the angles and pull off a decent save. The half was finished of with a hilarious shout from the home custodian when he barked out this instruction to his team mate, “don’t let him pull you off”. I am still trying to figure out the meaning of it now.
The second half was a non event if truth be told, the tackles and the spectacle disappeared during the break and the home side dominated. Jamie Devlin added a second for Dunbar with a decent low finish midway in the half. Dunbar continued to knock at the door but just couldn’t seem to get it right. Although Tweedmouth’s substitute keeper(their first half man mountain goalkeeper had to head to work), did pull off a couple of excellent saves, one of which he was completely un-sighted but instinct allowed him to pull off a fantastic save to his right. But he was beaten again with the very last kick of the ball when Ben Bathgate drilled home from inside the box. No sooner had the ball hit the net, the referee blew for time, ending this off the cuff visit to East Lothian.
I can’t big up the club enough and despite the game not being anything to write home about the visit itself was bloody brilliant. Head to New Countess Park if you can, you will be welcomed like an old friend by a top club and you can feed on lovely beer can sized sausage rolls too
Me 211, Wee Man 79