Kynoch Park, Highland League Cup, 13/11/21
Entrance – Me £10, Wee Man £5
Attendance – 140 rough head count
Pie – Two sausage rolls and a coffee £5.20
Pint – John Smiths £3 , Fan Bar
Keith Football Club
Founded – 1910
Nickname – The Maroons
Honours – Highland Football League – 1961/62, 1978/79, 1979/80, 1980/81, 1984/85, 1999/00, 2006/07, Highland League Cup – 1964/65, 1973/74, 1974/75, 1975/76, 1983–84, 1985–86, 1988–89, 2002–03, 2006–07, 2012–13. Aberdeenshire Cup – 1935/36, 1957/58, 1959/60, 1966/67, 1973/74, 1977/78, 1979/80, 2008/09. Aberdeenshire Shield – 1997/98, 2001/02, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07. Scottish Qualifying Cup (North) – 1960/61, 1962/63, 1984/85, 2002/03
Random Fact – The club won the league on goal difference over Inverurie Locos in 2006/07 but in a rare occurrence in football in general, the Maroons only led the league for the first time on the final day of the season.
The idea for a book has been in my head for a long time now. What started as something else gravitated towards a Highland League book and all the rest was cut out(maybe for another day). Where to start going round the grounds again? Only one place, for two reasons. One being it is one of my favourite grounds in Scotland. The second being when I had my own personal challenge to get round the whole league in 2015, the first ground visited was the fantastic Kynoch Park.
With coming home from work early this week to sort a couple of personal things out this gave me the opportunity to add a game today with the Wee Man which would not have been the case if I got home on my original day of today. A perfect opportunity to start the physical part of my book, as opposed to trying to remember details with my alcohol ravaged brain which I spent almost six weeks doing while in Angola. It was also the perfect time to pop Wee Mans Kynoch Park cherry. Just before Corona fully hit in 2020 one of the last games we went to was Rothes v Keith and I was told I was to take Wee Man to see Keith at home. A good idea for sure as because as stated already it is one of my favourite grounds in Scotland if not the world. I am a sucker for old school fitba architecture and the Sandy Stables Stand at Kynoch is absolutely stunning in my eyes.
Saturday games don’t always start at the fitba and a point of interest is usually the order of the day before hand. Today was one of those days with a wee detour off the A96 down the A920 instead to the ruined castle that is Auchindoun. I had seen pictures of its setting before and had always thought there was an eeriness to it. Turns out it has quite the grisly history too. But this is a fitba blog so I will keep it short. Clan killings carried out by its owner Sir Adam Gordon who ordered the burning down Corgarff Castle some thirty miles away due to his dislike of Forbes of Towie who lived at Corgarff, a man who had just defeated at the Battle of Craibstone. To add insult to injury of losing the battle, the fire killed Forbes’ kids, wife and twenty seven of a mixture of family and servants. Quite the bastard by the sounds. But the place is not all bad, the views of the moors and the Fiddich river as you face the southern direction are stunning. This visit was followed up by a visit to one of the best bakeries in the the area, The Strathisla in Keith, stovies for me and a tuna roll for Wee Man rounded off with two empire biscuits. Splendid
Then to the fitba. We were early enough to see the Fraserburgh team bus turning up much to Wee Mans delight. Nothing to do with any allegiance to the Broch (despite a third viewing this season). It was down the the front of the bus having a fancy lighting set up(the bit where you would see the destination). It flashed between “Fraserburgh FC” and “Watermill”. It must be great being seven. A pint and a kick about was the plan but we waited for the Broch bus to unload as they had all the bags and hampers etc. Then the fans followed, two buses worth which is an impressive amount at this level, something the Broch are known for. Meaning we had to queue. Once we finally got in we were welcomed by a committee lady who assured us junior would be ok in the bar, this not always being the case at all clubs. As we sat watching the teams warm up it was very noticeable that the ball did not bounce well, sometimes not at all. If this was a pro game I am sure it would not have went ahead, there is something old school about this and makes the HFL relatable. No pissing about, just get out and play. Also bringing up old school memories was the pungent aroma of cigars in the snack bar corner. Every time I get a waft of this it reminds me of walking through a puff of smoke out the back of the Merkland Road end at Pittodrie when I was a nipper.
It was amusing finding a vantage point for watching the game. As we walked behind the goal where Keith were finishing of their warm up by smashing shots at an Aberdeen clad keeper it was like a gauntlet to try and escape being smashed by a ball, The keeper seriously was getting very little warm up. Was this a sign of things to come. The reason for the Aberdeen clad keeper was Keith called in an emergency loan from Aberdeen to take U18 development keeper Jamie Shingler, who despite the result could have been awarded man of the match.
Despite the easy nature of the win, Keith were the more sprightly in the opening ten minutes which seemed to go to plan, they got the ball wide in behind the fullbacks and a couple of very good chances were carved out, but unfortunately both went wide. The Broch came into it after around ten minutes and a great chance fell for Lewis Duncan who was stopped by a fantastic last gasp challenge from Rhys Thomas who redirected the ball over that bar. However, Scott Barbour gave the defence absolutely no chance with a sublime turn leaving the centre half stranded and himself clean through leaving a simple finish past Shingler from ten yards. The turn was seriously good and just pure awareness. One of those where if it was on Sportscene it would have been repeated numerous times. Class. Butcher was to have his first miss of the game when he also turned the centre half but found himself with Shingler to beat from six yards but the keeper got down well. The big striker didnt miss a couple of minutes later when he managed to get his head to a rebound off his own shot directing an inch perfect looping header over the maroon back line. The Broch created a few chances but could not get the better of the Keith keeper. Then a contentious decision, which was not to be the last. Should the Broch have had a penalty. Did the Keith player Mooney kick Butcher or was it vice versa. I am of the opinion it was maroon on black and white as was Fraserburgh nut Martin Moir who I was speaking to at the time. Yes it happened quickly but the movement of the ball was the give away. I could have done with another goal as I had picked 1 v 9 in the score predictor pre game. Not deliberately I may add.
HT 0 v 2
Half time came and Wee Man’s yellow ball was out for a kickabout on the hill as it always does in the lower leagues. As we were knocking it about an adjacent dude to Wee Man told him try using his left foot. Turns out the man in question was ex Aberdeen player Andy Roddie (also ex Keith manager). A random intrusion for sure and going back to the aroma of the cigars and the back of the Merkland, Andy was a regular squad man for Aberdeen in those days.
We switched ends as Wee Man called for it and it was not long before a third buried past Shingler. Harris started the move, Barbour and Butcher were involved and Harris was on hand to thump home from ten or so yards out. Barbour had the ball in the net soon after but was correctly called offside as his run was fractionally early and the linesman stated so too.At this point the Broch started subbing off their big guns as they were clearly on easy street. Harris and Barbour both made way and one of the replacements Paul Campbell score a great fourth with what I am sure was his first touch. Receiving the ball at the apex of of the box on the right, a cut inside with a two steps coupled with a curling left footed drive Shingler was again beaten with the ball hitting his right hand post and creeping in along the goal line. Four should have been five when the second questionable decision of the game happened. An offside goal when Butcher got on the end of a cross to tap home. I am not sure how this could have been an infringement as the ball across the box was dead square with he striker running on to it past defenders. Poor decision. Butcher was again guilty of poor finishing when after some rubbish defending let him in clean through but the on loan Aberdeen keeper was sharp an prevented an almost certain goal. Poor finish over good save. Keith got on the score sheet late on when Michael Selfridge thumped home a rebound after Leask could not deal with an Ironside corner. The last action of the game saw the Broch hit the post again, this time without the ball going in when again Campbell tried the same move as his goal. This time the ball bounced out into the keepers hands. An easy win for the Broch but really could have been easier if it was not for decent goalkeeping and poor finishing
Me 212, Wee Man 81