Davidson Park, Grill League Cup 1/4 Final, 4/2/22
Entrance – £4 me (should have been a fiver but my only change was £4 and i was told not to break a twenty), £0 Wee Man
Attendance – 161 (rough head count)
Pie – Coffee, juice, crisps, Wispa, £2.70
Pint– £3.60 Amstel , (Longside FC social club)
Longside Football Club
Founded – 1933
Nickname – The Side
Honours – North East Premier League 1999/00, 2000/01
Friday nights under the lights are back. A revisit for the both of us but there was no way we were missing our favourite local team at my favourite Junior ground in the area. It was set up to be a cracker, a toiling Longside from the second tier v a flying Rovers from the third tier and a cold cracker at that.
On arrival at Davidson Park we had time to burn so inevitably went for a pint in the social club. As soon as we entered we bumped into Rovers committee member Bryan (who I have blethered with a bit over twitter and used to play against when I was younger). This led to Wee Man being gifted a Rothie tourie. A fine gesture which went down very well as junior stuffed his favourite Superman hat into my pocket to wear his newly acquired heid warmer. He was well chuffed. As was I as it shows the quality club RR are.
After the swift Amstel it was time to brave the cold which had dropped from four degrees in Meldrum to zero in Longside. Despite this the crowd was decent considering. I counted 161. This was boosted by Rothie taking a bus load through so a night could be made of it. But earlier in the season there was just over a third of the attendance on a fine summers night when we saw them against Sunnybank. So to triple that on a freezing cold winters night does not really make sense.
The first half wasn’t really great standard. To be fair though the game was end to end and fast but it just lacked a cutting edge. Longside had a quality player in PA Bruce up front but Rothie seemed to always manage to get in behind. There were to be goals in this, that was clear to see. I was sure I was in with a chance of my pre-match score prediction of 1 v 3 being correct(Wee Man was 0 v 2). Chances were made but nothing came of them. The game came to life when Rothie broke and the Longside keeper somehow manged to run out and miss the ball leaving a couple of defenders v a couple of strikers with the chance well in favour of the forward men. Somehow the ball did not find the back of the net and Longside cleared and rapidly made their way forward and with a big lump the Rothie centre half misjudged the ball leaving Bruce to finish from close range. From a position where they should have been one up, Rothie found themselves one down. A poor sequence of play and an even poorer goal to give away. The lead didn’t last too long and the pre-mentioned ability of Rothie to get in behind payed dividends when Ewan Clarke broke free on the left and found his range from around twelve yards with a decent finish. The game continued in the to and fro fashion at great pace, Longside continued to swing dangerous corners right onto the goal line (numerous were cleared off the line) and Rothie continued to get in behind. The game definitely heated up the more it went on with a few good chances before the break. The best falling for Rothie’s Clark who in all honesty was more guilty of a bad miss rather than a keeper great save, when he pulled out a magic save from the Side keeper from six yards. Top save yes but he should not have been allowed to make it. A very even Stevens half.
HT 1 v 1
Rothie started the half as the better team and really should have taken the lead with three decent chances falling to them in the first ten minutes or so. Gavin Smart however didn’t fluff his chance like his team mates when he found himself in space to slip the ball past the keeper with ease from ten yards. A deserved goal given the start to the half the visitors had. Longside had a penalty claim turned away when a man went to ground, I thought the ball was won, Wee Man thought pen and Bryan who was now in near us was humming and haying but a good point made by him was the Longside committee were behind the goal in full view and there was not much complaining for them which maybe suggested it was a weak claim. Not long after Longside’s 8 had a glorious chance where he just needed to hit the target at either side but struck straight at the keeper the miss from the rebound was even worse as the ball was put high wide and handsome from a couple of yards. A huge miss this as a third Rothie goal came moments later when Jake Stewart swung in a nothing ball which the Longside keeper missed in comedy style. It seemed to bounce up, hit him in what looked like the chest and hit the back of the net. I am still trying to work out what he did. It was a peculiar incident. Wee Man was even confused to what happened and proclaimed “the keeper HAD to catch that”. He was not wrong. Strange moment and a game killer. The action was not finished and Longside were claiming a goal, would VAR have given it, who knows but one thing that is for sure, the Longside bench had no clue despite their gurning and f-ing and blinding. The ball was played into the box which had almost all twenty two in the box, a proper game of pinball ensued and someone in amongst the mad stramash absolutely leathered an effort off the bar and it it had so much power it bounced off the line and hit the bar again and was cleared. This lead to some hand bags and Rothiea number 5 Jamie McKinnon being gamged up on by some daft Side players who i reckon the big centre half could have destroyed on his own. The Rothie players tried to diffuse the situation by getting McKinnon out of the vicinity rather than help join in the handbags which in itself tells a story. Back to the effort, was it in? We will never know and the score stayed the same with Rothie in their first full Junior season have made the semis of the Grill Cup. Quite the achievement from this cracking club.
Then to top off the night Wee Mans met his name sake and “goal scorer” on the night Jake Stewart and got his photo taken with him, delighting Junior.
Me still 219, Wee Man still 89