Victoria Park, Highland Football League, 13/4/22
Entrance – £10
Attendance – 252 (Rough Head Count)
Pie – £4, 2x Sausage Rolls and Coffee
Pint – £3.40 Thistle Bar
Buckie Thistle Football Club
Founded – 1889
Nickname – The Jags
Honours – Highland Football League 1919/20, 1926/27, 1927/28, 1933/34, 1936/37, 1953/54, 1956/57, 1957/58, 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2016/17. Highland League Cup – 1953/54, 1955/56, 1956/57, 1957/58, 1960/61, 1979/80, 1986/87 and 2011/12. Aberdeenshire Cup -1936/37, 1938/39, 1945/46, 1952/53, 1953/54, 1954/55, 1956/57, 1984/85, 1986/87, 2005/06, 2007/08, 2009/10 and 2016/17. Aberdeenshire Shield – 1992/93 and 2007/08. Scottish Qualifying Cup – 1952/53, 1953/54, 1958/59 and 2003/04
Random Fact – The club were the first non Invernesian club to win the Highland League (1919/20) with Clachnacuddin, Caledonian and Thistle snaffling up every title from its inception in 1893/94.
A pretty shitty day from all angles today and a game was not the plan of attack at all but the way things went I was home alone and the Champions League is shite so I had to get out. Luckily the greatest league in the world had a card on inclusive of title aspiring Buckie Thistle versus what could be a sticky opponent in Wick Academy. At the last minute I headed up to the Moray coast. Not too last minute that I didnt have time to squeeze in a pint at the Thistle Bar. It was in here I heard a surprising conversation. Given Buckie is a notorious Celtic enclave there was a multi-person love in for the rangers going on in the corner. Surprising and as equally gads. Up on the wall of the bar was a Buckie Rovers shirt, which got me thinking, are the club in abeyance or are they defunct now? It has been a few seasons since the Merson Park side have shown face in the Juniors. As time was not on my side I had to neck half the pint and make my way to the game. As I headed up South Pringle Street towards Viccy Park the unmistakable aroma of fitba grub tickled my nostrils and before I knew it I was in the ground with two sausage rolls. A great purchase as they were a delight. As soon as I found a vantage point the only important game in world fitba on the night kicked off on a pitch that looked in a great condition considering it was waterlogged earlier in the day. Something that was salvaged by a group of volunteers who helped the club out during the day to get the game on. The game was between a team who were clearly tired in Buckie and a team out to spoil things. Buckie had a couple of early chances, the first was a header from Andrew McAskill which he got all wrong and sent well wide. The next was a powerful effort from Kevin Fraser which Williamson fumbled but recovered well at the feet of Urquhart before the Buckie man could tap in. Buckie had a large portion of the possession but their final ball was a continual let down and this was a sign that this incredible run they had been on had taken it out of them. They definitely looked jaded and almost lazy at times. Then a controversial moment when after a mix up leaving Williamson in no mans land Joe Anderson brought down a Buckie man McAskill. Although being at the other end in the dark corner I could see an argument for the yellow card being lenient as there was a goal scoring opportunity for Buckie. A decision that was to become more controversial later on and the biggest moment of the half. A disappointing half for Buckie who in all honesty seemed to huff and puff their way through it.
HT 0 v 0
At half time I wandered round to the other side of the pitch for a photo. This made me realise how bad the pitch had gotten during the half, it was now looking extremely heavy and badly cut up in places. With Wick only having one sub (William Cannop) there was a danger of ‘e Scorries tiring as the game went on. Also at half time I went to get a badge from the excellently kitted out club shop. As I was looking at old programmes I noticed a copy of Rodwill Clyne’s excellent HFL related book “In A Different League” going for pennies. I warned the lady in the shop that they were doing a disservice as these go for big money these days. (45 quid plus on ebay).After finding out what it was about she then decided she was going to read it herself(or ebay it).
Buckie came out with a bit more about about them and looked hungrier. They had three very good chances in quick succession early on. McAskill had a a goal bound shot blocked first, Fraser then had an effort from six or seven yards that just couldn’t find its way through a crowd and was stopped by the last defender. Then the closest effort of the three from Max Barry who struck well but had just too much height on it leaving Williamson to look at it go narrowly over the bar. Buckie looked like they had a goal in them but Wick had other ideas. Fortuitous yes, but they all count and when a horrible misplaced back pass to Main held up leaving the Buckie keeper in the middle of nowhere, Steven Anderson couldn’t believe his luck when with the ball at his feet had an open goal to roll home into from distance which he did from an angle to put a serious dent in Buckie’s title hopes. I have heard silences at fitba before but this was deathly, a really eerie and strange occurrence as the Wick striker wheeled off celebrating. A big case of the old “pin drop” saying. Buckie still went at Wick and still looked like they had a goal in them but again the never tested Williamson at any point, with the Wick mans only save being his fumble effort in the first. Buckie were aggrieved when what looked to be a rash challenge from behind on Goodall by already booked Joe Anderson was waved on. From my angle fifteen yards away it looked like a penalty with the referee being perfectly placed to give it too. I’ll say poor decision for sure. Not long after Buckie’s McLauchlan was left looking at the sky when another Jags chance went a begging. A great free kick was put in the box only for the big defender to put it wide by a tiny measure. The game was almost sealed with fifteen minutes to go but for Main to pull off a stunning double save when his reflexes were stretched to the max to prevent Anderson grabbing a double, but his reactions to get up and save the rebound too was nothing short of phenomenal. A magic couple of seconds from the veteran keeper. This could have been the catalyst to get Buckie’s tails up a bit, unfortunately they game changed drastically for them when Sam Morrison saw a straight red for a challenge that was very similar to Wick’s Anderson’s challenge in the first half. This time though Morrison was not preventing a goal scoring opportunity with plenty of covering players but was given straight marching orders. This was definitely a case of poor refereeing as his inconsistency shone through here. Buckie were still the better team but again wasted their efforts. They had created enough chances to win the game yet had left Williamson as a spectator for most of the match. He wont have a much easier game all season. The Jags were the architects of their own downfall here even with Murray’s equaliser from the edge of the box in the ninety fifth minute keeping them in the title race on Saturdays final day shoot out. A win would have kept more pressure on Fraserburgh, a draw leaves a bit of breathing space. However I am sure Saturday will still be a nerve racking affair with Fraserburgh three points ahead with a goal difference of plus two on Buckie. Another great finish incoming for the best league in the world.
Me still 228