Gallowshill, White Cup Final, 30/5/22
Entrance – £ 3
Attendance – 156 (Rough Head Count)
Pie – £3 , Pie and coffee
Pint – £4 Tennents, Briggies Bar
From Newburgh to Newburgh. Surely a first in my life watching a ball being kicked about, two games in a row in towns with the same name. This time though, the one that played a big part in my younger years. Newburgh was where I did my underage drinking and house partying as a teen (along with Tarves). I always enjoy heading back as it reminds me of easier times when life was a doddle. Playing fitba and Saturday illicit drinking with the inconvenience of Monday to Friday at Ellon Academy thrown in. Simple. Being in Newburgh is a rare occurrence these days and tonight would not have happened if life was being simple, unfortunately it was not and I ended up at a total loose end leading me the fourteen miles east to to the mouth of the Ythan.
After a pint in Briggies (again memories came flooding back) I joined the healthy crowd at Gallowshill. This is a ground that holds a distinction over any other, yes there are many I have played on and watched a game at and this is no different, but here I have got drunk on numerous occasions and had drunken kick abouts. It is a tidy set up and in the higher end of amateur grounds and is Junior worthy (which it was once upon a time when Wilso……Hillhe…….Bridge of D…..Newburgh Thistle plied their trade there). I am a fan of the place for a few reasons. There are two drinking establishments in spitting distance being one. It’s handy being another. But most of all its set in really bonnie surrounds. You have the beach and the dunes, at this time of year the brush covered hills and depending where you stand you can see right up the coast towards Peterhead with the power station lum in view on a clear day. Then on top of that its constantly being serenaded by the tweets of the local avian population. Basic it may be structure wise but its a quality place to watch a game (when the North Sea elements are behaving themselves). Also it has an ace name.
Going into the game I had a feeling Alford would be heading for home with the first of a potential double in the bag as I thought they would win this league cup encounter. With my old boy’s team in the same league, Division 1 East this season, he has told me Alford were by far the best team and deserve to be champions.(To be noted they will be two leagues apart next season, do the maths) Alford are second with a game in hand on Beacon Rangers currently, so it looks like going to the wire. However GWU are also one of the better teams so a good game was on the cards. What a start it got of too as well. As I walked in the gate the ball was in flight an made its way into the GWU net. Cross cum goal by the looks but I don’t think Adam Reid was giving much of shit as he wheeled away celebrating just thirty seconds into this final. Incredibly though, the game was level within seconds when the team from Aberdeen went straight up the park and scored. McKinnon was put through with an inch perfect through ball leaving him the task of sticking the ball past the onrushing Middleton in the Alford goal, something he made look easy. Not even two minutes gone and 1 v 1. This much to the annoyance of the Alford manager who I noticed was ex Formartine United man Gavin Slessor, a player I used to watch a lot in a previous life. Despite the explosive start to the game the action seemed to dull down a bit over the first quarter of the game, possession was surrendered easily by both teams often and there was an element of a tennis match with the ball pinging from one end to the other. But to be fair both teams found their feet in the game and when the ball was played about on the deck it was good to watch. Lacking end product but there was an intent from both teams. Alford took the lead half an hour in when that man Reid was on hand again to rifle home after a very good turn in the box was as good as his finish. Western claimed the Alford 10 controlled with his hand in the lead up but I am not too sure about that. West End didn’t let this affect them too much and took the game to Alford, unfortunately all their good work and balls into the box were not met with the same level of quality as the build up play with some good chances going begging. Ryan Dick especially cocking things up on a couple of occasions when scoring was easier than his misses. McKinnon had a good chance for the Aberdeen side right on the half when he was unlucky to just clear the bar with a lobbed effort. Good thought which was just slightly off in the execution.
HT 2 v 1
The second half like the first did not take long to see the net ripple an it was Alford again with the early strike. Ethan Grant swung in a ball that Adam Reid misjudged but his effort landed at the feet of namesake Mark Reid who thumped home from close range. The could have had a fourth soon after if not for some quick reactions from Western keeper Stephen who made a great double save to keep his team in the game. Stephen then could have cost his side when he found himself in no mans land after being a bit hasty in his decision making leaving Adam Reid to try his luck with a lob from twenty yards. The effort going just slightly over the bar. Great Western United were handed a lifeline from the penalty spot when a no complaints stonewaller foul was given. The players involved I am not sure as i was at the other end of the pitch but what i do know is Jason Davie stepped of and lashed home the kick. 3 v 2 and game on. This raised the temperatures a bit too and the game started to get a bit firey with a few rash challenges making what had been a simple game to referee a bit harder for my ex team mate and now referee Andy MacLean. To be fair, his dealings with with the flutter of fouls worked well and the game calmed down again as quick as it fired up. I was hoping for a bloodbath to make the man in the middle earn his wages for the night but it was not to be. The game was put beyond doubt when Alford got their fourth of the night. Ian Chalmers did brilliantly down the right taking the ball half the length of the park and drove an low ball to the pen spot where Adam Grant was lurking and scudded the ball past Stephen. With limited time left on the clock that was surely that. However Great Western still had a couple of chances that were not far away. The first saw Alford number one Middleton’s heart end up in his throat when a deflected effort left him stranded only to watch the ball go a fag papers width over the bar. The were then denied soon after with an effort cleared off the line. The last action of the game saw Adam Reid strike the post with a thirty yard free kick which as it struck the upright made the most glorious of a ping sound. That was that and referee MacLean blew for full time much to the approval of the travelling Alford fans. I didn’t hang about as I just wanted to get up the narrow road before the traffic and legged it to the car. Not what I wanted to be doing on the night but it was an entertaining game from the start and got me away from real life for a while.
Me still 230