Strichen Park, NESFA League One, 10/6/22
Entrance – Free
Attendance – 42
Pie – N/A
Pint – £3.70, Tennents, White Horse Hotel
Mormond Thistle Football Club
Founded – 1972
Nickname – Thistle
Selected Honours –NESFA League Two – 2016. Brucklay Cup -2014, 2016 and 2021, Ardallie Cup – 2016. Mormond Cup 2021, Gordon Leask Memorial Trophy – 2022,
With the ridiculous fuel prices still on the go a long range effort to the central belt was off the cards tonight out of principle as is the WOSFL Cup Final in Cumnock tomorrow. Wee Man was given the choice of the Brucklay Cup Final at New Deer between Macdufff and Longside Thistle or this in Strichen. The choice was made on the grounds that he had never been before. (His fathers son), I was informed earlier that these two sides would be the two favourites for the title, this gave me hope of a good game to see us into the weekend. We got that. However we should have had a lot more goals.
On the way home from the school run Wee Man asked if we could go out for tea before the game. This took us to the White Horse Hotel in the town which was good food and also good value too. Wee Man’s children’s portion of chicken was never a child sized, but always the gannet he destroyed the mountain of food that was in front of him without even trying(again his fathers son). We were lucky as a random piss down of rain unfolded outside as we were eating. If we hadn’t went for tea we probably would have been caught in it at the ground while having a kick about as we would have been early for just that. By the time we reached the “Bert Fowlie Arena” it was glorious again.
On arrival we did the usual hunt for a good photo opportunity and came across the sign for the club. I moaned about the lack of anything earlier in the week at Alford, here they have a quality sign. A two layered laser cut metal effort. Different from everyone and a cool welcome to the park. With ten minutes to kick off the inevitable pre-game kick about ensued, in this time the sun seemed to get brighter and hotter right in time for kick off with the big firey ball sitting at a horrible angle into which Haven keeper Gerrard. It was the big keeper who created the first talking point of the game in the first couple of minutes when he pulled off a decent save with his feet from Scott Fraser. This was to be how the game would carry on , with multiple chances throughout. Next big chance fell to early substitute Mark Watt who was picked out with a brilliant ball across the box from Fraser, unfortunately Watts shooting boots were still on the sideline and he sent the ball wide from two or three yards. A big miss. Haven’s first real chance fell to Malloy who struck to close to Mormond number one Allan who stood firm to block. But it was the home side who created more. The seemed to get in behind the Haven back line with ease. At one point Fraser Davidson decided to take them all on himself with a quality jungle run past four players only to be thwarted by Gerrard. It was only a matter of time before the Haven goal was breached and it was via a cracking goal. Davidson did the work on the left and put a precison ball to the back post where Watt was waiting to make up for his earlier error. 1-0 Thistle. Mormond kept pushing and we saw one of the misses of the season. Top 3 anyway. Liam Allan with an open was picked out at the back post where just a touch goalward was needed , for some reason he opted to try and find the opposite side of the goal but put it wide. The good chances missed were piling up for the red and yellows. Haven did get forward but their chances were not as clean cut. An example being PA Bruce hitting an effort wide after a corner was clear but the attacker had a lot to do to have an effort let alone get it on target. A lot different performance from the one I saw Haven put in on Saturday. Mormond were surely kicking themselves as the game could have been wrapped up by the referees half time blast of his whistle
HT 1 v 0
Wee Man invented a new game at half time. Adjacent the pitch there was a five-a-side goal. His idea was to hang off the bar and I ping the ball at him trying to knock him off the bar. Fair enough, I got him twice. Mormond started the second half the same way they played the first. By missing a great chance, Watt again got his bearings wrong with his heading ability while in acres of space. Gerrard was called into action again with his feet soon after when the Mormond striker(unsure) was through but the keeper did well and in incredible fashion Haven broke from the save and equalised when Ben Danton was picked out with a stunning pass and left with the easy job to pick his spot past Mormond keeper Allan which he made look simple. As the half went on the ref seemed to become more noticeable. He also seemed to favours Mormond over Haven with his bookings and non bookings. PA Bruce was booked for nothing at all and if anything a foul on him. He was was giving fouls to Mormond for absolutley nothing while letting them away with shirt pulling and a couple of tackles from behind, but handed out three yellows to Haven for very little. He definitely didnt have a book of Mormond in his top pocket. He seemed to love his authority too. This was then proven when Allejandro Lettlier was subbed on for Haven and tried to have a joke when stating his name . The lack of craic shone through and the man in the middle was not amused. he then went on to warn the Haven sideline about their conduct and I swear I cant for the life of me remember anything being said. A good referee does not get noticed. But away from him Mormond kept pushing and had an effort cleared off the line then Ross Coutts missed a sitter when he struck one over the bar from close range, this off a thunderous effort from Fraser Davidson which Gerrard parried. Again like prior to the first Thistle goal you could see a second on the way and it did come. A poor defensive clearance from Haven resulted in Davidson managing to cross over his own head from the byline landing it right on centre half Greig who glanced a header across goal into the bottom corner. This was only the second for Mormond but it could have been their fifth or sixth. They should have added after too but Fraser and Watt both passed up decent efforts. Wee Man’s pre-match score guess was 2 v 2 and at this point in the game he said to me ” I could be right” and as soon as he did Haven lost a man when centre half Smith dived in rashly missing the ball and taking player leading to a second yellow card(the first of the match that was deserved in my eyes). This leading me to tell Wee Man I couldn’t see him being right. As it turns out what do I know. Haven were given a free kick around thirty five yards out. PA Bruce stepped up a thumped an effort at goal which somehow managed to evade all bodies in the box smashing of the post with team mate Danton quickest to react hitting the rebound across the goal and into the net. Incredibly with very little in clear cut chances and lucky to still be in the game Haven had equalised in the ninetieth minute. The ref then took ages to blow up for full time despite stating one minute injury time, he played almost four.
A good nights viewing with some very good players on show across both teams. Mormond Thistle really should have won. Haven didn’t give in and they got their reward for it. The 2 v 2 is better for them than Mormond for sure. It will be interesting to see if they do end up the top two. Decent night out in cracking weather. The carry outs were flowing amongst the locals and the goings on on the pitch were not too shabby, barring some of the finishing. As I always say, if you were entertained then you picked the right game. I enjoyed it, Wee Man enjoyed it and followed up by slagging me off in the car all the way home for predicting the wrong score (1 v 1) and for telling him I doubted he would be right at 2 v 1.
Me 234, Wee Man 111