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Grand Day Out

I had two days out really.

On Friday on the way up to Aberdeen the good lady and I stopped at Dunnottar Castle and also took the chance to visit Stonehaven War Memorial which is walkable from there. (Photos of both will be coming eventually.)

Later in the afternoon she made a good trawl of the Old Aberdeen Book Shop in Spital.

Even better pickings were obtained at the Mercat Bookshop in Castle Street the next morning (I even bought two books) and then we had a look at two antique shops before we retired to a modern style hostelry for lunch with my younger son and his wife.

Imagine our surprise when the establishment was invaded by Sons fans who certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves, which the bar staff took in good part. The flag intimated they were from Helensburgh.

Fans of Dumbarton FC

On to the match, with ticket at the ready:-

Ticket for Dumbarton FC's Cup Game at Pittodrie

The Sons contingent had several good flags on the wave:-

Dumbarton FC Flags

The pre-match entertainmenmt was way over the top. There’s absolutely no need for this sub-USian rubbish:-

Razzmattazz at Pittodire

Even if the Aberdeen fans in the Merkland Stand also had a good array of flags:-

Aberdeen Fans

The teams emerge. Two more good Sons flags at the bottom here:-

Teams Coming Out at Pittodrie

Sons to the fore. This season’s ‘home’ strip – yellow and black wide stripes, with black shorts, on show (and a rather silly-looking Aberdeen mascot at top right. They had at least two mascots, which is probably two too many):-

Dumbarton FC at  Pittodrie 18/1/20

Sons line up for the game:-

Dumbarton FC Strip 2019-2020

Aberdeen 1-0 Dumbarton

Scottish Cup* Fourth Round, Pittodrie Stadium, 18/1/20.

Once again, we wuz robbed.

After Sons had held out for 87 minutes Aberdeen’s striker Sam Cosgrove went over like a sack of spuds in the penalty box. (Well, he’d been falling over every time a Sons player came near him all game so why would he give up the habit with three minutes to go?) Once again the ref bought it. And Cosgrove put away the penalty.

So, despite not a shot on target and only one corner won in the whole game – and that almost into stoppage time – one of the best Sons displays in the last few years ended up without reward. Defensively we were brilliant. Okay maybe they had thirteen or so chances – but they only caused Conor Brennan in our goal to exert himself about three times.

This Aberdeen side was a pale shadow of the team we played in the Cup Quarter-Final (six years ago now,) ponderous, unimaginative, plodding, but we’re not even a patch on what we were back then (as I said to my son during the game we’re not even a darn on that side) so this was a magnificent performance. It deserved better reward than a dodgy penalty against with three minutes to go. But them’s the breaks when you’re a wee team.

Again the assembled Sons fans trotted out those old favourites “What a shitey home support,” “We forgot that you were here,” “SPL, you’re having a laugh,” (admittedly that one’s really out of date now) and “You only sing when you’re winning.” Instead of Jamie Langfield it was that same Sam Cosgrove who was told, “you’re a wanker, you’re a wanker.”

Notwithstanding the final result it was a great day out. That sense of togetherness in the away section and the support for the team were both superb.

*William Hill Scottish Cup,

Brechin War Memorial

After all those visits to Brechin to see the mighty Sons of the Rock play away against Brechin City last year in August in preparation for yet another visit I finally looked up where Brechin’s War Memorial is located. It turned out it’s very near the football ground in a pleasant park area.

It’s an impressive sandstone column:-

Brechin War Memorial

Side view:-

Brechin War Memorial From Side

World War 2 Dedication. “To the glory of God and in grateful remembrance of those who gave their lives in the Second World War 1939 – 1945.” Below the names, “Greater love hath no man than this.”

World War 2 Dedication, Brechin War Memorial

Great War Dedication, “To the undying memory of the men of the City and Parish of Brechin who gave their lives in the Great War 1914 – 1919. Their name liveth for evermore,” and names Ada – Cla:-

Brechin War Memorial Great War Dedication

Great War names Cob – Hod:-

WW1 Names, Brechin War Memorial 8

Great War names Hoo-Pai:-

Great War Names Brechin War Memorial

Great War names Pet – You:-

Brechin War Memorial Great War Names

Other Conflicts; Kenya, Northern Ireland, Korea, Malaya. Plus additional names for France 1916, Burma 1945, and Mediterranean 1942:-

Brechin War Memorial, Other Conflicts

Game Off

I was spared the torture of watching today’s game on Sportscene Results for two reasons.

One: Sportscene Results wasn’t on because the Scottish Premiership is having a midwinter break. (This is another example of BBC Scotland’s contempt for lower league football which they tend to ignore as much as possible. Having said that I do though have to commend them on the TV show A View From the Terrace which does give the smaller clubs and their players most of its attention.)

Two: The game was off due to a waterlogged pitch. Not surprising given the weather we’ve been having.

In one sense the postponement was welcome. We’re down below the bare bones in terms of player numbers and a week off yields more time to get injured players fit.

Whether it was a good thing depends on how the game goes on the rearranged date.

As it is, not too much damage was done in terms of the teams below us as Forfar drew and Peterhead lost.

It’s the Cup game against Aberdeen up next. A free hit – except if we get utterly gubbed.

Carmyllie War Memorial

For years on my way up to Brechin to see the mighty Sons of the Rock play at Glebe Park against Brechin City I have been passing this War Memorial – a granite pillar by the side of the B961 seemingly in the middle of nowhere at a junction with an unnumbered minor road (to the left in the first photo below.) There’s not really a place to park but on making that same trip in August 2018 I made sure to stop.

Carmyllie War Memorial

As you can see it’s beautifully kept.

The inscription reads, “In proud and loving memory of men from Carmyllie District who fell in the Great Wars 1914 – 1918. 1939 – 1945.” Great War names are below, plus one for World War 2.

Carmyllie War Memorial Pillar

A memorial bench is set behind the pillar:-

Carmyllie War Memorial Bench

Great War names, plus one for World War 2:-

Carmyllie War Memorial Names

Again Great War names, plus one for World War 2:-

Names Carmyllie War Memorial

The lack of Second World War names on these rural memorials may be due a combination of the loss of men in the Great War and the decline in numbers of men involved in farming which occurred between the two wars as a result of mechanisation.

Falkirk 3-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, The Falkirk Stadium, 4/1/20.

Not too surprising really.

Despite recalling two players from loan spells elsewhere we still had only two outfield players on the bench – the two returners.
We still apparently managed to look good for the first half – even hit the bar – and ought to have had a penalty according to a Falkirk fan on Pie and Bovril.

Amazingly we’re still sixth and still four points away from fourth and six ahead of seventh but unless we get more players either in or fit we’ll only be going one way.

Next week against Clyde is a mustn’t lose.

Dumbarton 1-1 Stranraer

SPFL Tier 3, The Rock, 28/12/19.

I thought we were going to get away with it when we scored with five minutes to go, with Ryan Tierney slotting home – especially since we held out for 48 minutes last week.

But it wasn’t to be, and they equalised almost straight away.

Given we only had 13 players available, a pretty bare bench with only two on it – one of them a goalie – a draw’s not a bad return; even if Stranraer are bottom of the league and hadn’t so much as drawn a game in ages.

Down to sixth again though, but the gap to the relegation places is about twice as large as to fourth place.

I hope manager Jim Duffy has a cat or two to bring out of the bag when the transfer window opens in the New Year, though; we need bodies.

Hopefully decent ones.

Raith Rovers 0-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Stark’s Park, 21/12/19.

It is, as they say, a funny old game. Granted they were several players short but so were we. We only had three on the bench – and one of them is the reserve keeper.

I’d have taken a draw. To say I’m happy with a win against the league leaders away when they hadn’t lost at home before today would be an understatement. And with a clean sheet too, more than a rarity for us. It’s days like this that make supporting a wee team worthwhile.

We were at it from the off and had much the best of the early exchanges but our failure to punish their misplaced midfield passes threatened to bite us when a delightful chip left their forward one on one with Conor Brennan who managed to get his fingertips to the attempted lob to push it on to the bar and reacted well to get the rebound.

Not long after, we scored. Conor Scullion tussled for the ball but seemed to lose it only for it to fall for Stuart Carswell whose delicious back-heel set up Scullion for a cross into the box. He pulled it back to P J Crossan who slotted it home (apparently via a deflection.)

Raith had a warning when Morgyn Neill’s header from a corner went straight to a well-positioned keeper but a few minutes later it was two. Crossan won a free-kick. He feinted to take it quickly but thankfully relented. Joe McKee drilled it into an unmarked Ryan McGeever who powered it into the bottom corner.

I was dreading forty-eight or so minutes hanging on to a lead but in truth Raith didn’t threaten us too much second half. They kept playing it down the inside right channel but only made Brennan make one save – a header from a cross. Otherwise any efforts they had were off-target.

So that’s now three away wins in a row, we’re up to fifth again, only four points from fourth position and five from first place.

That’ll do.

Forfar Athletic 3-4 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Station Park, 14/12/19.

At least this shows we can score goals.

We certainly need to.

I said it was a mustn’t lose but losing this we were – three times.

I suppose their third, from a penalty, just before half-time, might have been a big downer but we’ve come back from a half-time deficit away already this season – most notably at Peterhead.

Credit to the lads, then, for coming out of it with the win.

Still sixth, but now with a nine point cushion to ninth.

And (amazingly) only four points shy off fourth place – and five away from third.

Will we burst the league leaders’ (somewhat underinflated I grant you) bubble next week?

Nah.

Ainslie Park, Edinburgh

Home of The Spartans FC (and, temporarily, of Edinburgh City FC.)

This is only the second Scottish ground I have been to at which my younger son* has seen a game before me. He took in a Lowland League game a couple of years before the Sons made their first ever visit here for the 0-0 draw in the League Cup in July 2018 which is why I was there. That result more or less signalled the demise of Stevie Aitken as Sons manager. The chop finally came a few months later.

(*The other ground was McDiarmid Park.)

Ainslie Park approach from car park:-

Ainslie Park, Edinburgh

Entrance Sign for “The Spartans Community Football Academy”:-

Ainslie Park, Edinburgh, Entrance Sign

Administration and changing room block. Ground entrance to right:-

Ainslie Park Changing Room Block

Concourse and Stand:-

Ainslie Park Concourse and Stand

From southeast corner:-

Ainslie Park From Southeast Corner

Pitch looking north:-

Ainslie Park, Edinburgh, Pitch Looking North

From southwest corner:-

Ainslie Park, Edinburgh from Southwest Corner

Looking east from northwest corner:-

Ainslie Park Looking East from Northwest Corner

From northwest corner:-

Ainslie Park from Northwest Corner

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