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Cove Rangers 1-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Balmoral Stadium, 10/4/21.

Back to business as usual then. Dumbarton nil.

I wasn’t expecting anything from this game though.

Tuesday’s a big day for us even though we’re not playing as both Forfar and Clyde have a game then.

Then the big one on Thursday night, when we play Clyde at their place.

(But we could be four points behind them by then.)

Edited to add: It seems from a photo on Twitter (click to enlarge picture) that the ball didn’t cross the line for their goal.

Also from Pie and Bovril that we were as woeful as usual so we didn’t deserve to take anything from the game anyway.

Dumbarton 2-1 East Fife

SPFL Tier 3, The Rock, 8/4/21.

Well. Two goals.

Count them.

Two goals – and we had a penalty saved. Who’d have thought it?

In one game we have increased our goals tally in the league by 33.33%.

It helped that we scored early; a Ryan McGeever header from a Ross Forbes corner. Typical that my live-streaming feed froze momentarily and I didn’t see it, just heard the commentators go tonto. (I did wind back the feed after the game and saw how thumping a header it was.) McGeever had another close effort – with his foot! – a few minutes later which crashed off the bar and a second free header in the second half where he was way off with his direction.

Thereafter it was not quite like Groundhog Day. We did look to be more on the front foot than in recent games even if East Fife had more possession. They didn’t do a lot with it though – except for Scott Agnew’s delivery at corners which I knew would catch us out in the end, and did. Thankfully that came too late.

Our second goal was a neat through ball from Ross Forbes and a shimmy past the defender by Adam Frizell before he buried it emphatically.

I was still figuratively biting my nails. We’ve cocked up so many games since the restart.

Pity that Clyde also got a win.

On to Cove on Saturday now.

Completing the Season

The amended fixtures that will suposedly allow Tier 3 SPFL clubs to complete 18 games for this season have been published.

(After a top five/bottom five split a further four fixtures are proposed to make up a 22 game season – but only if every side has managed to fit the 18 game total in.)

Sons’ games are scheduled as follows:-

Saturday, March 20 – Forfar Athletic (H, 3pm)
Saturday, March 27 – Peterhead (H, 3pm)
Tuesday, March 30 – Falkirk (A, 7.45pm)
Thursday, April 1 – Airdrieonians (H, 7.45pm)
Tuesday, April 6 – Montrose (H, 7pm)
Thursday, April 8 – East Fife (H, 7pm)
Saturday, April 10 – Cove Rangers (A, 3pm)
Saturday, April 17 – Clyde (A, 3pm)
Tuesday, April 20 – Partick Thistle (H, 7.45pm)

To those has to be added the game against Huntly in the Scottish Cup on March 23 (ko 7.45 pm) and a possible tie beyond that if we win.

It’s some schedule, In fact it’s an insane schedule given that we have a less than threadbare squad and no hint of imminent signings.

The players will be dead on their feet by Apr 1 (5 games in 12 days.) There’s also 4 in the seven days Apr 3-10 if we’re in the next round of the Cup. That’s due on Sat Apr 3.

Snapshot by Daniel Gray and Alan McCredie

Scenes and stories from the heartlands of Scottish football, Nutmeg, 2020, 208 p.

The introduction claims this book to be “a love letter to the charms of football …. a portal into a different kind of Scotland.” Well, maybe; but it’s a portal through which many people have travelled.

As an aside I notice on the cover photo (of a pitch on Eriskay) there are flags marking the halfway line. I thought those had been done away with years ago.

For each “chapter” we have a page or three of narrative. These describe in turn the unsung background people, the beating heart of every club, “ensuring our Saturdays have purpose, comfort and melancholy;” the return to normality and focus of a new season’s start; the contrasting fortunes of the two “wee” Rangers, of Berwick and of Cove; the bright promise of a ground you’ve never been to before; the “gentle pleasures” of football in the Borders (notwithstanding the brutalist concrete splendour of Gala Fairydean’s main stand;) the rigours and dangers of blaes pitches; the magic of a floodlit game, forever enchanting; the glory and misery of away trips; the local team as the heart of a community, embodied in its social club especially in Junior football; the joys of park football; the content the writer senses in the Highland League.

The match day experience of attending a midweek floodlit game in a minor league is highlighted by a photograph of a neglected bottle of orange juice and a mug with the word “Twat” printed on it sitting on top of a dugout.

Football’s past is given its due with photos of an iron fence and gate before where the main stand stood at The Gymnasium; trees striding down the terraces of Cathkin Park; a single Art Deco style wall still bearing the name Shawfield; the sole survivor of Brockville, a turnstile acting as a memorial in the car park of the town’s Morrisons; the overgrown terraces of Tinto Park, Benburb; Meadowbank stadium’s “oddly alluring air of otherness …. a little pocket of Leningrad tucked behind Arthur’s Seat.”

An even more melancholy note is struck by the mention of two Hibs supporters, one photographed on an away trip, who succumbed to Covid-19, with the final paragraphs devoted to the loss the average fan has experienced as a result of the pandemic’s suspension of the Saturday ritual.

Pedant’s corner:- “a 1,000” (either ‘a thousand’ or ‘1,000’. 1,000 does not stand for ‘thousand’, it is specifically ‘one thousand’; no one ever says, ‘a one thousand’,) “their 54 years of league football had ceased” (Berwick Rangers joined the Scottish League proper in 1955; 64 years, then; 68 if you count the Division C years,) Berwick fans in August “singing ‘Back to school tomorrow’ to visiting young fans of Scottish clubs” (unless it was a midweek game more likely ‘Back to school on Monday’,) Rangers’ (Rangers’s,) Rovers’ (Rovers’s,) “the club … are familiar” (the club … is familiar,) “the first senior league game at Cove’s Balmoral Stadium.” (Okay, the writer used a lower case ‘s’, but…. Cove have been Senior ever since they joined the Highland League, so, ‘their first game in a nationwide league,’) “Galashiels Fairydean Rovers FC” (the club’s name is Gala Fairydean Rovers FC.)

Dumbarton 1-0 Cove Rangers

SPFL Tier 3, The Rock, 12/12/20.

Our first ever game against the visitors – and we got a welcome win.

It probably wasn’t that long ago but I can’t remember the last time we beat a team above us in the league.

Watching on the live stream is a peculiar experience. It seemed even more nerve-racking than actually being at a game. It didn’t help that, once again, as against Clyde, we were holding out for a win – this time only for 40 mins rather than the majority of the game.

It was fairly even in the first half but I felt Cove always looked more comfortable on the ball than us. We had the first effort on target though, a fairly centrally aimed Ross Forbes free-kick. Our failure to score despite some pressure (and no truly clear-cut chances) is the sort of thing that can come back to bite you. And it almost did as Cove forced Kevin Dabrowski in goal into two very good saves indeed and a further block outside his near post. Then Rico Quitongo danced round the defender on the bye-line and cut it back to Jaime Wilson who hit it fiercely but nearly straight at their keeper. Half-time 0-0.

Not long after, we were ahead – from an unlikely source. Nat Wedderburn – a strong presence in midfield throughout – bulleted a Ross Forbes corner into the net on 50 minutes, his first goal for the club.

From then on Cove pushed forward and we did not seem to be able to find an out ball. Hence the racked nerves. They did hit the post late on and it seemed the ball must go in but it trundled along the goal line for what seemed like ages before Stuart Carswell cleared it sideways – Kevin Dabrowski having to dive over his clearance.

We did manage to venture forward in the last few minutes but the final whistle still came as a relief.

So we’re now two points off third place and five clear of ninth.

It’s a tricky visit to Montrose (in fourth) next week though.

Peterhead 1-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Balmoor Stadium, 21/11/20.

Well. Normal service appears to have been resumed. A good start with a draw, two wins and three clean sheets has been overtaken by two defeats in a row. Mind you according to the club’s view of the game we again, as a fortnight ago, might have got something from the game.

We now have three very hard matches indeed in a row against Falkirk, Partick Thistle and Cove Rangers respectively, all of whom are above us in the table.

My spot in front of the computer is booked for the live stream on Tuesday night.

Dumbarton in the North

I see from the club website that Sons have been included in the north area for the purposes of the new format of the League Cup (or Betfred Cup as it is officially known.)

Given that one of the major reasons for change was to have ties between sides more or less local to each other this decision seems utterly bizarre.

It is however a consequence of Sons relative success in that we have been included in the second layer of seeds due to finishing 8th in the second tier of the SPFL last season.

There is a possible nightmare scenario of trips to Dingwall or Inverness, Peterhead or Cove Rangers.

More Peculiarly Named Scottish Football Teams

Further to my post on the weirdnesses of nomenclature within Scottish football my friend Neil pointed out in the comments that playing in the less well known leagues in Scotland there are also not a few non geographically specific names of football teams.

These examples are from the Highland League.

Non-geographical:-
Cove Rangers (Cove Bay, Aberdeen)
Formartine United (Pitmedden)

Vaguely appropriate:-
Deveronvale (the team is located in Banff, on the river Deveron)
Strathspey Thistle (Grantown-On-Spey)

Note, here, that the geographically informative but still strangely named Inverurie Locos, are unfortunately not called this because they (or their fans) are mad, but as a shortening of locomotive works.

However, in this league the belter of a name is undoubtedly Clachnacuddin (meaning the stone of the tub – a landmark in Inverness apparently.)

Remarkably (since I have not seen Dumbarton play north of Brechin/Montrose) I have actually attended a game at their ground, Grant Street Park. I was in Inverness one summer and caught a pre-season encounter with East Fife.

The Guardian newspaper a few years later reported the result of a friendly game between a Scottish League team and Clach (as they are known) but printed their name as Inverness Clerk McCudden.

See here for pictures of the respective home grounds of the above, and other, clubs.

The Death Of Scottish Football? 2

The sheer cheek of it is unbelievable.

First they demanded and got a smaller top division; “to help them in Europe.”
Then they demanded and got to keep receipts for home games instead of the previous split.
Then they demanded and got effective control of their own league.
Then they started scrabbling around to play anywhere but here – England, the “Atlantic League.”
All in the search for more and more money to stuff their own coffers.
(And in Europe they still haven’t bettered their achievements under the old system they wanted rid of in the first place.)

Now they scrap their own reserve league but come up with the suggestion that their reserves should join the SFL Div 3.

They’re not advocating it for our benefit you can be sure, only for theirs.

Why should they even be talked to, still less accommodated? Why should they be granted a place in Div 3 when clubs like Spartans, Cove, Edinburgh City and Preston Athletic desire to get in – and have a better claim on a place? Why scrap your reserve league if you still want to have a reserve team?

In the words of Chewing The Fat, “I smell shite.”

Go away. Just go away. Go to England and see if they’ll have you. Go to Holland. Go To France.
Take your moaning-faced insufferable “fans” with you. See how they’ll like you never winning anything for years on end and not even having a sniff of Europe like the majority of English clubs. See how loyal they’ll be then. (A damned sight less than those inured-to-disappointment fans of SFL clubs, you can be sure.)

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