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McDiarmid Park, Perth

McDiarmid Park is the home of St Johnstone FC, and was the scene of the Challenge Cup* Final, 24/3/18.

My posts on the final are here, here and here.

Ormond Stand from access road:-

Ormond Stand, McDiarmid Park, Perth

Ormond and Main Stands:-

Ormond and Main Stands, McDiarmid Park

Main Stand (stitch of two photos):-

Main Stand, McDiarmid Park, Perth

View of North Stand:-

View of North Stand, McDiarmid Park, Perth

North Stand from Main Stand:-

North Stand from Main Stand, McDiarmid Park, Perth

East Stand:-

East Stand, McDiarmid Park, Perth

Ormond Stand from Main Stand:-

Ormond Stand from Main Stand, McDiarmid Park, Perth

*Irn Bru Cup

Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry

Home of The New Saints of Oswestry Town & Llansantffraid Football Club aka The New Saints or TNS, once known as Total Network Solutions.

Scene of the most recent historical achievement of Dumbarton FC, the mighty Sons of the Rock.

Since The New Saints play in the Welsh Premier League this also counts as a Welsh Football ground.

The ground is more or less in the middle of nowhere, across the main road which by-passes the town of Oswestry and up a narrow unlit road. And it doesn’t have much in the way of dedicated parking spaces.

Entrance Gates:-

Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry

From southwest. The structure on this side is a TV camera platform.

Park Hall Stadium from Southwest.

Main Stand from southwest. The word stand isn’t really appropriate. The brick structure is more like a social club with a small balcony fronting onto the pitch. It doesn’t seem to have seats. The covered area to the left here does, though:-

Main Stand from Southwest, Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry

Main stand and north terracing/stand from southwest:-

Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry

Stadium from main stand, showing TV platform:-

Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry from Main Stand

Pitch and TV platform from northeast:-

Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry, from northeast.

Pitch and East terracing from northeast:-

Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry, Pitch and East terracing

North Terracing/Stand:-

Park Hall Stadium Main Stand

Camera platform from north:-

Camer Platform, Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry

Main stand and covered terracing from north terracing:-

Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry

Teams Shake Hands, Irn Bru Cup Semi-final, Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry, Feb 2018:-

Teams Shake Hands, Irn Bru Cup Semi-final, Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry, Feb 2018

Challenge Cup Comes Round Again

June 26th and the draw for the new season’s Challenge Cup (Irn Bru Cup) has been made.

It almost seems like yesterday we travelled to McDiarmid Park for last season’s final.

I doubt we’ll be making a similar trip this season since it looks like our usual performance in this competition (a first round knockout) is on the cards again.

We’ve got Morton at home: a team against whom our record is miserable.

Dumbarton 0-1 Inverness C T

Scottish Challenge Cup (Irn Bru Cup) Final, McDiarmid Park, 24/3/18.

I’m a bit deflated at the moment as I’m sure you can imagine. Football can be such a cruel game.

I made the fatal mistake of beginning to hope when Scott Gallacher made the penalty save with about seven minutes to go. But to lose it in the last gasp of injury time was harsh; especially on the players who’d worked so hard.

We had the better of the early exchanges, ranking up several corners (I can’t remember them getting even one in the whole game) and having a shot on target without really troubling the keeper. More worryingly they came into it towards half-time by which time the on target count had become 2-2.

They had more of the second half and did make Scott Gallacher handle the ball a few times. The nearest we came was with a Danny Handling shot which the keeper held. I noticed today that Handling has a terrible habit of turning back with the ball. Who was it back in the day who did that all the time. Paul Quinn? Robert Russell? Not Russell I think, much further back than him.

After his debut for Cyprus yesterday (the Sons’ first full international player since 1932) Froxy came on as a late sub but it was too late for him to affect the game much. The only free-kick he could attempt was from way too far out even for him.

Here’s a photo of my match ticket:-

Irn Bru Cup Final Ticket

Before entering the stand I took a few photos of the ground as it’s the first time I’ve been there. Through a frosted glass window I caught Sons’ manager Stevie Aitken in the dressing room probably trying to get a signal on his phone:-

Stevie Aitken

I’m proud of the lads, they did well. But I’m gutted – for them and for me.

They’ll need to raise themselves for Tuesday night’s game now. At least most of the players who were unavailable for today should be in the squad.

This cup run has probably ruined our league season what with all the postponements. We don’t have a midweek free now until the last week of the season.

But when will be the next time Sons are in a national Cup Final?

Buzzing

Today’s the day!

Cup Final day.

Cup Final Programme cover

I’ve been okay during the week but began to get nervous last night.

‘Mon the Sons!

The Road to the Final

From Sons TV’s You Tube channel, a compilation video of the games in this year’s Challenge Cup.

Tickets!

Tickets are now available for the Challenge (Irn Bru) Cup Final.

In That Number

Some have even been purchased!

Diddy Team Dreams, of Diddy Cups

In celebration of the mighty Sons’ forthcoming appearance in the Challenge Cup final (oh, all right then; the Irn Bru Cup final) this is a poem by Dumbarton FC’s poet in residence Stephen Watt.

The accompanying video has some goood views of Dumbarton Rock, the town and the stadium plus footage from the semi-final win down in Oswestry.

The words as posted on the club’s website are here.

I’ll Be in That Number

When the Sons go up…. I’ll be there.

(Even though tickets are not yet available at time of posting.)

In That Number

The New Saints 1-2 Dumbarton

Scottish Challenge Cup*, Semi-final, Park Hall Stadium, 17/2/18

I was at Oswestry!

This is a boast that may be overtaken in a month or so’s time. Or not as the case may be.

Whatever, I was there when the mighty Sons played their first national cup semi-final in 44 years and reached their first national final for 106 years. It’s historic stuff.

Mind you I couldn’t see us achieving that heady goal at any time during the first half. We started poorly and allowed them to play from the outset. They were neat and tidy, passed the ball well, hit the bar with their first attack and continued to look threatening without managing to test Scott Gallacher in goal. I don’t know what the first half possession stats were but we didn’t have much of it that’s for sure. We barely crossed the halfway line and when we did failed to muster any sort of threat on their goal.

I thought it was all over when they scored early on in the second half. Their winger got past stop-gap left back David Smith (a midfielder turned into a makeshift right-back last season) and put in a low cross which from where I was sitting Scottt Gallacher seemed to spill and it fell to the scorer.

The game changed after around the hour mark when Calum Gallagher and Iain Russell were replaced by Mark Stewart and Liam Burt and we started to play.

Still the equaliser was a surprise as we had looked toothless even when we got the ball in their area. It was beautifully worked though with Kyle Hutton winning the ball in midfield before strolling forward and feeding Danny Handling who made space for himself and fairly thumped it past the keeper.

In a hairy moment Scott Gallacher made a one-handed stop for a header after a corner just before the ref whistled for an infringement.

Then. Froxy.

He replaced scorer Danny Handling and slotted into right midfield. I’d watched him at the half-time kick-about and he didn’t look fit to me, but sometimes he doesn’t have to be fit.

It was a free kick given for a foul against Christian Nade (his legs have gone; I don’t know how he lasted the full 94 minutes) – the first he’d got all game despite their centre half being all over him at times. I thought it was too central but Froxy is Froxy, that left foot is something else. Bang. Top left corner. Cue delirium.

It felt like very late on but there were still about ten minutes to get through before the final whistle and I nearly had heart failure when Scott Gallacher had to juggle a shot that must have swerved in the air.

Considering that due to injuries we also had to play a centre half at right back and our midfield wasn’t at its strongest this was an amazing result.

We had only two shots on target in the whole game but they both hit the back of the net. That’s football.

Here’s a video of the scenes after the final whistle. Click on the picture to get to video:-

Sons' Victory Celebrations At Park Hall Stadium Oswestry

*Irn Bru Cup

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