GAME OF THE WEEK
Montrose 1 Queen of the South 3 aet (1-1 after 90 minutes)
IRN-BRU Cup Round 3
Since the news filtered through in the Bobbins household that my much better half (think …..) was off to London for the weekend with her mother I was on my laptop planning and plotting. First thoughts were ‘bugger it is international weekend’, before I noticed it was IRN-BRU cup weekend. Where could I get to that was different for me. Only one stood out. Montrose v Queen of the South.
Everything booked, I was to Angus.
In My I went to Dundee United, the train journey to Tayside is a beautiful journey, the added part is every bit as spectacular. I also now need to get to Arbroath, looks an amazing ground. Alighting with amazing views over Montrose Basin, I made my way to The Little Mermaid chippy for an excellent lunch of fish and chips.
Off to Links Park, the home of the Gable Endies and a ground that is close to the 5th oldest golf course in the world, see educational as well as entertainment! Entry is behind the goal to the west. Opposite and to the North is the open standing area, a Main Stand to the south is a modern covered seating structure, my favourite part of the ground is the West Stand. terracing under cover with a great little extra bit in the corner.
One thing I love about this competition, the sides come out, none of that phoney handshake malarkey and we kick-off. No messing about, game underway. Get on with it. Brilliant.
Once underway it was difficult to spot which side was a couple of divisions above the other, which is all credit to Montrose. They turned up and gave it everything. Missing a golden chance early on when McLaren could not turn a rebound home, they continued to have a go, meanwhile the Doonhamers started to gain a foothold with Dobbie of Swansea City and Blackpool fame causing trouble.
Midway through the half the hosts took the lead, Masson scoring with a low effort from just inside the box. As the visitors gained more of a foothold, Fleming was called into making a point blank save and was saved by his crossbar not long before the half ended.
Due to an injury Dykes came on for Queen of the South at the restart, his performance raised the question as to why he hadn’t started. Lively, causing the opposition trouble and testing Fleming. The pressure was being cranked up and up as the half went on. The home fans getting nervy especially as McFadden, who would 24 hours later be a pundit in the Sky Sports studio for the Scotland match, came on and added even more class.
With the clock ticking towards 89 minutes the pressure told as the ball sat up nicely for Dobbie, his finish showed he had not lost his touch, great finish from 20 yards, Fleming had no chance.
So, an extra 30 minutes. There are times when you are happy with this, times when you are not. This was certainly the former.
Both sides went close in the first 15 minutes, the woodwork saving the visitors, the keeper denying them. The second period of extra-time belonged to Queen of the South as experience and fitness told. Dykes latched on to a through ball rounded the impressive Fleming and finished, before right at the death Dobbie got his second from a seemingly impossible angle. 3-1 the final score. Harsh on Montrose that.
Back to the train station and back to Glasgow. Could do with some of that girder strength they have in IRN-BRU to get me through the journey, or I could just have a kip. I picked the zzzzz’s.
I have started to take the father-in-law on a tour of some of the best (and worst) grounds locally and after waxing lyrical about Winsford United’s home the plan was made to visit when Runcorn Town were the opponents on Monday night.
In all my years of being at football, many of them as a fan, but now some 400+ games as a neutral I have never seen such an awful refereeing performance. His assistant on the main stand side was not much better. To say they favoured the league leaders would be an under statement. They got the vast majority of decisions, were let off with numerous indiscretions, the main culprit being Joseph Holt. He could have been booked 8 times that I can remember, his skipper was not too far behind, neither shown a single caution, in fact I cannot think of a team-mate getting one either. Very disappointing behaviour, shocking officiating. Oh yes, they won 4-2.
Wednesday it was up a few levels to the National League and a second trip to Prenton Park and Tranmere Rovers v Leyton Orient. As Football League clubs continue to drift down slowly, games like this become more of a norm in non-league.
Raining all evening, it was the O’s who took the lead through Harrold midway through the opening 45, only for Cook to equalise minutes later sliding home a loose ball into an unguarded net. Following the half-time break the game was pretty much all one way, and with 20 minutes left it was no surprise when Rovers took the lead, Norwood nodding home from close range. 3 points to Tranmere, myself and Mr Wilks back up the M56.
So. On to Scotland. Friday off work. Early train north despite Northern Rail’s best efforts to stop me getting to Warrington, Virgin rounded off a miserable trip with very poor service on the train. Never mind, I was in Glasgow, in my hotel and soon looking to head west for Dumbarton.
Train from Queen Street took little time in getting to Dumbarton East and the ground is little more than a 5 minutes walk from there. If in doubt head for the bloody big hill. It’s right next to that. My 201st ground and a little bit of weird one. In the shadow of Dumbarton Rock with the castle on top you feel it should be a great setting. Sadly the one and only stand faces away from the view. Three sides just have a fence around them, you feel as though the club have missed a trick with the design and layout.
Stranraer came to have a go at their hosts, but it was the Sons game from the off really, after a couple of close shaves for the visitors, Barr did well to control a ball in the area and finish from close range. An injury to the hosts keeper led to a substitution on the half hour and the lead was preserved with ease to the break.
Stranraer gave it a good go after the break but they were missing that clear cut chance, with 25 minutes left Stewart powered in a header for Dumbarton’s second and the tie was over. Or was it? Still Stranraer came forward, chances started to come more often but they couldn’t take them. That was until with virtually the last kick off the match when substitute Okoh fired in from inside a crowded box.
I headed back off into the drizzling night air and my return to Glasgow City Centre.
Mon: Winsford United 2 Runcorn Town 4
Wed: Tranmere Rovers 2 Leyton Orient 1
Fri: Dumbarton 2 Stranraer 0
Sat: Montrose 1 Queen of the South 3 (aet)
Games since a 0-0: 37
Milestone: 100th goal of the season – Dykes (Queen of the South)
Connected – Stereo MCs