Saturday September 22nd 2012, Scottish Division Three at ‘Galabank’, KO 15:00.
Annan Athletic (Amber/Black) 2-1 Peterhead (Blue/White), admission £10, programme (poor) £1.50, 2 teas and 1 scotch pie £3.50, badge £3, team lines (a teamsheet), 10p.
After an enjoyable weeks holiday in a log cabin chalet by the Solway firth on Carse Bay near Kirkbean, it was time to leave for home firstly via a two-hour stop at the extremely picturesque Caerlaverock Castle and then onto Annan.
Annan last week hosted Rangers and staged their biggest ever game in front of 2,517 at a sold out Galabank, this week, it was back to the usual 4-500 turnout, although the poor programme didn’t give attendances for any matches played this season in the results grid.
Ten pounds gives you access to either the newly built uncovered terracing in the home end, or the stand to the left of this. We took up residence in the shade at the back at the stand. The away end was not open, and the small gathering of Peterhead fans happily mingled in the home stand.
I’ve seen plenty of Scots div three games over the years, and this was one the better ones I’ve seen. After just two minutes Annan’s No 7 Graeme Ramage drilled in a nice fifteen yard shot into the bottom corner to put them ahead against second placed Peterhead. Both teams played at a very good tempo for the first half hour, with Annan in particular looking very comfortable on their recently installed 3G pitch. Veteran Martin Bavidge led the line for Peterhead, but he and the rest of the head boys could not break down a very resilient Annan back line, with Steven Swinglehurst (what a name eh?) looking a very good centre back. 1-0 HT.
At half time, one of the great cultural duties of watching a game in Scotland needed to be performed. That is, the purchase and consumption of the wonderful ‘scotch pie’. These are not seen at English grounds, and in my book are a necessary requirement of ticking a Scottish ground 🙂
For those of you who don’t know. They are a small hard crusted pie with a peppered minced meat filling. But honesty, if I watched Scottish football every week, I’m not sure my heart could take such a calorie blast, but on the occasional visit across the border they should be tried, they certainly warm the cockles on a cold day. Ros, no lover of anything with spice or pepper could not be tempted by this great culinary treat!
The second half started with Peterhead pressing, and the Annan keeper Mitchell fumbled a couple, give him the benefit maybe due to sun glare at his end of the ground. Then in the 58th minute Peterhead keeper McCallum also fumbled an easy ball low down, which fell nicely to Annan striker Daly to stroke in from 5 yards for an easy goal, 2-0, perhaps against the run of play.
The game ebbed and flowed, although generally Peterhead had more possession, they found it difficult to create clear-cut chances. Eventually after 84 mins Bavidge turned a central defender on the edge of the area, and then struck a lovely left foot daisy cutter into the bottom corner. 2-1.
Some late pressure and a few chances from both sides, but the score line remained the same, which had been a very enjoyable game, mild temperature and sun throughout as well, rare for Scotland! Home by ten thirty, after a long drive, roads clear this time, unlike the M6 chaos experienced the week before.
Watching football at Galabank was a peaceful affair, the locals seemed very laid back and friendly, and reflected those we had met on our weeks holiday in Dumfries and Galloway.
My previous experiences of watching Scottish matches has highlighted the fact that the fans can get very animated indeed, and it’s not uncommon for opposition players and officials to get dogs abuse from those in the stands. We got none of this here, which was quite refreshing.
Just 3 grounds/clubs required now to complete the Scottish league, Stranraer, Hamilton Accies and East Stirling at Stenhousemuir.