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Experiencing Junior Football

Date: 23rd September 2019

Over the past two weekends, I’ve managed to catch two games of Junior Football in Glasgow. 

I was at Lochburn on the 14th to film Maryhill FC for Club Development Scotland. Everyone at club was extremely welcoming, especially committee member Jeff Holmes

A lot of the home support were coming over to me to ask what I was doing and they were delighted to hear that I was covering their story. 

It isn’t flippant to say that they were almost out of business in the summer but thankfully with the help of social media and a new source of volunteers the club are now on a much stronger footing. 

I lover going to Junior games. The fans are deeply loyal and they’re very passionate. The clubs also seem much more identifiable with their local communities. 

Maryhill club legend Paddy Turner pops up at pretty much every home game with his two Great Danes and they enjoy the game from behind the goals. 

If you like to ground hop then I think Lochburn offers a very nice setting. You can wonder around the ground as the game progresses. The enclosed stand has a shallow roof but it actually does well in framing the pitch. Scottish football food connoisseurs can also taste the now famous Breakfast Pie. 

The game between Maryhill FC and East Kilbride Thistle finished 2-2.

It was actually a very good watch. Bottom side Thistle were in search for their first league win of the season and they were the brighter team on the most part. They took a two goal lead heading into the last fight minutes. 

That deficit seemed to kickstart Maryhill as they started pushing forward more and more. They were rewarded with two lovely overhead kicks to even the score and they nearly went on to actually steal all three points. 

It was a game full of passion, crunching tackles and two sides not scared of playing with the ball on the deck. 

You can see the Maryhill FC video below.  

Then last Saturday I visited Newlandsfield Park for the first time this term, to see West Region Premiership league leaders Pollok take on Clydebank

It was a glorious day and definitely a day to watch football in Glasgow’s Southside. 

Again I love taking a wander around the ground to gain viewpoints from different vantages. 

Once again it was the away team that seemed the better for the majority of proceedings but Pollok won’t be overly bothered by that as they took the all important victory. Although I should note that The Bankies won on the strip front, their kit was very impressive! 

The opening goal brought a bit of heated debate from the terraces. The Clydebank keeper was adjudged to have brought down the oncoming Pollok forward. A Bankies supporter was in no doubt that it was a refereeing error and he let the officiating know with very fruity language. He was then in turn confronted by an 83 year old Loks fan and the two got into a heated and petty argument. I was right behind the goal for this one and I’ve got to say it looked a certain penalty. Chris Dallas made no mistake and made in 1-0 to the home side before half-time. 

In the second half, Clydebank again seemed to dictate the tempo. They were rewarded when they scored on the hour mark. Cammy McClair struck a well placed low drive to beat Loks keeper Josh Lumsden

The Pollok keeper ended the game with the man of the match award and that shows you that Clydebank were on the front foot for much of the afternoon. Lumsden produced a fantastic save in the second half that any top keeper would’ve been proud of. A Bankies shot seemed destined to hit the top right corner but somehow Josh managed to get up to it and claw it away from it’s destiny and then also manage to turn away from the follow up. 

Pollok were then awarded another penalty and this didn’t seem as clearcut as the first but there was some pulling in the box. Dallas once again stepped up and dispatched the spot kick. 

It wasn’t the most inspiring of victories from the home side but it’s those type of wins that can get you a league title come the end of the season. 

Both sides gave it everything and it was well worth the £6 admission fee. 

People rightly complain about the prices of the professional game. You can fork out a small fortune to see a game and then sit in an uncomfy plastic seat and get a stale pie as you watch a dull 0-0 affair. 

At the Juniors the price is fantastic, the supporters are great, you’ve got volunteers giving their all, the food stalls are busy and you’ve usually got a short walk outside the ground to the social club/pub for a full-time pint or two. 

The football has always been of a good standard too. I’d urge supporters of bigger clubs to checkout their nearest Junior team, if they can’t make it to their own team’s game! 

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