Author Topic: Caledonia you're calling me  (Read 3973 times)

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JCFC

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Caledonia you're calling me
« on: Sat 19 Jan 2019 09:45 »
From frozen Brighouse past snow patches in Durham, the sustaining hope was that Ainslie Park's artificial pitch would be playable for

Friday 18th January 2019
Football Nation Qualifying Cup (not as grand as it sounds) Quarter Final
The Spartans   3   v   2   Tranent Juniors
David Dickinson (Renfrew); Mark Harris, Nelson Silva.

Tranent is one of a number of clubs that. last Summer defected from the East Region Juniors to join the SFA pyramid, though retaining their nomenclature.

Mr Dickinson was first seen in 2014, when he did well in a lively match at Thorniewood, leading JCFC to suggest that he was a good referee in the making. The powers that be must have been of the same opinion, as he progressed to Category 1D, being awarded the Junior Cup Final, which he again handled effectively, and for this season he was promoted to the full Category 1 list.

Spartans went ahead on 9 minutes, their speedy number 9 outpacing defenders and shrugging off a push to fire home. The lead was short-lived, a smart finish giving Tranent their equaliser. Spartans kept the visiting keeper on his toes, but he responded with three excellent saves. On 32 minutes  defensive slips by Spartans left the visiting striker racing to the ball: the striker won and played it into the empty net. Normal service was resumed with another Tranent save. Mr Dickinson's half would have been impeccable, but for a strange moment when he whistled for a throw-in, when neither the assistant nor JCFC thought the ball had gone out of play.

The only possible blemish in the second period came early on, when the Tranent striker smiled ruefully at a delayed free-kick awarded when he felt that he had gained advantage, but as defenders were closing in on him,  Mr Dickinson's decision was not unreasonable. Spartans failed to take a number of chances and Tranent began trying to delay matters - their number 3's air of injured innocence when Mr Dickinson spoke to him being less than convincing. On 75 minutes, however, the home number 9 equalised with a super finish. The home number 10 received the game's first yellow, before Tranent had a great chance to restore their lead within a month, but headed over. The home side finally got their winner on 90 minutes with a fine sweeping move. Added time brought cautions for the home number 11, for messing about at a throw, and for the Tranent number 9 for something said.

It had been a match which did not test Mr Dickinson too severely and once again the impression was very favourable - not a difficult job for him, but nevertheless one well done, with his lateral movement being particularly strong.

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Microscopist

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Re: Caledonia you're calling me
« Reply #1 on: Sat 19 Jan 2019 15:27 »
.. But if you should become a stranger
you know that it would make me more than sad ..

Don't imagine you were called as far as Beechwood Park?

JCFC

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Re: Caledonia you're calling me
« Reply #2 on: Sat 19 Jan 2019 19:02 »
No, but I did catch the build-up and first half on the box. I thought the BBC was taking a risk interviewing some old Talbot supporters in the bar, but the language was above reproach. "Parliamo Auchinleck" is not dead, however, as the commentator's apology to anyone offended by what they heard during the match proved.
« Last Edit: Sun 20 Jan 2019 09:54 by JCFC »

JCFC

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Re: Caledonia you're calling me
« Reply #3 on: Sat 19 Jan 2019 21:22 »
Instead I remained in Edinburgh for

Saturday 19th January 2019
East of Scotland League Conference A
Leith Athletic   1   v   5   Musselburgh Athletic
Duncan Williams (Denny); Fiona Morton, Richard Macartney.

Leith are a nomadic side and play not in Leith but at the University's Peffermill grounds on the Southern edge of the city.

More defectors from the Juniors, with Musselburgh having a pretty successful time in the EOSFL.

Mr Williams has been on the radar for some time, but had so far escaped the distorting lens. He was promoted last season to Category 1D, so has had some matches in SPFL Division 2. He is dark-haired and clean-shaven, though a little older than imagined. AR2 had grown a respectable beard, but AR1 had not tried hard enough in that area.

After a quiet opening the visitors went ahead on 16 minutes. The home keeper prevented a second midway through the half, but it soon came, an intricate move ending with a firm backheel into the net. A penalty provided the third, number four following all too easily just two minutes later. Just before the break Musselburgh lost possession on the edge of the penalty area and Leith pulled a goal back.

Things had been straightforward enough in the first half, but one of the home managers had things to say to Mr Williams as they walked down the path from the pavilion. The response included "If you would let me speak, I would explain... You keep on interrupting me...See, you're doing it again"

The second half was a mundane affair, though Leith offered a little more, getting the ball into thunderbolt to be denied by Miss Morton's offside flag. There was a yellow card for a comprehensive trip by a Musselburgh defender. On 84 minutes the visitors beat the offside line, the home keeper bravely blocked with the most sensitive part of his anatomy and while he was wishing he hadn't the attacker tucked away his side's fifth.

It was not a match which required a referee of the calibre of Mr Williams, who had a comfortable afternoon  - give or take the late drop in temperature. His decision-making appeared accurate and his general triage sound, not over-reacting to minor offences. The one complaint is that on his Christmas hanky delivery, Santa had bypassed Denny - but few would blame him for that!

Like Dougie MacLean, I know what I will do tomorrow ...but I do not intend to disappear.
« Last Edit: Mon 21 Jan 2019 15:07 by JCFC »
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JCFC

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Re: Caledonia you're calling me
« Reply #4 on: Mon 21 Jan 2019 21:39 »
For the final day of this long-overdue trip, the chance to see Scotland's top referee in action took me to Tynecastle for

Sunday 20th January 2019
Scottish FA Cup 4th Round
Heart of Midlothian   1   v   0   Livingston
William Collum; Graeme Leslie, Drew Kirkwood. 4thers: Colin Steven.

Mr Kirkwood's appearance was able to dispel any suspicion that he might be Stevie Kirkwood's baby brother. The jovial-looking Mr Leslie had obviously been appointed lest Mr Collum should feel sensitive about his slightly thinning hair: it could be a lot worse. Seen on television Mr Collum, while not rivalling Collina for scary features, had always appeared vaguely sinister, but in the stadium distance certainly lent enchantment to the view. Not only in appearance, but in giving a wider picture allowing the excellence of his movement to shine through. He worked hard from side to side, unlike some (though not all) of his English counterparts, who appear to have been advised to remain central throughout. As such, he was always close to the action - on one occasion too close for his own good as he was smacked on the head by the ball.

There were a number of free-kicks for aerial challenges in the opening minutes as Mr Collum set his stall out, but gradually the interruptions became less frequent. Hearts initially looked stronger, without creating much, but for most of the first half it was Livi who looked the more dangerous side. There was one minor tussle on the touchline, Mr Collum having a quick word with the two players, and on 33 minutes a yellow card for a Livi player for taking out the Hearts winger. In the final five minutes of the half Hearts came to life, forcing a save from the Livingston keeper. Another one followed, this time the keeper leapt and got a hand to palm the ball away, only for an attacker to fire it home. Spectators all around jumped to their feet cheering, I noted the details in my book and looked up to find play about to restart with a free-kick for offside, so the half remained scoreless.

Hearts resumed in similar vein and a couple of neat passes and a good shot gave them the lead just two minutes in. The rest of the game was uneventful, with just a throw given when the ball did not appear to have crossed the line to note. The subsequent draw for the next round saw Hearts drawn at home to Auchinleck Talbot, who can probably expect a better pay-day than would have been the case at Livingston. (Does their ground still rejoice in the name Tony Macaroni Arena?)

Hearts fans were not always in full agreement with Mr Collum's decisions, but this neutral thought he was excellent, always well in control and showing first-rate judgement throughout. That might again be the result of a more distant view. Television close-ups might possibly have revealed some metaphorical warts - it would be instructive to know what the commentators' verdict was.

« Last Edit: Mon 21 Jan 2019 21:46 by JCFC »

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Re: Caledonia you're calling me
« Reply #5 on: Sat 06 Apr 2019 11:48 »
On a chilly evening, it was a trip from Ayr to Kilmarnock for

Friday 5th April 2019
Lowland and East of Scotland U20 Development League Challenge  Cup Quarter Final
Bonnyton Thistle  2   v   2   Kelty Hearts
Sean Welsh (Ayr)

It was a slightly incongruous wee guy who walked out to check the nets - smartly attired in tie and blazer, but with hands firmly in pockets and a brisk gait that somehow called silent films to mind. Once in action he resembled the typical referee as drawn by a cartoonist - but with no linesmen at all, he scooted round the pitch at an impressive rate. He was admirably sharp in his decisions, right or wrong.

From the off Kelty looked the stronger side, forcing a succession of corners and being on the receiving end of some crude challenges. It was Bonnyton though who went ahead on 33 minutes, Kelty drawing level six minutes later through a headed own goal. One Bonnyton foul too many led to the first yellow card, shown to the back of a player yards away.

Bonnyton forced a good save early in the second period. It was Kelty's turn for a couple of crude tackles, but Bonnyton picked up three more yellows. It was not until the closing stages that the match came to life. A great run from a home attacker ended with a corner off the keeper's legs, which was followed by an effort just over the bar. On 89 minutes the home number 9 took the ball into the corner of the penalty area. From JCFC's nearby position he looked to be fouled, but Mr Welsh deemed it a dive and issued what turned out to be number 9's second yellow, with the subsequent red. Parliamo Auchinleck lives! There followed an extended tirade of f-words from player to referee. It looked for a moment as if Mr Welsh was about to be assaulted, but the player eventually stalked off, still calling Mr Welsh every name under the sun -excepting any nice ones. A minute later a mix-up in the Kelty defence saw Bonnyton take the lead, and great was the rejoicing - until Kelty struck an equaliser in added time.

With young legs on the pitch already suffering from cramp and a certain scribe's old bones on the sideline suffering from the snell wind, JCFC hoped that it would be straight to penalties as now happens South of the border. A home official approached Mr Welsh, looking at his watch. The first period of extra time saw Bonnyton have the better chances, Kelty picking up their first yellow for dissent. Their second came three minutes into the second period, Mr Welsh deciding that a forward had taken a dive. At which point time ran out, off went the lights, three blasts indicated an abandonment and everybody trooped out, encouraged  by the man who wanted to lock the gate. What happens next? Who knows?

In the end Mr Welsh's manner was perhaps just a little too busy, but all credit to anyone prepared to turn out on a Friday night and plough a lonely furrow for doubtless scant reward.
« Last Edit: Sat 06 Apr 2019 16:38 by JCFC »
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JCFC

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Re: Caledonia you're calling me
« Reply #6 on: Sat 06 Apr 2019 21:48 »
Saturday 6th April 2019
SJFA West Premiership
Troon   1   v   0   Cumnock Juniors
Chris Gentles (Glasgow); Gary MacLean, Jonathan Rose.

When Mr Gentles followed his assistants out to warm up, it was apparent that his officiating must be of a decent standard, as his appearance would not otherwise inspire great confidence. He and Mr Rose, however, did gain Brownie points for real long sleeves. As it turned out he kept a tight grip on the game. He was called into action on 2 minutes, when a Cumnock attacker was clipped as he surged towards the penalty area. "I never touched him," claimed the Troon number 4, which might explain why the yellow card was shown, it seemed, to number 6. The Cumnock number 5 followed him into the book on 16 minutes. On 26 minutes Troon netted, but Mr MacLean was flagging for offside.The best chance of the half fell to the Cumnock number 9, but the keeper's legs cleared the danger. With no injuries and just one rapid ball replacement, it was odd that five and a half minutes were added: Mr MacLean clearly thought so as he eventually called Mr Gentles for a word. It proved time enough for a caution for the Troon number 5.

Cumnock created a couple of chances in the third quarter, but missed both, first lifting the ball over the keeper but also over the bar, then putting a header wide. Their number 6 went into the book.on 64 minutes. Troon had not muffed any chances, by virtue of not having created any, but on 73 minutes a superb 25 yard shot came out of the blue to give Troon the lead. Three minutes later a bad foul took out a Troon player. The challenge was high, but across rather than into the victim. A yellow might have sufficed, but Mr Gentles, well placed as ever, instantly produced his red card. Cumnock still pressed for an equaliser, but to no avail. Despite substitutions and injuries, the time added was less than in the first half, the major event being an extended lecture for an occupant of the Cumnock technical area.

Mr Gentles moved rapidly if less than elegantly and kept on top of proceedings pretty well enough. It was a little disconcerting to see him award a free-kick for a foul, turn his back and trot away while the players were still entangled, but fortunately nothing untoward ensued.

It was surprising - well maybe not very - to find the good citizens of the well to do seaside town of Troon, to be well-versed in Parliamo Auchinleck. The trampoline stealers of Cumnock might have been expected to be fluent in the language of their near neighbours, but seemed more restrained. That may, however, owe something to the fact that they were on the opposite side of the field toJCFC.
« Last Edit: Sat 06 Apr 2019 22:10 by JCFC »

JCFC

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Re: Caledonia you're calling me
« Reply #7 on: Mon 08 Apr 2019 06:27 »
Next to Cumnock.for

Sunday 7th April 2019
SPFL Reserve League 2
Ayr United Reserves   8   v   0. Berwick Rangers Reserves
Calum Scott; Colin McAlpine, Ross Menzies.

The visiting keeper had to make two saves in the first three minutes, but was beaten after 9. A brilliant second on the quarter hour effectively removed any uncertainty as to the eventual outcome. Three further Ayr goals followed in the next fifteen minutes. At this point Berwick not only won a corner, but forced the keeper into a save. Thus encouraged they reached half time without conceding further.

The visitors actually had a good spell after the break, but a decent succession of passes allowed Ayr to add number six on 58 minutes.Berwick had a shooting chance from a central position - and put the ball out for a throw in. A similar miscue at the other end left the keeper unable to stop the ball spinning into the net for Ayr's seventh. Number eight came late on, with Mr Scott calling advantage, or more precisely "Play, play."

Mr Scott is a competent Category 2 referee and had no difficulty in a very straightforward game. There were a couple of second-half cautions for Berwick players, the first, after an advantage, being immediately acknowledged by the offender.

So back to the bus station, for the trip back to Ayr, where a fish supper cost just a bargain 3.

Microscopist

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Re: Caledonia you're calling me
« Reply #8 on: Mon 08 Apr 2019 11:44 »
Quote
So back to the bus station, for the trip back to Ayr,
I'm guessing that you took the slightly more picturesque 343 route, I'm sure John Betjemen could have waxed lyrical over the place names en route.  It's difficult to wax lyrical about Ayr town centre - even the once illustrious Station Hotel now looks like a giant tent.
« Last Edit: Mon 08 Apr 2019 16:36 by Microscopist »

JCFC

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Re: Caledonia you're calling me
« Reply #9 on: Mon 08 Apr 2019 19:56 »
No, just the 42 via Coylton, Drongan and Ochiltree.

I gather that the Station Hotel was the dangerous building that limited services earlier and is still  necessitating an alternative entrance to the platforms. I had feared, though it would have been the wrong side of the station, that it might have been the ancestral Towers at 25 Gordon Terrace, which was noted for its sloping floors and shaking whenever a train passed.

Monday, meanwhile, offered a choice of two reserve team fixtures. Matthew MacDermid on Motherwell v Aberdeen at Airdrie was tempting, but the alternative was chosen - Morton v Partick at Cappielow, with Ross Hardie. On finally getting into the ground, I discovered that the game had been switched to Parklea with a 13.00 kick-off.. The players had actually been the ones seen warming up as the train passed. As one famous Greenock person was won't to say "I don't BELIEVE it."
« Last Edit: Tue 09 Apr 2019 04:45 by JCFC »

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Re: Caledonia you're calling me
« Reply #10 on: Tue 09 Apr 2019 10:18 »
Although my trip to Cappielow proved fruitless, I should be grateful that I was more fortunate than Gerry Ferrara, the author of a book mentioned by Microscopist some years ago, since his experience of Cappielow ended with an undeserved visit to the police cells.

Microscopist

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Re: Caledonia you're calling me
« Reply #11 on: Tue 09 Apr 2019 10:55 »
Well I'm pleased about that.  Gerry wrote a second book following Ayr United for a year, if I recall correctly, but it didn't really interest me as much as his first book.

As an afterthought I hold ratetheref partly responsible for the demise of Ayr centre.  In the olden days - when the much missed Crispy was very active - ratetheref contributors used to gather en masse to referee a spring youth football competition in Ayr.  Since they stopped coming I think the town has just lost heart.  .
« Last Edit: Tue 09 Apr 2019 11:39 by Microscopist »
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Re: Caledonia you're calling me
« Reply #12 on: Wed 10 Apr 2019 09:08 »
Plans for the final day of this latest Scottish trip had changed over the weeks: Dunfermline's Reserve team match at Kelty was moved to Wednesday, the next idea being a Lowland League match at Forthbank. There then appeared a more accessible alternative in the form of

Tuesday 9th April 2019
East of Scotland League Cup 1st Round
Newtongrange Star   2   v.  2.  Bo'ness United
Craig Wilson (Denny?); David Dickson, Niamh Westwood.

An odd time for the first round - it was the knockout stage after a qualifying group phase in August.

Mr Wilson sported a beard that was better than scruffy, but fell just short of impressive. Mr Dickson had bowed to the inevitable and shaved his head. Miss Westwood had hair aplenty, her overall look possibly owing more to Lee than to Vivienne.

On 7 minutes a Nitten shot gave the Bo'ness keeper a comfortable catch. He released his attackers and from thirty yards the ball was lifted over the goalkeeper and into the net to give the visitors the lead. Nitten were soon penalised for a dive and Bo'ness added a second on 17 minutes as home fans grew restive. A penalty for Nitten was not disputed and brought the score to 1-2. On 40 minutes a Nitten defender under pressure could only make a prod at the ball and the keeper had to handle it to prevent a goal. Mr Wilson waited a second and blew for a back pass. It was a brave decision (spot the euphemism!) and he was promptly harried by a large Nitten posse, with a yellow being shown eventually. A good charge by the keeper blocked the shot and the danger passed.

Nitten looked a different side in the second half as they launched attack after attack. The Bo'ness keeper failed to catch one effort, but the ball looped over the bar. A minute later a defender recovered just in time to prevent an own goal, but on 58 minutes Nitten got a deserved equaliser. The visiting keeper was kept busy, but the best save was a point blank block by the home goalie, who was left feeling rather sorry for himself as a defender effected a second block. Nitten continued to press, while Bo'ness netted from an offside position.

Once again there was extra time,  with a Bo'ness header tipped over the bar in the first half, and a flag from Mr Dickson late on that led to a speech to the technical areas, but  no further score. The game, then, went to penalties, JCFC to the bus stop. Twitter tells us that Bo'ness came out on top, 8-7, and will visit Tranent in the quarter final...

Mr Wilson has a strong whistle,moves well and is confident in his manner. His decisions did not always find unanimous favour as he let one or two things pass, but he showed that he has a strongly independent mind. JCFC made it six yellows, four to Nitten and two to Bo'ness. Overall a decent enough performance in a strongly contested game.
« Last Edit: Wed 10 Apr 2019 09:11 by JCFC »

nemesis

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Re: Caledonia you're calling me
« Reply #13 on: Wed 10 Apr 2019 09:27 »
Plans for the final day of this latest Scottish trip had changed over the weeks: Dunfermline's Reserve team match at Kelty was moved to Wednesday, the next idea being a Lowland League match at Forthbank. There then appeared a more accessible alternative in the form of

Tuesday 9th April 2019
East of Scotland League Cup 1st Round
Newtongrange Star   2   v.  2.  Bo'ness United
Craig Wilson (Denny?); David Dickson, Niamh Westwood.



Wow,  Newtongrange Star is the only Scottish non-league ground I've been to. Have they still got the picture of ex-player Dave Mackay up in the clubhouse ?

JCFC

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Re: Caledonia you're calling me
« Reply #14 on: Wed 10 Apr 2019 11:38 »
You will probably therefore have a higher opinion of such grounds than they deserve. Newtongrange has one of the best I have been to there - far better than many of the crumbling ruins in the West.

I  cannot answer the Dave  Mackay question, having bypassed the clubhouse and headed straight up the steps to the pitch.
« Last Edit: Wed 10 Apr 2019 11:42 by JCFC »