Nae paper, pal!
So my hopping season finally reached its conclusion today with another trip north of the border to Scotland, where the season began way back in July.

Today's visit north was again thanks to the kind offer of a lift. Long journey's seem so much better when it's not you behind the wheel. Anyhow, Keirs Park was the destination today for Hill of Beath's East Region Super League clash with Musselburgh Athletic.

Hill of Beath Hawthorn are a club based in Fife, just a mile down the road from Cowdenbeath. They were founded in 1975 and have enjoyed plenty of success since, their finest hour being in 1990 when they lifted the Scottish Junior Cup for the first (and so far only) time.

At the start of play The Haws were in second place behind Bonnyrigg Rose and had an outside chance of winning the Championship, provided The Rose lost at lowly Carnoustie Panmure and The Haws took care of business their end.

Having been runners-up in 2011 it was a case of "always the bridesmaid" once again as the title eluded them. With Bonnyrigg winning 1-0 at Laing Park, it was academic what The Haws did here today but they did themselves no favours whatsoever. With three points also vital to Musselburgh in order to avoid relegation (and send Bathgate down) the visitors were effectively handed the points within the opening 12 minutes.

After 3 minutes Hill of Beath were awarded a penalty but Alisdair Adams in the Musselburgh goal saved Darren Wright's effort (pictured right). After 5 minutes The Haws were down to 10 men when Barry Smith was red carded for violent conduct.

After 10 minutes Musselburgh's Michael McKenna made a darting run into the box where he was tripped by Stewart Haddow just as he was about to shoot and, as Haddow was the last man, he was shown a straight red card. Matt King scored the resultant penalty (pictured left) so after 12 minutes Hill of Beath were 1 goal and 2 men down.

A well known Scottish hopper, who I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with, did say just before kick off that this game would not finish with all 22 men on the pitch but to see 2 red cards so early in a game was, frankly, ridiculous.

The game settled down after this early burst of incidents and despite their numerical disadvantage, The Haws actually played the better football. However, as you would expect Athletic were always threatening on the break. Despite outnumbering their opponents whenever they broke at no stage did you ever feel convinced Musselburgh were going to add to their one goal, largely due to some woeful finishing and the absolutely inspired performance of Stuart Hall in the Haws' goal. You could say his display was knockout! Sorry.

It was only as Hill of Beath Hawthorn began to tire in the heat, as they became more desperate in their search for an equaliser, that Musselburgh were able to finally kill them off.

After 79 minutes Matt King scored his second of the game when he ran through to slot home and then on 83 minutes Chris Gordon finally poked the ball home after two initial shots were saved.

Musselburgh were then able to celebrate their successful fight to stave off relegation whilst Hill of Beath Hawthorn would probably be once again ruing another missed opportunity.

Keirs Park is a tidy set up with terracing all around the ground. There are covered enclosures on each side of the pitch. There is no social club at the ground but you were allowed out to the nearby miners welfare club should you require a pint.

Having visited the GBG listed Four Mary's in Linlithgow pre-match, where as luck would have there was a beer festival on the go, my real ale needs were already satisfied!!

Another Scottish ground that was worth the long journey to visit.

I only started this blog in earnest this season and I've been taken aback by how many 'hits' it has had, and in how many countries. May I take this opportunity to thank everyone who has taken the time to have a look. I really do hope you enjoyed what you seen. Have a great summer and I will see you all soon when we can start the ball rolling once again!




Saturday 26th May 2012
East Region Super League
Hill of Beath Hawthorn 0
Musselburgh Athletic 3
Attendance: 250 (est)

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