A Visit to Dunterlie Park

Barrhead isn’t a place that I’d normally have reason to visit, but as I had a rare SPFL free Saturday, Arthurlie v Rob Roy at Dunterlie Park sounded as good as any to head for. As usual, I had the kids in tow. I don’t know why I brought them, as they don’t really enjoy the football unless they stand close to the bench. They go into hysterics when the coaching staff lose the rag and start giving dogs abuse to ref or linesman.

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As we walked round the side of the ground, I could just about make out some of the inside features and it looked quite impressive. We reached the metaphorical turnstile and the bloke collecting the entrance fee looked quite glad to see a couple of youngsters entering the ground. I’ve since found out that that’s quite a common occurrence at junior grounds, and it’s not rocket science to see why. Anyway, it was six quid to get in for me and the kids entered for nowt.

As we entered, I bought myself a pretty decent Arthurlie programme for £1.50, which included some very good content. Three match reports by Robert Burns, a couple of fan interviews and an article on the current state of junior football entitled “Ramblings of a Football Nobody” by TheJuniors.info’s very own Chris Sanderson. The kids were sent off for a pee, whilst I headed in the direction of the pie stall.

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I’d recently attended a few midweek Lowland league matches (more on that to follow) and some of the recently tasted pies have verged on the obscene. So too say that I was pleased when I bit into the Dunterlie Park offering would be putting it mildly. I bought myself a steak pie, a scotch pie and a Bovril for the princely sum of £3.50! The kids won’t touch a pie, so they had a small tuck shop worth of sweets awaiting in my bag.

The steak pie was a 7/10 which is about universal in the steak pie genre, as you’d have to try really hard to make an arse of it. The scotch pie is a completely different matter, it takes some skill to combine some minced meat, seasoning and pastry to make it taste much better than your local corner shop’s own brand dog food. But this pie was a joy compared to what had recently been eaten at football grounds. It was full to the brim with tightly compacted meat, well-seasoned and dry in a nice way that brought pleasure to the taste buds, 7.5! There was an oil slick on the surface of the Bovril. If you’ve seen Das Boot you’ll know what I mean, but it tasted great all the same.

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If we rewind back a few minutes, I still had to make my way across the ground to the covered terracing and the route was mired with potential pitfalls. The terracing at the corner of the ground where the kiosk was situated, was reminiscent of a brutalist concrete interpretation of the Giants Causeway. It had a sort of weird symmetry to its mismatched, uneven and rough nature. But it was going to take all my powers of concentration, and all the hand eye coordination skills perfected whilst playing Operation, to make my way across with the pies and Bovril intact.

I made it to the desired spot with only a minor stumble and all the food and drink arrived safely. The kids opened a gate and went into a grassy enclosure for a carry on, and didn’t cause too much trouble. As I sat and enjoyed Barrhead’s finest culinary fayre, I was quite taken by Dunterlie, it is a real old fashioned Scottish football ground with more than its fair share of character, but unfortunately a dying breed. The crowd slowly made its way into the ground and a decent crowd of around 300ish turned up at around the time of kick off.

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Arthurlie started brightly and didn’t look much like the side sitting second bottom of the league table. They opened the scoring early in the first half when Gavin Rushford headed home a header from a corner kick. Then some a scene from Carry On Football ensued when Paul Finnigan tried to clear the ball from defence but instead trapped and back heeled the ball back toward goal. Lie’s Chris Mackie ran in and rounded the keeper, before being brought to the ground. The referee instantly awarded the penalty kick and sent off Rob Roy keeper Jordan Brown.

Substitute keeper Jon Murdoch pulled on his gloves and raced on to face penalty taker Gary Carroll. With his first touch of the ball, Murdoch guessed correctly and touched the ball onto the right hand upright, before the ball was cleared to safety. At the start of the second half, Arthurlie were awarded their second penalty and this time Chris Mackie made no mistake when he buried into the top right hand corner. Reece Pearson pulled one back for Rob Roy, before Rushford scored his second from a Craig Palmer corner kick. Rob Roy were then awarded a penalty kick that was struck off the cross bar, and both sides had a further player sent off. An eventful game that finished 3-1 for Arthurlie, who’ll be hoping for another few performances like that to propel them up the table and into a more respectable position.

That’s another ground added to my list for this season, that’s twenty one SPFL grounds, seven lowland league and nineteen junior ones so far. Another good day out at the football, the kids entertained themselves without me wasting an evening at casualty and all for £11! My next outing will be in a fortnights time, maybe at the Beith v Kilwinning cup semi final or something a bit closer to home. Wherever it is, I’ll be sure to share with you, bye for now.

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