Saturday, 24 April 2010

Bayview Stadium (East Fife v Stenhousemuir)

Today I took the X26 Stagecoach bus from Glasgow Buchanan Bus Station to Leven Bus Station to see the Second Division clash between relegation candidates East Fife and Stenhousemuir. East Fife's ground is Bayview Stadium in Methil. The stadium is only a ten-minute walk from the bus station in neighbouring Leven. I took the bus (£11 for a return ticket) as the nearest train station is eight miles away in Kirkcaldy.

The ground opened in 1998 and has a capacity of 2,000. There is only one stand and it all looks very similar to Dumbarton's Strathclyde Homes Stadium with a similar capacity. Bayview is situated next to the now decommissioned Methil power station, which is awaiting demolition. There is a comfortable social club inside the ground where I enjoyed a pre-match pint.

The game was entertaining even though it was not until the 54th minute that Andrew Cook opened the score for East Fife. The Fifers had plenty of chances to make sure the three points stayed in the Kingdom however they were very wasteful. Unfortunately my last bus back to Glasgow was scheduled to depart the bus station at 4:50pm so I left after 83 minutes. On my way to Leven I heard cheers and assumed East Fife had increased their lead to 2-0 but it was Paul Quinn who equalised for Stennie. This meant the Fifers are still not safe and losing to Arbroath (who surprisingly won 2-0 at Dumbarton today...) next week could result in relegation play-offs. The Warriors must beat Peterhead at home next week to ensure they will be playing in the third tier next season. Luckily I did not leave early for nothing, my bus left Leven on time and I arrived back in Glasgow at around 7pm.

Approaching Bayview Stadium.

The single stand seen from outside the ground.

The stand before kick-off.

The scenic view from the stand: Methil power station.

Not as close to the North Sea as Gayfield Park but still very close to the water.

This boy watched the entire game from a tree.

Celebrations after Andrew Cook opened the score for East Fife.

Saturday 24th April 2010
Scottish Football League Second Division
East Fife 1 Stenhousemuir 1
East Fife: Cook 54.
Stenhousemuir: Quinn 87.
Att: 678

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Hampden Park (Queen's Park v Albion Rovers)

Last night I took a train to Mount Florida to see Queen's Park take on Albion Rovers. Although I had been to Hampden many times before I had never visited it to see a home game of the Spiders. Queen's Park, founded in 1867, are the oldest football club in Scotland and are the only amateur team in the Scottish Football League. The National Stadium is their home ground but they usually fill only about one per cent of the stadium's capacity.

This was supposed to be my second game of three in five days, the first one being the Manchester derby last Saturday. Unfortunately however, AZ were unable to fly from the Netherlands to Scotland to take on Celtic at Celtic Park due to the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland so game number three was postponed to a later date, which has not yet been decided.

Both Queen's and the Wee Rovers are looking for a play-off spot and last night's 1-0 win means things are starting to look good for the amateurs. The game started off in spectacular fashion when Queen's goalie Mark McGeown fouled Marc McCusker after only four minutes but he managed to save Paul McLeod's spot-kick. After this frantic start both teams showed they were scared to lose this important game and this nervy affair had 0-0 written all over it. However Paul Douglas's 86th minute goals ensured the three point stayed in Glasgow.

Not the pre-match buzz I experienced on my previous visits to the National Stadium.

Pay at the gate but no queues at the turnstiles.

The only video screen in the Third Division.

The empty stands make for a somewhat bizarre atmosphere.

Mark McGeown saved Paul McLeod's penalty.

The loud contingent of Albion Rovers supporters can be seen in the background.

Celebrations after Barry Douglas scored a late goal and sent the Wee Rovers back to Coatbridge empty-handed.

Tuesday 20th April 2010
Scottish Football League Third Division
Queen's Park 1 Albion Rovers 0
Goal: Douglas 86.
Att: 522

City of Manchester Stadium (Man City v Man Utd)

Last Saturday it was off to Manchester for the much anticipated derby between City and United. This time it was not just local bragging rights that were at stake: it was a big game for both teams as United are still in contention for the Premier League title and the Citizens are looking to finish fourth in the league which would mean Champions' League football next season.

As it was a 'lunch-time kick-off' Martijn and I had to leave from Scotland early. I took an early train in Paisley (around 7:15) to make sure I would not miss the 8:00 Virgin train leaving from Glasgow Central. After changing at Preston we arrived at Manchester Piccadilly at around 11:20, well in time for the match however it did not leave us much time for the obligatory pre-match refreshments so we just had a quick pint at a pub at Piccadilly Station before we made our way to the City of Manchester Stadium.

It was a few degrees warmer in Manchester than in Glasgow and from our seats in the North Stand we were staring into the sun for the duration of the game. Although this made for a nice change compared to the appalling conditions I had endured in the last four or five months or so it made it difficult to take good quality pictures. I even managed to get a bit of sun burn!

As far as the action on the pitch was concerned I was slightly disappointed. Both teams had their chances but they were also wasteful and the game seemed destined to end goalless until Paul Scholes's dramatic winner, in the third minute of injury time, ensured the outcome was all too familiar.

After the game again we did not have much time to go to the pub as we had reserved a seat on the 3:46pm train to Preston. We rolled into Glasgow Central just after 7pm.

City fans in the North Stand.

Craig Bellamy getting ready to take a corner.

The Colin Bell Stand.

Plenty of dangerous moments in front of Van der Sar's goal.

The East Stand.

Paul Scholes managed to score the only goal almost three minutes into stoppage time.

United fans in the South Stand celebrating wildly after Scholes's late goal.

Saturday 17th April 2010
Barclays Premier League
Manchester City 0 Manchester United 1
Goal: Scholes 90+3.
Att: 47,019
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