Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Excelsior Stadium (Airdrie United v Greenock Morton)

Last night I took in another midweek Scottish Cup replay. This time it was off to the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie for Airdrie United v Greenock Morton. The game in Greenock last week had ended in a 2-2 draw. The Diamonds, playing in the Second Division, were two up against First Division side Morton but the Ton still managed to earn a replay. Although this replay must surely have been one of the biggest games of the season for Airdrie ,there was not much of an atmosphere. Only about 1,000 Morton and Airdrie fans showed up and neither set of fans made much noise.

The stadium does not ooze atmosphere anyway. Built in 1998, the 10,000 capacity ground does not have much character and looks very similar to grounds like New St Mirren Park. I had planned to visit the Excelsior Stadium two seasons ago but upon arrival at the ground the game against St Johnstone turned out to be postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. This should be a much rarer occurrence these days as a 3G artificial pitch was installed last summer. Although the drainage problems of the Airdrie ground were notorious it has made the park look even more 'plastic'.

I went to Airdrie by train, a 30-minute journey from the lower-level station at Glasgow Queen Street. This train goes all the way to Edinburgh nowadays, via Bathgate and Livingston. I did not have time to go to a pub before the game but there is a welcoming social club under the main stand. I ordered a pint of lager but the barrel had to be changed so I opted for a bottle of Miller instead. Later however the lady behind the bar came over to me with a pint, free of charge, because I 'had waited for so long,' which I thought was a very nice gesture.

After having downed my free pint quickly I made my way through the turnstiles. As mentioned before there was not much of a cup atmosphere and Morton were 1-0 up after less than 15 minutes. Somehow the First Division side took their foot of the gas a little and the 1-0 score at the interval flattered the Lanarkshire club. However somehow the Airdrie fans did not appreciate they were playing against a team from a higher division and their attitude toward their own team was very negative throughout the duration of the game. In the second half the Ton scored three goals in ten minutes and by the time Allan Jenkins scored 4-0 about half of the home crowd had already left. Two late Airdrie goals made the scoreline look more respectable but Morton had the last word when Carlo Monti scored 5-0 from the spot, after Eddie Forrest was sent off.

For more pictures of the Excelsior Stadium see this post.


Approaching Excelsior Stadium.


Memorabilia in the social club.


The Morton fans were housed in the East Stand.


The North Stand remained closed...


...as did the South Stand.


The Jack Dalziel Stand. By the time I took this picture many Airdrie fans had already left.


Airdrie's Eddie Forrest was sent off.


Airdrie's bench were not impressed with the straight red and penalty.


Carlo Monti scored the fifth Morton goal from the spot.


There are still 'Airdrieonians' bins inside the stadium. Airdrieonians FC folded at the end of the 2001/02 season, that saw them finish runners-up in the First Division behind Partick Thistle. A local business man bought Clydebank FC, relocated them to Airdrie and changed their name to Airdrie United. A year later a new Clydebank FC were founded. The 'new' Bankies play in the western region of the Scottish Juniors set-up.


Tuesday 25th January 2011
Scottish Cup 4th round replay (first game: 2-2)
Airdrie United 2 Greenock Morton 5
Ardrie: Mackay-Steven 77, Sally 80.
Morton: O'Brien 14, Jenkins 61, Graham 68, Jenkins 71, Monti 84 pen.
Att: 1,033

3 comments:

  1. Hi Bas
    looking for your help again ,I am staying at Landal Orveltermarke which is near Emmen in your native land from 21/2 - 25/2. Do you know of any football games around that area during that period, I know Emmen are not at home . Cheers Stephen

    ReplyDelete
  2. FC Emmen and FC Zwolke are both playing at home. FC Zwolle are top of the league...

    25/2 FC Emmen - AGOVV Apeldoorn 20.00
    25/2 FC Zwolle - FC Eindhoven 20.00

    Shit grounds, no fans! My suggestion: hit the bar or the red light district in Groningen...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Zwolle are pulling rather big crowds this season. The gloryhunters have come out of the woodworks...

    ReplyDelete

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