Tuesday, July 21, 2009 – Murrayfield Park, Blackburn
Needing to check the internet to find out if a ‘summer’ pre-season game is still on due to bad weather is probably a uniquely Scottish requirement.
Our summers seem to have been getting much wetter in the last few years, putting pre-season and early season competitive games under threat.
A couple of Julys ago I went along to see Hibs play Lithuanian side Vetra Vilnius at a sodden Easter Road in an Intertoto Cup tie which would never had got the go ahead had it been a domestic game.
The pitch at Murrayfield Park wasn’t anything like the swamp encountered by the Hibees that day, but it was very heavy, and got heavier as the evening progressed.
Mind you, that didn’t detract from a game which started very slowly but flourished into a very entertaining encounter between two youthful sides.
Stenhousemuir are well known for their youth development system, and it was their Under 19 side on show.
Blackburn, meanwhile, have been busy assembling a comprehensive community club structure in a similar ilk. Only a few months ago, my son played against Blackburn United at Under 11 level in the West Lothian Soccer Sevens.
For a junior side they are forward thinking and with a bit of luck will eventually raise the funds needed to re-develop the facilities at Murrayfield, similar to the project that is underway along the road in Broxburn.
They missed a trick in not levying an admission charge for this game though, because as it turned out it was easily worth a fiver of anyone’s money.
Stenhousemuir just about shaded the first half, hitting the bar at one point before making the breakthrough around five minutes to half time, their no 9 Sneddon producing a good finish from close range.
Shortly after half time, and just before a thunderstorm erupted, Blackburn’s no 11 Peebles equalised and within ten minutes they were ahead, their no 10 McQuillan slid them ahead.
With the rain starting to tip down, and the small crowd huddled at the back of the enclosure, the players deserved great credit for ploughing on (literally) and trying to play football on a surface which was more or less waterlogged.
Stenny replied with an equaliser to make it 2-2 and then it was 3-2 to the visitors after some poor positional play from the Blackburn left back allowed Hamilton to stay onside and beat the goalie.
Blackburn weren’t finished and they laid siege to the Stenny goal in the closing stages – their keeper making three decent saves before eventually being beaten by a looping header from Peebles with six minutes left.
Then came the United winner with three minutes to go, Miller with a header. Phew!
As far as effort and entertainment goes this ‘freebie’ will take some beating over the course of the season.
Scoring – 0-1 Sneddon (38), 1-1 Peebles (52), 2-1 McQuillan (62), 2-2 Kerr (71), 2-3 Hamilton (75), 3-3 Peebles (84), 4-3 Miller (87)
Attendance – 30 est
Admission – £NIL
Programme – none
Food – none
Match Rating: 8/10
Match Report Links
Blackburn United FC