Ground #: 41
Ground: Pennypit Park
Competition: King Cup 1st Round
Kick Off: 2:30pm
Attendance: 44 (h/c)
Preston Athletic 1
Edinburgh University 0
(After Extra Time)
Yet another weekend (the Friday and Saturday at least) spent in Edinburgh on more job interview work (which I sadly didn’t get) meant that I wanted to get another cheeky Edinburgh based game in before coming back down to Lancaster. I was also determined not to have to suffer the pain of Hearts vs Falkirk, although the return of Stephen “Mr Hearts, even though I kissed the Celtic badge on a return to Tynecastle” Pressley did tempt me, I decided to e-mail 4 East of Scotland Edinburgh based clubs and asked about their programme (or lack of one) and the first club to reply with a positive response saw me go there. So well done Preston Athletic’s John Snedden, his e-mail confirming a programme meant I would take the trip across Edinburgh to the outskirts and the seaside town of Prestonpans. However, before I could get my pictures of the game on (I took lots), my phone ended up having a wee swim and is (at writing) not turning on, nevermind allowing me to bluetooth my pictures across! Therefore I’ve trawled through the internet to use some Preston Athletic pictures and we’ll make this a shorter blog report.
Prestonpans is a small town in East Lothian, just to the East of Edinburgh, although it will soon be sucked up into the greater city no doubt, although it does have Portobello and Musselburgh to protect it from that first. Prestonpans is named “Scotland’s mural town” with a selection of them throughout the town and a few can be seen on the main road when coming into the place. Like most Scottish towns also, there was an industry here, this one being salt panning, however that closed by the 16th Century and breweries became the main source of industry until the last one closed in the 1960’s. Today the town is becoming a commuter town serving the bigger places of Musselburgh and Edinburgh. However there still remains a community spirit with nearby towns of Cockenzie and the great Port Seton (where I want to retire to) so Prestonpans is a fairly nice place to be. The ground was really easy to find (mainly because I had done a rekky (reconnaissance ;) ) the day before on the bus. (If you are travelling by bus, get the Lothian #26 and if you get off at Prestonpans High Street – you can’t go wrong) and also had a fairly sizeable parking space. Pennypit Park is part of a leisure centre, with a football ground and rugby ground attached. Both the sports grounds look exactly the same, with a stand (see the picture above) being the only seating area at the ground. The rest is grass standing which is railed off, with also some grass banks which are good fun to try to stand on in the rain. The ground has also recently added a clubhouse which is a spacious building which also includes the tea bar inside. I arrived fairly early at the Pennypit so popped in for an Irn Bru and watched the lads on Soccer Saturday describe Celtic’s 4-4 balls up at Aberdeen.
Preston Athletic are an East of Scotland Premier team who have stayed in that division since their promotion from Division 1 in 2002, and have floated about in mid-table since. They, along with Spartans who I visited a couple of weeks back, (as well as Cove Rangers and Edinburgh City) applied to join the SFL after Gretna crashed and burned in 2008. However they lost out to Annan Athletic, but Preston still believe they will one day be playing Division 3 football in the SFL. Preston had made an average start to their season thus far and went into this cup game in 7th (out of 11) with 15 points. Their visitors for this game was the mighty Edinburgh University, who despite playing in the BUCS Universities League, also put forward a team to play in the EoS, along with Heriot-Watt and Stirling University. They had finished 4th last season, and 2nd the season before, and were in 5th place going into this game, 4 points ahead of Preston Athletic, but had also played 4 games more. However, league points weren’t at stake in this match, as the distraction of the King Cup which thankfully was detailed in Preston’s programme. The Cup was named after Percival King who had been noted for his sponsorship of local football and the first sports shop in the capital. The current holders were Heriot-Watt with Edinburgh Uni having last won this in 2007, with Preston Athletic having never won it. The winners were at home to Hawick Royal Albert, so the closest thing you could have to a bye, without actually getting one. A big game then.
(Again, not my photo – it was raining when I went!) The game itself was a struggle to watch at times, with lots of effort and shouting, but little in the way of quality or goalmouth action. The highlight of the 1st half was handbags after 20 mins, when a few tasty tackles boiled over and players had to be separated. The 2nd half was better, with Preston having a shot cleared off the line after a great counter attack at the start of the half, but students came right back into it and should have scored on 78 minutes, when a Uni player was put through one on one but a last ditch tackle was made before he could get his shot away. After this chance went begging I knew I would be in store for another 30 mins of extra time. 8 minutes into this, we finally had a goal as big (wide and tall) striker Kevin Haynes got on the end of a great cross from the right wing and easily scored from about 4 yards out as Preston took the lead. The students did add some pressure in the 2nd half of ET, as another last ditch block needed to be made, before the Edinburgh Uni #10 saw his great free kick brilliantly saved by Jamie Thomson. The Uni team couldn’t get another clear chance and it was Preston who booked their place in Round 2.
So a decent day out at another EoS team, a league I am beginning to really enjoy seeing. I am also livid at myself for losing (my phone isn’t turning on, at all) the Preston photos, which means one day I’ll pop back and get a decent report done with some pictures that I haven’t randomly selected from Google Images. The club itself is a great wee club and hopefully will one day fulfil their dream of playing in the SFL. No idea when I’ll be back up in Scotland – but hopefully it won’t be too long before I see another EoS game. Less stress and considerably less expensive than watching Hearts!
- Match: 5/10 (never really got going)
- Value for money: 8/10 (can’t moan at £4)
- Ground: 7/10 (good stand and grass banks are always a win)
- Atmosphere: 7/10 (decent noise from the 44 fans and players)
- Food: 6/10 (Mince Pie and Irn Bru (*sigh*) for only £1.60)
- Programme: 8/10 (cannot moan for 50p and was well detailed too)
- Referee: Andrew Rooney – 4/10 (lost control really, wasn’t helped by the worst linesmen ever though)