It turns out the bloke sat next to me is a Lochee United man and I enjoy debating the future of non-league fitba with him. It was so tempting to just spend the day here, but I made myself move on. Americana covers the walls and customers relax in low comfortable seating. The pitch is surrounded by a metal barrier, the perimeter of the ground lined with trees. There are no stands or covering from the elements; entering via the north east corner the only structures within the ground are a shipping container full of groundskeeping gear and a tiny caravan from which pies and Bovril are issued.
Both are painted in a sort of British Racing Green. The teams emerge for kick-off from a building I had strolled past just outside the ground and walk onto a pitch which is in magnificent condition for both this level of fitba and time of year. The last time these two sides faced off Star strolled to a six nil victory but today, while Newtongrange looked like a well drilled outfit in a rather smart black away strip Craigie were able to appear their equals for the most part.
He did concede two before the break however with a goal from Alistair Forster followed by a easily converted penalty. For me the first half was marred not just by some awful weather but by the absence of linesmen.
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An official from each club did hold a flag either side of the pitch, but at the half way line they remained. Then, at the other end, the Craigroyston players celebrated a goal with no objection from their opposing players. The referee Barry Dickson had none of it, waving play on. Two nil at half time when most would have said The invitation was gratefully received and it was a joy to get out of the cold. No pay bar here but the hot sweet tea was more beautiful than the finest malt a perfect accompaniment to the egg sandwiches.
Inside I studied pictures of teams from yesteryear and talked former club legends with committee men.
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In the second half the weather calmed as well as the game. Craigroyston got what should have been an equaliser from a deflected, indirect free kick. I really enjoyed my third jaunt to the capital, particularly given the distinct lack of rugby sorts in the vicinity. Both boozers were absolutely top notch, hidden gems that I thoroughly recommend to all. As for the fitba, I found a quaint wee ground with a stunning playing surface this afternoon. Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. Boer War. British Law. Buchanan's Journal of Man.
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