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August Round Up

For the new football season, I've decided to take my blog in a slightly different direction. Rather than do a weekly match report, I'll now do a monthly summary of the games and other sporting events that I go to.

Please read on to see my summary of August 2022

Moorside Park, Dundonald

EOSFL Premier Division

Dundonald v Oakley
Dundonald v Oakley

Stephen Husband’s new look Dundonald side continued their fine start to the season with a six-goal demolition of Oakley in the first of this season’s many Fife derbies. Double strikes from Daryl Healy and Barry Sibanda, plus one each from Jay Sandison and Cal Smith did the damage for the ‘Bell to keep them amongst the leaders early in the season.

Things could have been very different however if United had managed to capitalise on a couple of very good early chances. If the visitors hadn’t squandered a free-kick from a very promising position with just two minutes on the clock, or if they had been able to punish some slack goalkeeping from Swinton, Oakley could very easily have taken the lead.

As it was, they didn’t take any of those chances and Bell made them pay with a devastating first half show. Healy looked like he’d got things going when he had the ball in the net on five minutes, but the linesman’s flag said no. The big man only had to wait another seven minutes before he got his first of the evening, slotting home from wide left to get the ball rolling. That was followed quickly by a second from Sandison from a similar position just three minutes later. A Sibanda header made it three on the half hour mark and Healy bagged his second of the night just before the half-time whistle.

Bluebell were already out of sight by the break and kept the momentum up at the start of the second half. Cal Smith passed up a couple of chances, before finally making it five with an hour on the watch. Barry Sibanda saved the best for last, with a stunner of a free-kick fired right into the postage stamp just a couple of minutes later. With half an hour still to go the Bell subs were itching to get in on the act, but there was to be no more scoring, and the home fans had to be content with just the six goals. It was a little bit harsh on United, who looked decent enough in flashes, but in the end, just couldn’t cope with a rampant Bluebell side.

Kier’s Park, Hill of Beath

EOSFL Premier Division

Hill of Beath v Sauchie
Hill of Beath v Sauchie

A brilliant afternoon’s entertainment at Keir’s Park in a game that had just about everything: plenty of goals, the lead changing hands multiple times and a late equaliser. Both of these sides are capable of moments of magic, but had started the season searching for a little bit of consistency.

It was action right from the off, both sides going at it right from the start and Sauchie taking the lead in the seventh minute through Ross Kavanagh. Things looked even worse for the home side just a minute later when they lost Lewis Elder to what looked like another knee injury – Elder was just getting back to form after a long lay-off and we can only hope that this injury is less serious than the last.

Haws didn’t sit and feel sorry for themselves though, and were level right from the re-start – the throw-in falling to summer signing Lewis Payne, who picked his spot through a crowded penalty area. Ryan Connelly give Haws the lead five minutes later running onto a cross from the left and flicking a header past the keeper to make it 2-1. A header from the smallest man on the park was soon followed up with one from the tallest – Dan Baur rising head & shoulders above everybody to nod home the corner and give the home side a 3-1 lead at the break.

It was Sauchie’s turn for a comeback and Kavanagh got things moving immediately after the interval with another header from another cross to make it 3-2. Sauchie’s equaliser came from the penalty spot after Kavanagh was tripped in the box, Danny Smith converting to make it 3-3, with half an hour still to play.

It looked like it was going to be another one of those days for Haws when Grant Dickie finished off a slick Sauchie move, firing home from the edge of the box to give the visitors the lead. As the clock ticked down, Haws rescued a point with the best move of the match, Payne releasing Connelly who made it to the bye-line and cut it back for sub Callum Adamson to clip his shot over Evan Columbine. In the end, a draw probably the right result.

Riverside Stadium, Perth

EOSFL, Premier Division

Jeanfield are another side that have enjoyed a very good start to the new season. Ross Gunnion’s side have earned plenty of plaudits after finishing in a comfortable fourth sport last season, and despite a few departures from the Riverside, they look like they’ve picked up where they left off.

This was a bit of a slow burner of a game to be honest, both sides cancelling each other out in the first half. Swifts played some nice stuff in patches, but were never really able to click into top gear. Broxburn threatened a few times early on, but rookie keeper Sam Townslie pulled off a couple of top drawer saves to keep the scoreline blank.

Jeanfield managed to get more of rhythm going after the break and put together some decent spells of pressure, but it took the introduction of substitute Dayle Robertson to finally swing the match in their favour. A long diagonal ball seemed a lost cause as the defence looked like they would see it out for a goal kick, but Robertson persevered and won the ball back before squaring for Chrissy McLeish to scramble it over the line and give Swifts the lead.

Robertson was instrumental in the second too with a direct run from midfield and slipping a pass through to Chris Scott on the overlap. Kiffy flashed his cross low across the face of goal where Mcliesh let it run through to Connor Mclaren, who slammed it home at the back post to tie up the points for Swifts.

A bit of a late show for the home side, but in the end, a well deserved win to keep them in joint top spot in the table.

New Central Park, Kelty

SPFL League 1

Kelty picked up their first league point under new gaffer John Potter with a battling draw against local rivals Dunfermline. We all knew that this would be a tough season for the newly promoted side, but the early season performances have had everybody at New Central Park worried. No fitbaw fan wants to celebrate a nil-nil draw, but there were signs in this match that Potter’s side is beginning to gel, and the point at least gives the League 2 Champions something to build on.

As expected, New Central Park was at capacity – Dunfermline fans traditionally travel in large numbers, and they didn’t have too far to travel for this one. The visitors were on the attack quickly, hoping to give their support an early goal to cheer. But Kelty had a solid look about them at the back, and the Pars quickly began to resort to long diagonal balls into the corners, which more often than not resulted in them losing possession.

Kelty were getting plenty possession of their own – Jamie Barjonas could have done better after some good work down the left hand side, but hit his shot straight at Deniz Mehmet. Darren Lyon burst into the box but although Joe Chalmers dragged him to the deck by the jersey, the ref didn’t want to know. Lyon got back to his feet and got his shot away, and it looked like it might have been blocked by a hand, but once again the ref’s whistle stayed silent.

After the break, the Pars began to up the pressure, but Darren Jamieson was standing firm in the Kelty goal, while Jordon Forster was winning everything in the air. There were a few hairy moments for the home defence, but they were causing a few problem of their own at the other end, sub Alfie Agyeman giving the Pars something different to think about.

Of course, with it being a local derby, there were a few tasty tackles from both sides. And with three former Pars players now playing in maroon, there was a little bit of extra spice at times. Ahead of the game, most Kelty fans would have been quite happy with the point, but after the way their side performed, some might have felt they’d been a wee bit unfortunate not to take all three. At the very least, the performance should give the side a bit of confidence that things are moving in the right direction.

Humbug Park, Crossgates

EOSFL Premier Division

Another Fife derby and another game with plenty of goals, twists, turns and comebacks. And a hat-trick.

Crossgates raced into a 2 goal lead midway through the first half – the first from a corner on the right that the United defence failed to deal with and Cammy Muirhead was on hand to force it over the line. Archie Campbell grabbed the second – firing home after some good work down the left hand side.

At that point, you’d have been forgiven for thinking that it was all over as a contest and wondered how big the winning margin would be. Oakley had other ideas though, and caused Primrose a few scares as the half wore on. With half-time in sight, Aiden Kemp pulled one back to give the visitors hope and change the team talks at the break.

That goal completely changed the momentum of the game, and Oakley emerged from the interval full of belief while Primrose suddenly seemed hesitant. Derek Murray pulled the visitors level early in the second half and the vibe around the Humbug began to feel decidedly nervous. There seemed an air of inevitability when Oakley took the lead just before the hour mark, Johnny Harrison squeezing the ball into the near post from another good United move on the left, and for a moment it looked like Crossgates were on the verge of a collapse.

The home side dug deep though, weathering the storm and gradually getting a foothold back into the game. It was Muirhead that dragged his side level with ten minutes left on the watch, heading home Campbell’s corner for his second of the game. He rounded off the hattrick in the dying minutes, Finn Graham winning a 50/50 ball wide on the left and whipping over the cross. Brian Ritchie pulled it down and kept his head to square it for Muirhead to drill home, sparking celebration all around the Humbug.

It was another sore one for Oakley, who would have surely felt they’d done enough to take something from the game. It also says plenty of the spirit in the Crossgates camp and keeps them in amongst the leaders in the early season table.

Cadwell Park

The 2022 BSB Championship is reaching a crucial point of the season, with this being the penultimate round of the regular season and six championship Showdown spots still up for grabs. For the uninitiated, the Showdown is the final three rounds (nine races) of the season, where the top eight riders in the championship standings battle it out to be crowned BSB Champion. Heading into the Cadwell Park round, only two riders – Bradley Ray and Jason O’Halloran – had booked their place in the Showdown, leaving six places still up for grabs. Crucially, there are still two Scottish riders in the running – Rory Skinner from Scone and reigning champ Stirling’s Tarran MacKenzie

Cadwell Park is one of the most spectacular tracks in the country, with a combination of long fast corners, flat out straights and tight technical sections. It’s also the only tarmac track in any championship with a jump – the breath taking Mountain section where the bikes get fully airborne.

Each round consists of three races – one shorter sprint race on Saturday and two regular length races on Sunday, each with points for the top fifteen finishers.

Saturday’s sprint race was red-flagged after only two laps when Lee Jackson crashed on the Mountain, his Kawasaki spinning across the track and taking out Honda’s Takumi Takahashi before BMW’s Dan Jones hit the stricken bike causing the race to be halted. Fortunately nobody was seriously injured, and one the carnage was cleared up, the race re-started.

Once the action was back underway, it was Yamaha’s Bradley Ray who took the win, with Rory Skinner finishing second on his Kawasaki ahead of BMW rider Danny Buchan.

Sunday turned out a little damp, with a heavy shower immediately before the first race, making for a slippery start to the day. Danny Buchan coped best with the mixed conditions, taking his Synetiq BWM to wins in both races, with Bradley Ray taking two second places and Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell taking a pair of thirds.

Two fifth places finishes was enough to keep Rory Skinner in third place in the championship, securing his Showdown spot and guaranteeing him a crack at the title. It was more difficult weekend for MacKenzie however, the Yamaha man managing one tenth place and two elevenths, which keeps him in seventh spot in the table and means he still needs three good results in the next round at Snetterton to be sure of a Showdown spot.

Riverside stadium, Perth

EOSFL Premier Division

My second visit to the Riverside of the month was very similar in many ways to my first: tight game, two sides trying find a breakthrough, two late goals to take the points. The only difference being, this time the goals went against the home side.

With both of these sides in the mix at the top end of the table, this one was always likely to be a tight affair. Both sides play some nice fitbaw, both are capable of moments of real quality, but both equally capable of lapses in concentration. Although both sides had good spells, neither were able to take the game by the scruff of the neck for most of the match. Short burst of possession for each side made for an end to end game, but it was one that was crying out for a goal.

The first strike was always going to be crucial and so it proved. It was a long wait, and when the breakthrough did come it was a little bit scrappy, but Bluebell won’t care too much about that. A cross was played deep to the back post and it looked like it was going to drift harmlessly behind, but Daryl Healy refused to give it up, beating Aaron Whitehead to slide in and force the ball home from the tightest of angles.

Jeanfield pressed forward to try and rescue a draw, leaving space at the back. Adam Mansouri took full advantage, getting onto the end of a long clearance and curling a sweet shot inside the far post from wide on the left to seal Swifts first league defeat of the campaign and lift Bluebell into second spot in the table. Although it’s very early in the season, don’t be too surprised to see at least one of these sides in the mix when the pointy end of the season comes around.

Be sure to come next month to catch all the action from September, including football from Kelty Hearts v Falkirk and bike racing from Knockhill Motorsports Club

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