Lossiemouth 2 Turriff United 0.
It was a 6 o’clock in the morning start for this one as I got a taxi down to Newcastle central railway station. I took the 6.30am train to Edinburgh and then a change for the train to Inverness. Then it was another one to Elgin where I would have to get a local bus the 3 miles or so to Lossiemouth. I managed to get a first class advance ticket in both directions for this amounting to £93. Then it was an extra £12.50 for the Inverness to Elgin train, £4.50 return for the local bus and then £50 for bed and breakfast in Inverness. Add the entrance to the ground of £8 and that comes to £168 plus sundries. I even think at times it is madness but this ‘bug’ gets a hold of you and it’s very difficult to shake off. There’s no cure for this ground hopping business.
It’s always a pleasant train journey up to Inverness through the highlands and by sheer coincidence the person sitting opposite me was someone I had worked with. Our conversation made the journey fly by and we reached Inverness in no time at all.
I was staying at the same hotel as last time I was up here and was wondering if I would be getting the same room again. Last time the karaoke bar and night clubbers had me awake till God knows what time. However I was in a backroom this time and I thought I was sorted for peace and quiet this time around. How wrong I was to be for that one as I will tell you later.
I got to Lossiemouth at 2.15pm and the ground was easy enough to find. The Coasters play at Grant Park and have been around since 1945. Entry to the game was £8 but there was no programme. I had a feeling this would be the case. As I am getting older and supposedly wiser I am least upset or disappointed now if I cannot have a programme in my possession. It’s what I have in my memory banks which is probably more important than something physical in my possession. Never mind a kind official got me and old programme from a couple of seasons ago and I was happy with that. Later someone in the crowd also gave me a colour printed team sheet for the game and I was even more pleased.
Lossiemouth have had a few changes of strips over the years. They used to play in yellow then changed to green strips with white arms (bit like Hibs) then changed again to their current all red colours. Turriff United were in blue and white today so it looked a bit like Liverpool v Manchester City today. However in this Scottish Highland league game I do not think these players had the same skills or received the same wages as their Premier League counterparts.
Turiff is a club from Aberdeen and only came into the Highland league in 2009. They finished fourth in the league last season while their hosts today finished 12th.
The game kicked off and there was very little to separate the sides as the first half wore on. However on 37 minutes Lossiemouth took the lead and one nil was the score at the interval. In the second half the hosts had a penalty. The Lossiemouth player went up and the goalkeeper moved too early in my opinion. How wrong was I as he dived the right way and magnificently saved the spot kick. That save only kept Tariff in the game for a short while as not long after Lassie scored again to finish the scoring in this game. There were plenty of hard tackles going in throughout the game and yellow cards fluttering all over the place. A good start for Lossie but a long way to go yet.
During the game I was thinking there were quite a few English voices around the ground. I think this might be to do with RAF Lossiemouth close by.
I still have 14 Highland league grounds to visit. If I do one a year then that will take me to 70 years of age which makes me think I need a change of strategy somewhere along the line!
Despite being summer I was soaking wet after the game from the heavy down pour. Oh, can you recollect my room at the hotel being quite this time? Well correctly there were no karaoke or night club revellers. But what a racket the seagulls were making and I could not shut the window properly. I was knackered as I got up the next day.
Looking forward to this Saturday now as Blyth Spartans kick off their new season.