It’s the final game of the Betfred cup group stages. I’m expecting a defeat here. Berwick were a whopping 250-1 with some bookmakers to win this one.
I was born in Livingston (well just outside as there was no hospital in Livingston in 1977) and stayed they throughout most of my schooldays. My High school was in Bathgate though, bussed out with the rest of the folk from my primary school. We moved to just outside Lanark I’m my 3rd year and I was dropped off at school rather than change to the local Lanark School. In my final year I attended the new school that was built in 1994 that’s at the rear of the Tony Macaroni Arena (built in 1995).
The school was given a tour of the stadium when it was built just before I left. I’ve not returned for a long time, 15 years or so. I was back for a Boxing Day game, Livingston v Dundee united. I never managed last season Betfred game when Berwick visited, my back was in real trouble and I couldn’t walk without 2 sticks and great pain. No such problem now though, 95% recovered.
I’m going down with my dad and we will meet my brother and his wife for this game. My Brother and his wife stay just outside Lanark so it’s a meet-up for lunch and off to the game.
So dad picked up and off down the road to Livingston. Roadworks adding about 40 minutes on to a journey that usually would be just over an hour. Still I left plenty of time as I always do. Livingston has changed a lot and my shortcuts around the town are no longer viable the roads I used to take have changed. There’s about a million (perhaps a little high of an estimate) more houses now and of course the massive shopping centre that was built filling up all the green space.
Perryman’s buses in Berwick used to run trips to the shopping centre because it’s such a monster.
Lunch was at Brucefield Farm a sort of Brewers Fayre place. A Saturday carvery so meat and potatoes then..... Lunch dispatched it’s off to the Livingston lasagne bowl for the game.
It was a 5-0 defeat. Brennan had a few good saves to keep the score lower. The first goal was slotted home in the 2nd minute. It was a gift. We had moments but we always do. I was desperate for somebody to take a shot at goal. What is there to lose.
It’s still rather frustrating that we have still held onto the strange ability to not have a shot. I’m hoping the new striker that has been signed this week can make the difference. I’m not going to go into any more detail about the game, I’m home and tired.
The Betfred is a horrible start to the season for the lower league clubs.
Next up Bonnyrigg on Tuesday who have opened their Lowland leave campaign with a 6-0 win over Vale of Leithen......
Well I missed Saturdays game due to a family party so it’s off down to Berwick for the midweek game. I’ve got the afternoon off work to get there in time without trying to contend with the rush hour traffic on the Edinburgh bypass. I’ll pick up my dad for this one too. The odds with William Hill for a Berwick win were 66-1 when I looked but I’ve seen that they were at 80-1 earlier. So a defeat is highly likely here. It’s always been a hellish start to the season playing in a competition that’s heavily weighted against you. It does bring money into the club though but I can imagine it’s demoralising for the players. It’s demoralising for the fans. I’ll get down in time to grab some dinner somewhere before heading to Shielfield to see if I’m required for any jobs.
Well we made it down in plenty of time and went to the Cannon fish and chip shop for dinner. A bit disappointing to be honest. Watery mushy peas, sgoogy batte on the fish and my dads sausages were quite hard, almost crunchy. I don’t think we will be back in a hurry. Still food scoffed down it was off to Shielfield. I popped in early to see if there were any jobs needing my attention. Nothing tonight but Turnstile duty for the Bonnyrigg game and cameraman for the Stirling University game. A polo shirt was purchase from the shop and 5 x 50/50 tickets.
Well Berwick didn’t get the absolute hammering that I was expecting. A 3-0 defeat wasn’t too bad. Berwick held their shape reasonably well but we are just missing the sharpness upfront. We seem to be using the wings better. Lewis Barr had a decent game, a terrier in midfield. We had a couple of defensive errors that we were punished for, we should have cleared the ball for the first goal and a soft pass back lead to the third.
The team look like they are getting to know each other so I'm hopeful for the lowland league. I still don't think we will win it but a top 5 finish would be acceptable to me. I can't see us getting out of the lowland league soon but if we can get the finances right and the club on a better footing we may be able to compete and attract further investment. Back home just before midnight and I'll be doing it again next Tuesday for the Bonnyrigg game.
(as I'm writing this Berwick have snapped up 21 year old Ghanaian striker YAW OSEI OPOKU-BERCHIE) so let's hope he can score goals.
Well it’s time for the first competitive game of the season. Berwick hosting Ayr united. A defeat would be the bookies favourite and realistically that’s what I expect. The squad hasn’t had many games to gel and Ayr are a good team 3 leagues above us William Hill has a Berwick win at 12-1. For teams like Berwick the betfred can been seen as extra training games. The teams are seeded in such a way that there is very little chance of qualifying out of the group. It is a nice little money earner though. A decent amount of money for finishing last in the group and the gate is split 50/50. I’ll be down with my Dad for this one.. It’s about a 2 hour drive to Berwick so I like to get there around lunchtime and get my dad his lunch. Foulis in Tweedmouth is a decent spot, we can usually get parked outside so it’s easy for him to access. He’s normally wanting chips and curry sauce from the van at Shielfield for his lunch instead but those days are numbered. I believe the van won’t be returning for this season so Foulis it is for this game. We have hospitality booked so we might also have a sandwich and a cup of tea at half time.
Here’s hoping for a reasonable performance from Berwick but it’s tough to know what to expect. (Written on Friday night).
So we arrive around lunchtime as planned and Foulis it is. A all day breakfast but we’ve learned our lesson and get one portion of chips between us. (Chips come as part of the breakfast). Still too many chips and my belly is full as we head up to Shielfield. The van has gone but the Bandits cafe is open for the game. Nice to see a bit of cooperation between the football club and the speedway. It’s a waste of money and resources to have things separate. Chips and curry sauce on the menu as well so noted for when I bring my dad down on a Saturday. I buy a couple of cups of tea and take one back to my dad who is sitting in the stand before. I head off to see if anybody needs a hand. There were plenty of volunteers today though so my assistance isn’t required so I buy 5 50/50 tickets and head back to the stand to sit next to my dad an talk about what may be...
Well for the first 20 minutes or so we looked ok. Brennan pulled off some good stops in the game (despite the score line) and Euan Smith (6) having a great game, quick and covering well. Lewis Barr looked decent too. Heads went down a bit when the first goal went in and by halftime we were down by 5. Final score Berwick 0 Ayr 7. It’s tough to see what will come when we are playing against a good Championship side. The Betfred cup is a somewhat demoralising start to the season. The team are still pretty new to each other too. We kept our shape much better than last season but time will tell. Next week it’s Stranraer, a league one team. How we will fare against them is again anybody’s bet. Hopefully not such a heavy defeat as we suffered today.