Monday, 1 April 2019

Blackburn United - New Murrayfield Park


Blackburn United FC
New Murrayfield Park
Ash Grove
Blackburn




Ground Number: 845
Saturday 30th March 2019
Blackburn United 4-1 Preston Athletic
East Of Scotland League - Conference C




BLACKBURN UNITED - A BRIEF HISTORY

The club was established in 1978, although another club, Blackburn Athletic also played in the town. They started out in the Lothian Welfare League, merging with another club, Blackburn Thistle, but keeping their name. In 1980, they were accepted into junior football, joining the East Region B Division.  Financial troubles that led to them having to enter their Under 21 side into the league did not stop them gaining promotion to the A Division.  Two divisions were spent in the top-tier, but other than that, success  has been hard to come by. A new stadium, built in 2013 spurred them on to success and in 2017 they finished as runners-up to Dunbar United in the East Region South Division. Last season, the club enjoyed an impressive 5th place finish in the East Region Premier League before optiong to take the step up to senior football and the East Of Scotland League. They currently sit in mid-table, with a good chance of making the cut for next season's top tier as the league restructures.


MY VISIT

We left the previous game at Inverkeithing having seen a real cracker of a game. So much so, that I wasn’t really paid attention to Wycombe’s game at Oxford. As it turned out,we’d had the lead and blown it, typical Wycombe really. What was also typically bloody Wycombe was that we conceded in injury at the time, something that we have done in three out of the last four games. We got to the ground, situated in a really run down area around half an hour before the game. The smashed windows in the adjacent building were not appealing, but the ground itself was OK. I needed to go to a shop so I headed over to the nearby shopping centre and bought a cider from the Co-Op and a set of earplugs from Boots to cope with my roommate Dan’s snoring and actually get some sleep. I got back to the ground at 5.05, ten minutes before kickoff. Oxford fan Laurence was quick to remind me of my own team’s deficiencies but I was beyond caring really. I went in search of food, but my first choice of chicken curry had sold out. I did get a Scotch Pie though, the best of the trip and washed it down with my cider, also having a Strongbow at half time.



The match referee, who bore a passing resemblance to Paul Scholes got the game underway. Blackburn started on fire and they were ahead through a Darren Downie penalty, little over a minute into the game. The game was only four minutes old when Downie doubled both his and Blackburn’s tally with a great long-range effort. Downie completed his hat trick on 65 minutes, this time it was a close-range effort. Preston had something to cheer on 77 minutes, Liam McFarlane capitalising after home keeper Darren Mitchell dropped the ball. Four minutes later, Blackburn sealed the Scottish version of this Lancashire derby when Michael Browne headed home a cross.



THE GROUND

NEW MURRAYFIELD PARK is a decent setup for this league. There’s no seating but there is an area of cover for those who wish to stand, holding around 200. It’s all neat and tidy and has a 3G pitch, useful for inclement weather. The food and drink at the ground do the job well, the bar one of the better ones of the weekend. There’s also a small range of merchandise available.

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