Monday, 1 April 2019

Dunipace - Westfield Park


Dunipace FC
Westfield Park
Townhouse Street
Denny






Ground Number: 842
Friday 29th March 2019
Dunipace 0-4 Bonnyrigg Rose
East Of Scotland League (Conference B)







DUNIPACE FC - A BRIEF HISTORY

The club has a history stretching back to 1888, but like many teams, they opted to join the East Of Scotland League at the start of this season. Currently sitting at step 2 of Scottish Non-League football, they face demotion to step 3 due to the league splitting into multiple tiers. Their biggest achievement was winning the Scottish Junior Cup in 1906 beating Kirkintilloch Rob Roy 1-0 in a game that was replayed. Their most recent Junior League honour came in 2005 as they won Central League Division 1, having also won a trio of Division 2 titles. There were a lot of local cup wins in the early 1900s with the Stirling & District Junior Cup, Stirlingshire Junior Cup, Falkirk & District Junior Cup and the Denny & District Junior Shield being lifted on multiple occasions. The team hail from nearby Dunipace hence their name, but have been based in Denny for some time now. The population is just 7,934 but the town has produced footballers Jim McNab and Kenny Deuchar amongst others in the past.



MY VISIT

Back in June when the football league fixtures were announced, I was pleased when I found out that Wycombe would be away on the weekend of this years even. I'd been in 2015 and really enjoyed it and was disappointed when we had home games on the 2016 and 2017 hops. I was free for last years hop, but with the Lowland League completed, they'd taken the step down to the East Of Scotland League and I was unsure what the grounds would be like. It turned out to be a wise decision, the grounds were fine, but unseasonably freezing weather caused uncomfortable viewing conditions and a couple of games to be cancelled, so much so that the coach headed straight home on the Sunday. It had even caused a couple of hoppers to write off the trip altogether, but there were no such issues for this trip. Though there would be no repeat of the sunny 2015 conditions, it would be at least tolerable. I'd booked the time off for this hop last year, having two weeks off work eventually. It had been a busy week preceding the game as I'd gone and seen a couple of games in Newcastle in midweek. I spent Thursday at home, having not got much sleep the previous night, I got to bed at 8 and actually got a good night's sleep for once.



On the day of the game, I awoke around 6, having had a solid 9-hour sleep. I finished off getting my things together, having a shower and getting dressed. Normally, I like to do some research on the clubs that I am visiting, but the volume of clubs and lack of time meant that I'd only done a few. I got my stuff together and left just before 9, stopping at Sainsbury’s for cash and a drink. Traffic delays and roadworks meant I got to my pickup point later than intended with me parking up and having to run the half mile to the coach which was there waiting for me. I was knackered after that, showing how unfit I’ve become. All was well in the end though and we were soon on our way. A few stops later we were at Knutsford services for the drivers break. I had a lukewarm nacho cheese bake for lunch as well as the 2 litres of Irn Bru and bag of Kettle Chips that I finished not soon after that. There was entertainment for the last leg of the journey, Nick Hancock’s Football Nightmares and The Young Ones being put on the coach DVD player. I’d found out from Braintree fan Dan that the Cascadia v Chagos Islands game that I was planning to go to at the end of May had been moved from Peckham to Whyteleafe which was a shame as I’d done the latter. There was better news from Gyles, a Chesham fan who said there was a good chance of a supporters coach running to Wimborne, the one ground that I needed to do in that league. I read some of Perry Groves autobiography and along with chatting to fellow hoppers, the journey went pretty quickly.



We got to the ground at 6.30 and collected our programme packs. After getting some pictures of the ground, I headed into town for a pint. My Strongbow tasted better than it should do after that long journey and was reasonably priced at £3.50. The bar was doing a brisk trade from a large proportion of the coach load. My camera had developed a spot on the lens, nothing that would completely ruin the pictures, but annoying all the same. From there I went to the Co-Op to get a big bottle of Irn Bru and then to the Golden Chip to get a spicy haggis supper which was excellent. I was back at the ground 20 minutes before kick off and went to the bar, getting a couple of cans of Dark Fruits for £2 each. I also added a scarf to my collection for £5. The visitors were complete dominant early on and Dunipace struggled to get out of their half. The 380 in the crowd didn’t have long to wait for a goal, Aaron Murrell controlling a cross and then shooting home after 6 minutes.  Bonnyrigg continued to dominate, with the hosts restricted to chances on the break. They’d have to wait for another hour to add to their tally though, but it was the goal of the game when Lee Currie scored with a low drive from outside the area. Many hoppers had seen an AFC Emley player embarrass himself with a poorly executed ‘Panenka’ style penalty on the 2015 NCEL hop but there was no repeat as Currie got his second on 85 minutes. The game was wrapped up a couple of minutes later, Keith Lough’s looping header giving the scoreline a fair reflection. It was a shame on Dunipace who had been excellent hosts, but on the field, they were second best. The coach party took a while to assemble, but soon we were on our way. We got back to our hotel soon after 10 and after getting our room keys and dropping bags off, we assembled in the bar. A few drinks were had in good company and some even got food from a local takeaway. I was wide awake and it took me ages to get to sleep, as it always does after footy.



THE GROUND 

WESTFIELD PARK is a neat and tidy setup but lacks any cover. The food and drink options for my visit were good, pies, curry and chips amongst the offerings. Drink wise, cans were on sale from the Portakabin. Club shop wise, scarves and old shirts were available. The best view was on the bank on the far side. The club put a great deal of hard work into making the matchday enjoyable and I’d recommend a visit.

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