Ground Number: 1929
Sunday 24th September 2023
Skanstes SK 9-0 Rezekne FA
SKANSTES SK - A BRIEF HISTORY
The club is one of the youngest in Latvia, having been formed in Riga in 2021. There is not much information on the club but they appear to have started in 2. Liga (Latvian 3rd tier) the previous season but leagues were declared null and void. They regrouped despite leading the league when results were cancelled. The next season saw them carry on the good form and they were promoted to the 1. Liga for last season where they finished 7th. The club is part of a wider sports club that plays several types of sports. The club plays at Hanzas Vidusskolas Laukums which translates as Hansa High School Field or stadium.
For my second game in Latvia, I was originally off to FK Beitar v AFA Olaine. However, this would mean me putting my faith in the last train. I was perfectly willing to do that to get a new ground but it was a bit of a risk. I was glad then when something closer came up, even though the ground was not as good. From my first game, time was quite limited. Going into Riga centre would leave me with very little time, so I headed to a bar on the outskirts. From the ground, it was 18 minutes walk to the tram stop. Only having 16 minutes to spare, I had to jog some of it and got there four minutes early. The tram turned up on time and I was on my way.
Due to the rush, all I'd had is a bottle of vitamin water and a chocolate bar since getting up at 7. Though parched, I wasn't really hungry yet though I thought that would change after a drink. It was a matter of seeing what was nearby when I got there. Alas Muiza was an excellent place and the drink made me relax. A Brut IPA cider was next up and I checked in for tomorrow's app whilst having this. I then had another semi-sweet cider and this was good. All of this was great value for money too. From there, a kebab to eat on the way to the ground from the adjacent takeaway. I was quoted 20 minutes wait which wasn't ideal. It took longer than that in fact, my own fault for not allowing enough time. Had I known, I'd have ordered ahead. In the end, I got a Taxi via the useful Bolt app, for only 3 Euros.
Skanstes were 5th in the 1. Liga table. They were in good form having beaten Smiltene 3-0 in their last game. They'd also overcome Tukums 2-0 and won 4-1 at Dinamo Riga and 5-0 at Beitar. Their only defeat had come as they lost 2-0 at Saldus. Rezekne were in 13th, second bottom of the league. They were in poor form. They'd suffered a 9-0 defeat at Riga FC and lost 4-1 to Grobina, 3-1 at Valmiera II and 1-0 to Rigas FS II. They had managed a 1-1 draw at JFDS Alberts. I got there five minutes in but had a job to find the entrance. An absolute nightmare, it took me half an hour to find the totally illogical way in after a couple of circuits of the group. Skanste had taken the lead on 6 minutes, a volley. Then on 40 minutes, it was 2-0, sloppy defending allowed an easy chance with a low shot from just inside the area. Pakulis the scorer of the first two. It was 3-0 on 43 minutes, a well-worked move and shot from outside the area from Tatulashvilli. The second period did not change things, it was 4-0 on 47 minutes, a close-range finish by Pakulis for his hat trick. Another close-range finish on 52 minutes gave him his 4th and his side's 5th. An excellent corner gave Jesse the chance to finish from close range. A penalty gave the hosts the chance to make it 7-0 on 61 minutes but the effort was saved. On 76 minutes, it was 7-0, Krums finishing off a good move. On 83 minutes, it was 8-0, Sterninieks rounding the keeper before slotting home. Right on time, it was 9-0, sloppy defending and the last kick of the game.
Another Bolt taxi saved me half an hour. My first destination was a cider bar called Siderrija, this was closed Monday so it was now or never. A couple were had there from the local cidery. Then, it was to the Thirsty Bulldog Sports pub. A Latvian hopped cider was first up. Then due to miscommunication, I had a Leffe Brune which was OK considering I'd never choose it. Of course, I'm not one to complain face to face so I just got on with it. There were several screens. PSG v Marseille, American football and Australia v Wales Rugby reminded me of an Only Fools And Horses scene. I was only a couple of minutes from my hotel but after all the lark in Nijmegen where I got locked out, I didn't wanna leave it too late. I was back just after 11, falling asleep pretty much right away.
HANSAS VIDUSSKOLAS LAUKUMS is very tricky to find your way in. So allow yourself plenty of time to be frustrated. Once in, the ground is not bad. An uncovered seated stand holds a few hundred fans and there are a couple of portable toilets. Entry was free but there isn't a huge amount nearby aside from a Lidl. The entrance is on Grostonas Iela, near Malpils Iela.