My Matchday - 442 Islecroft Stadium

Dalbeattie Star 2v1 Edinburgh City
Lowlands Football League
Sunday 22nd March 2015 (k.o Noon)
Much gratification to the organisers at Groundhop UK for sorting the weekend fixtures in my favour. The first ever Lowlands League hop kicked off at East Kilbride on Friday night, followed by three matches at grounds I’ve already ticked on Saturday. This meant I could watch the Heed at Dover and return home before visiting two new grounds the next day. 

Also a big thank you to Peter Taylor who picked me up on Sunday morning, and along with Lee and Katie(who left her car at 100FgC HQ) we heading off to Dumfries and Galloway at 8am.

We arrived in Dalbeattie at 10.15, early enough to get a good parking spot at the ground before taking a short stroll in the town, which is is situated in the valley of the River Urr. The river flows from the north to the Solway Firth and passes by the west side of the town. Dalbeattie is known as the “Granite Town” due to an abundance of distinctive grey granite. The town today has a greatly reduced industry and most residents commute to the nearby town of Dumfries and is a frequent tourists stop due to its access to the Solway coast.

Plantpot History
Dalbeattie Star Football Club formed in 1905 and competed in the South of Scotland Football League. They won the league title for the first time in 1924-25 followed by championship success five years running at the turn of the 1930’s. More honours followed in the South of Scotland Challenge Cup, the South of Scotland Cup and the Potts Cup before the club folded prior to the Second World War. The club rejoined the league after the conflict, but lasted just one season before they folded altogether in 1948.
The Star was brought back to life in 1976 at Islecroft Stadium, winning their first trophy in the J Haigh Gordon Memorial Trophy in 1977-78. The South of Scotland League title returned to Dalbeattie after a gap of over 50 years, which was won two years running from 1984-85 and again in 1988-89. In 1983 Islecroft hosted its first Scottish Cup tie against Arbroath, and more trophy success followed in the League Cup, local cup competitions and they took their tally of Potts Cup wins to nine.
The club also entered a team in the East of Scotland League in 2001-02, winning promotion as Division One runners-up in 2003-04, then after relegation were champions 2006-07. In the club’s final season before resigning from the East of Scotland League they almost won the Premier Division, but were pipped by Spartans in the final match of the season.
The Star became founding members of the Lowlands Football League in 2013 but not before winning the league and cup double in the South of Scotland League in their concluding seasons.
Ground no.442 Islecroft Stadium
(Scottish Grounds 58 Lowland League 7/14)

The 3,500 capacity ground is dominated by a old fashioned but very handsome looking stand. The 300 capacity structure has a dark green frame with levitated seating with the changing rooms situated underneath. The stair access to the stand is at the sides with a few steps of terracing at the front. The refreshment bar is at the side of the turnstile block and the team dugouts are at the far side. The ground has an oval perimeter with grass banking which peaks behind the top goal.

The Match
Dalbeattie Star hosted Edinburgh City, the new winners of the Lowland League. Due to results elsewhere The City were crowned champions over the weekend, so were giving a guard of honour as the teams entered the field. The champs most have been out celebrating the night before as they were caught napping with just 67 seconds gone, when Jack Steele latched onto a long through ball before showing an electric turn of pace to fire into the far corner from the inside left channel.  City grabbed the equaliser just before the half time whistle, when Dougie Gair ran onto a square ball to side foot home from fifteen yards.
The second half was a cracking affair, with both teams going all out for a winner. The visitors just shaded it on chances created but it was the Star that clinched the three points when Liam Park was fouled in the box by Frazer Paterson. Lewis Sloan fired home the spot-kick in the 78th minute to give the champions their first defeat of the season following 17 wins and 2 draws in a terrific campaign.
Matchday Stats
DSFC 2(Steele 2 Sloan 78) ECFC 1(Gair 45)
Top Bloke - Darren Martin(Dalbeattie Star)

Admission £5
Programme £2
Pin badge £3
Square sausage sandwich £1.50
Tea 80p
Sloan fires in the spot-kick
Dalbeattie were great hosts, adding to the occasion with the town’s own Galloway Pipes and Drums performing before kickoff. As is always the case with these groundhopping events it was good to meet up with my 100FgC friends and acquaintances, meeting a few ‘hoppers for the first time. So a great start to the day with a cracking ground and entertaining match, the only negative being the macaroni pies sold out, which was my own fault as my hunger pangs didn’t kick in until the second half, so a scabby eye would have to wait until the next match at Threave Rovers.

Foetoes (24 Matchday pictures from Islecroft Stadium)

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