“Shut Out In The Snow”
19/03/95 v Clydebank Supporters at Mountblow
Martin Harvey; John Drennan, Iain Campbell, Ian Fitzpatrick, David Ferguson; Stuart McKinven, Tam Moon (c), John Scott, Paul Stormonth; David Nisbet, Alan Raeburn
In 1994 we decided to leave the Scottish Supporters League as most of the “old guard” had stopped playing and some of their replacements were not as reliable as we would have liked.
Rather than pack it in altogether we decided to play friendlies and pick and choose who, and when, we played.
Our first “friendly” season saw us play some new supporters teams as well as some from the Supporters League and we had mixed results with plenty of goals being scored, at both ends.
There was the occasional low scoring game and we drew 0-0 against a works team, Yard, in a drab midweek game in October.
However, another goalless draw in March was a much more memorable game.
We made the journey to Mountblow to take on Clydebank Supporters and there were the bare eleven in our squad and they included most of our regulars for that season.
Martin was in goals; the veterans, Machine and Mister C, were at full back with the uncompromising duo of Fitzy and Fergal in central defence; in the midfield we had Stuart, a newcomer that season, Jazza, Scotty and our skipper Tam; up front were Davie Nis and Tubsy.
The following is adapted from the match report which appeared in our team’s programme back in 1995.
“As seems to be the way of things at Mountblow, the pitch was huge and was at the top of a considerable slope. Tam lost the toss so we shot with the slight breeze in the first half.
The Clydebank team were young and fit but we acquitted ourselves well in the first half and had a few chances to take the lead.
Tubsy was unlucky with a lob over the advancing keeper and Davie and Scotty also came close to opening the scoring.
Jazza also came close when he kneed a corner just over the bar.
At the other end our defence was coping well with Martin a stand out in goals with his handling as good as it had ever been.
Martin was also helped by Fitzy who led the defence in his own inimitable style whilst always taking his time over goals kicks and free kicks.
The game had been fairly even up to half time but the second half was totally different.
The wind suddenly increased by about twenty miles an hour and we were faced with a backs to the wall job.
Fitzy played the offside trap to a tee (although the referee missed a few) and Martin continued to perform outstandingly in goals as we were forced to defend in numbers.
Clydebank were shooting at every opportunity with most of their efforts flying wide and down the hill behind the goal.
Martin made the long trek to retrieve the ball whilst Fitzy then used up as much time as he could taking the goal kicks.
The fact the referee was Tony Oxford, a Dumbarton supporter, meant that Fitzy was given plenty of leeway much to Clydebank’s disgust.
As well as having to contend with a gale force wind it started snowing which made conditions as bad as anything we’d ever played in before.
Clydebank piled on the pressure and one of their best chances came when they beat the offside trap and the ball came to the back post (left back posted missing) where a forward looked certain to score. However up popped the combined forces, and weight, of Martin and Fergal to miraculously block the shot.
Not long after that a looping header looked a sure goal but Martin managed to finger tip the ball over the bar.
It was exciting stuff as we fought hard against the opposition and the elements but eventually the final whistle went and we had earned a remarkable, and commendable, draw.
Full marks to everyone in the team who gave their all and it was good to see Martin play so well and he fully deserved his shut out.
After a hot shower to try and stave off hypothermia, we went back to the pub with the Clydebank guys for plenty of sandwiches and sausage rolls, and a wee reviving drink.”
Undoubtedly this was one of our best efforts outwith the Supporters League as we battled all the way against a better team on paper and atrocious conditions.
This game certainly showed that we had made the correct decision to move to playing friendlies as the hard core of the squad showed a fight and commitment which hadn’t been seen in our last Supporters League days.
And, of course, it gave Martin something to talk about for many, many, many years to come……………..