Monday, 16 May 2011

East Stirlingshire - Firs Park

10th April 1999

East Stirlingshire 3-3 Berwick Rangers

My only previous visit to Firs Park had been for a Scottish Cup tie betweeen East Stirlingshire and Cove Rangers in January 1994.  Hoping for a............I was going to use the phrase Giant-killing but, on reflection, I cannot imagine any company in which East Stirlingshire FC could be classed as giants.  Even the phase "Cup Shock" would overstate an away victory by some degrees.  

Let us just say, I was looking for a minor upset.  In the end, Shire swatted away the non-leaguers' challenge 4-1.  I recall a group of good-natured home fans setting up a chant of "We're Black, we're White.  We're absolutely shite.  We're The Shire, we're The Shire".  This showed a level of self effacing self-awareness rarely seen at football gounds, and it appealed to me, I have to say.

This second visit, some five years later, was Daughter’s first senior football match and  I remember a police officer on duty upon seeing me struggling with the pram stating “Someone’s keen!”  I replied “Do you mean me or her?”, to which he just smiled.

Does Daughter look happy to be here?  I rather think not.
A 3-3 draw may suggest an end-to-end tussle with both combatants committed to all-out attack.  In truth, entertaining though this was, it was actually a battle of attrition between two sides neither of whom could defend for toffee.  Three times the visitors took the lead, cutting through the Shire defence seemingly at will, and three times gave away equalisers with, at times, embarrassing generosity.

For the record the goalscorers were:
East Stirlingshire:-  Stevie LAIDLAW (6), Paul PATTERSON (25), Scott WALKER (85)
Berwick Rangers:-  Moray LEASK (2), Darren SMITH (8) (66) .

East Stirlingshire, of course, no longer play at Firs Park.  Since 2008, they club have groundshared with Stenhousemuir, although with the intention of developing a new ground back in their home town of Falkirk.

The only entrance to Firs Park was along
this narrow residential street.

Crumbling terracing, out of bounds.
View of East Stirlingshire's Firs Park, Falkirk showing both the modest stand
and the wall which abutted the pitch behind one of the goals.

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