Game 644  06/03/10  Internet Football League

v Dulwich Hamlet at Lesser Hampden  6-2 (2-0, 3-1, 1-1)

Youngsters starting eleven:- Martin Kelly, David McLean, Calum Colquhoun, Stuart Waugh, Paul Joyce (c), Ally McNaught, Danny McFarlane, Fraser Marr, Andy McNaught jnr, David Blair and Adam Walker.

Older Ones: Robert Shimmons, Allan MacKenzie, Calum MacDonald, John Crosbie, Andy Dick, Ally Dick, Sean Connolly (d), Craig McKenna and Stephen McGilp.

Legends: Martin Harvey, Iain Campbell, Gordon Hunter, Stephen Stormonth, John Donaldson, Michael Higgins, Alan Raeburn, David Nisbet and John Drennan

Scorers: Andy McNaught jnr 2, Andy Dick 2, Ally Dick, S.Stormonth

The Internet Football Association (IFA) hasn’t exactly been a success for us, both on and off the park, but one thing it has done has created opportunities to meet new people from England.

So, how did we manage to get to know Dulwich Hamlet, I hear you all ask. Well, let me explain.

Early in 2008 Nicolas Lucas, a PSG supporter from Namur in Belgium, was on the lookout for a QPR contact so scoured the IFA e-mail list and sent a “hello” to me !

I was happy to explain to Nicolas that he had found the wrong team but, while I had him, how would he like to come and visit Glasgow for our Sixes. Unfortunately Union Namur, his supporters’ team, were unable to make the 2008 Sixes but he kept us in mind for the next time.

The next time was June last year and PSG, in place of Union Namur, arrived at the Sixes and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience, as we did. 

Amongst their number were two Dulwich Hamlet supporters, Mishi and Lawrence, who they had already known for a couple of years, and they suggested a visit by their supporters team some time during the next season.

So, after contacting Mick O’Shaughnessy, one half “The Rabblers” management duo along with Mark “Hutty” Hutton, the game was set for the weekend of 6th March.

Now, not being one to shy away from the possibility of a good weekend, it then became more than just a visit to play some Challenge Match.

Oh no, let’s add in a Friday night get together, a Hampden Tour, a game on Lesser Hampden on the Saturday after the big Queen’s match and throw in a Legends team as well for good measure.

Easy enough to think about but somehow, with help from people at Queen’s we managed it.

The Friday night out was in The State Bar and we managed a fair turnout to see the twenty five visitors from London and Belgium (Nicolas and friends).

Plenty of mingling, plenty of rubbish football talk and plenty of drink was drunk on a night that introduced the teams to each other.

To Saturday and (AKC) Kenny Harvey was kind enough to give the visitors, and a few locals, a Hampden Tour including the Museum and it was as interesting and educational as it always is.

Onto the Social Club for a wee drink, or curer, and then onto Hampden Park to see Queen’s lose an uninspiring game 3-2 to Berwick Rangers.

A quick drink, again, in the Social Club before the teams assembled on Lesser for the big game.

Now, in IFA terms, neither teams set the heather on fire. We are undoubtedly the worst, in terms of results, team in Scotland and Dulwich are down there with the best of them, again on results, like our old friends Leyton Orient.

Both teams canny knack of conceding double figures meant the game wasn’t going to be low scoring with defences on top, surely.

Dulwich had a squad of twenty but we topped that with eventually twenty eight players wearing the hoops and Irn Bru tops during the game.

It was agreed beforehand that we would play three thirds, two of 35 minutes and one of 20 and we decided to put out our youngsters first, the slightly older ones (and Crossers) and the Legends Team.

The young ones were first up and they changed quickly for a long warm up whilst some of their older colleagues were still in the bar (some of them were still in the bar up until the whistle blew to end the second third but enough about Higgy).

The first third of the game was always going to be our hardest one with our younger players, and Paul, all on the pitch at the same time. The reason for that is just the lack of elevens experience.

The Dulwich guys, and one gal, equipped themselves well and had the best of the 35 minutes and the best of the chances.

Paul did well to block an early shot as we had to soak up the early pressure but we came into the game and started to get some passes together.

From our first chance we scored and it was Andy Boy who got the goal when he turned a cross into the net.

A few minutes later The New Machine got his second from close in and we won the first third 2-0 despite Dulwich shading it.

The second third saw our older players, and Craig and Sean, on the pitch as well as all time appearance holder Stevie McGilp who begged to be put on before he appeared for The Legends.

To make the team up to eleven the younger guys took five minute turns up front to give us a boost.

There were more chances for us in this third and the Dick brothers took advantage with Andy getting two and Ally one. It should have been two for Ally as well but for missing an open goal.

There was also a moment of excitement when Fraser beat the offside trap and was put through with only the keeper to beat. As the crowd gasped he tried to knock the ball into the corner but it took a world class save to prevent Fraser’s first goal for the team.

Even the full backs were attacking in this game which wouldn’t normally rate a mention but they were Wee Al and Robert who don’t usually find themselves in the opposition half (even when Robert is playing midfield !).

It wasn’t all one way traffic though and at the other end Dulwich scored their first goal on Scottish soil when Phil Doyle found the net.

Our Crossers nearly got them a second with a passback/shot which Thin Martin did well to save as it headed for the goal.

Five one after seventy minutes then the Legends came on to show their silky skills.

Well it’s fair to say that, apart from CG Machine, our Legends were only kids compared to some of the oldies that Dulwich put on (Hutty recently turned sixty, not that you’d know it !). Mind you, all of ours had made their debuts in the 80’s but just look so young !

I think we eventually ended up with twelve a side and suddenly you saw two teams pass the ball about and use the full width of the Lesser pitch (can I use my poetic licence here ?).

Twenty minutes was the length of the last third, but it seemed longer, and we had time to get some youngsters on the pitch with both Machines getting a run out together up front, to no great effect.

Dulwich opened the scoring when a cross went into the area and Tubsy MaRubsy hauled Mishi to the ground to give away a penalty.

[That could also be written as; the ball went into the area, Mishi fell over, Tubsy MaRubsy was within ten yards so referee Fitzy got a chance to give Dulwich a penalty !]

Ian Gannon stroked the resulting penalty into the corner past a despairing Fat Martin

Martin might have been easy beaten from the spot but he was scrambling around like a Saturday night a few minutes later as a shot dribbled past him and hit the outside of the post and went wide.

The last goal of the game eventually came for our Legends when Stormy lobbed Grif the Dulwich keeper from outside the box to make it 1-1 at the end of our exhibition.

With the game over at last it was back to the Social Club for food,  drink and socialising with a proposed games night being cancelled as nobody could be bothered.

Another excellent night rounded off a fabulous weekend and it was a pleasure to meet the Dulwich lads and lassies.

A huge thanks to Queen’s Park FC and to Keith McAllister of the Supporters Association for all his help. Thanks also to Donna for organising all the strips and the hot food in the Club after the game. And to Fitzy for refereeing the game the way it should have been.

If every IFA game/occasion was played like this we might play more  in “the League”.

I can see this being the start of a beautiful friendship and we will see Dulwich again in Belgium, and possibly at the Chaos. There is also a visit to Dulwich planned for next season.

But it was a weekend to savour and one to remember for a long while. 


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