Tuesday 24 September 2013

Alloa - past times

I think that the hardest shot I ever saw from  an opponent at Douglas Park was Stewart Beedie's match winning volley for Hibs in a League Cup tie on a balmy August evening in 1986. Joe McBride's penalty in 1966 for Celtic in their lucky 7-1 win may have run it close, being described admiringly as a "shell" by a nearby Accies fan.

The hardest hit shot by a Hamilton player, however, came incongruously  from none other than wee Jose Quitongo at Alloa's Recreation Park in December 2003. But for the restraining qualities of the net, it is impossible to say where, indeed in what county, the ball otherwise would have come to a halt. Precise calculation was admittedly  made more difficult  by the fact that Jose was actually standing on the Alloa goaline when he unleashed his piledriver.

It may be my failing memory which makes it difficult for me to recall the precise chain of circumstances which led to this startling outcome. Jimmy Greaves once said that Accies players should take the field with miners helmets between the months of November and March, and  in fairness the standard of Alloa's floodlights was even worse than ours. For what it is worth, I remember peering though the gloom and noticing that an Alloa passback had been completely missed (or perhaps not seen) by the Alloa goalkeeper, and Jose running through decided to test whether it was possible to lash the ball over the bar while standing on the goaline- the answer was no....just.

Jose was unperturbed by his exercise in self indulgence and celebrated his goal by leaning nonchalantly on the goalpost, refusing to move, and demanding that his teammates join him to celebrate. Steve Convery  completed the scoring during his  injury break ( ie break from injury), and then ran menacingly towards the Accies fans in the covered enclosure. We were all about to scarper, the cowards that we were, when it became clear that celebration was all that Stevie had on his mind.

The second fixture there saw Hamilton reduced to ten men, then fashion an equaliser - a feat they repeated a week later at Airdrie after Jim Sherry was sent off for a slight foul on Willie McLaren. The controversy at Alloa arose when Stuart Callaghan, not a player afflicted by great self doubt, tangled with Brian Carrigan, who was then somewhat suckered into retaliating against the former Accies man.

That aside, matches between the two have been played out in relatively good spirit in recent years. This was not always the case, however, as in the early 1970s Alloa were alleged with some justification to be one of the dirtiest teams in football. Chief prosecutor was again Accies former programme editor Alan Dick. In December 1973 after two defeats in quick succession, Alan thundered in best London Times editorial style that it had all been worth it, because Accies would not have to play against Alloa again that season. If I remember rightly, Alan surprisingly escaped the wrath of the SFA beaks on this occasion, a rare example of him dodging the rap.

1 comment:

  1. I suspect yesterday's game will be looked back on, in future "Alloa Past Times", as the Alex Neil Handball Game.