2pm 1 September 2012
SJFA West Region, Central League, Division One
Benburb 3 Lanark United 2 (att 73)
Tinto Park has to be one of Scotland's, if not Britain's, most iconic non League venues. Quite why it has taken me so long to get ground to seeing a game here I'm not sure, but I was well rewarded for today's drive up to Glasgow.
Continuing my welcome recent run of good matches, this was another cracker. The sides were well matched, but Lanark, fancied for promotion this season, edged in front after 38 minutes. Benburb couldn't have had a better start to the second half, scoring twice in the first six minutes to take the lead.
The visitors were soon back level though, but in a match that could have gone either way it was the home side who scored a winner.
I was pleased for them. It may sound patronising but it's hard not to like a like club who keep battling against the odds just to survive. Tinto Park is in Govan, just up the road from Ibrox, and has suffered from vandalism and break ins.
The former social club is a derelict shell, and without the hard work of the people who run Benburb FC the ground could easily go the same way. Yet Tinto Park is a gem of a football stadium. It's main feature is a cavernous covered terrace that runs the length of the pitch.
Twenty or so steps of cinder terracing are covered by a high roof. Much of the terracing is uneven and crumbling, weeds are growing through, and broken glass is a hazard. Holes in the roof mean you'd have to careful were to stand on a wet day. Even a half-hearted health and safety officer would have concerns.
One the opposite side, and behind the far goal, is very overgrown open terracing, where in parts it's just about possible to get an elevated view, if you're very careful. Behind the near goal, by the entrance, it looks as if work is underway to lay some new terracing.
I'm not sure how much Rangers are charging for Division Three football this season, but just £4 to see Benburb at Tinto Park is a bargain.