This weekend my attention switched to north of the border and my first Scottish trip of the season.
When the draw was made for the second round of the Scottish Cup there were two ties that stood out for me Linlithgow Rose v Stirling Albion and Preston Athletic v Montrose. After much deliberation, I opted for the latter and a trip to East Lothian.
Founded in 1945, Preston Athletic play in the Lowland League and are based at Pennypit Park in the town of Prestonpans. They became a senior club in 1994, when they joined the East of Scotland League, and were founder members of the Lowland League in 2013. The club is also a full member of the Scottish FA, meaning automatic qualification for the Scottish Cup.
Pennypit Park is in a fairly central location, just off the high street. There is a large stand but the rest of the ground is grass banking. It is next door to the rugby club, which is almost identical, but for a marginally bigger stand, There is a clubhouse in the corner serving traditional fayre, so naturally a pie (or two) had to be scoffed! The Goth brewpub is a three minute walk from the ground, so pre-match was spent sampling the wares of the brewery.
The town of is famous as the site of the 1745 Battle of Prestonpans, which was an attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for the exiled House of Stuart, and was the first major battle in this Jacobite Rising, which took place on 21 September 1745.
Today the theatre of conflict was on the football field as the Panners looked to overcome league two strugglers Montrose. The Gable Endies have already lost to non-league opposition in a cup competition this season, having been dumped out of the Challenge Cup by Turiff United. However, it would be a task for the home side as they themselves are not exactly firing on all cylinders and currently prop up the Lowland League table.
It was obvious from the opening exchanges that there was going to be no upset here. Preston really should have been (at least) 3 down at HT but some of the Montrose finishing was woeful, also Craig Pennycuik in the Panners goal made some fine stops. It remained goalless at the break.
Moments after restart though Preston were awarded a penalty for a push in the box but Ross Colquhoun's (48) effort was saved by Allan Fleming. Two minutes later Montrose finally made the breakthrough with a spot kick of their own, after a trip in the area, Gary Fraser stepping up to score.
A second goal was quickly added, when Chris Templeman (67) fired home from the edge of the box. Game over. A further goal followed, substitute Jonny Court (86) poking the ball home from a few yards out, there were also plenty more missed chances in between for the visitors.
Preston left the field with 8 men as, in the 3 minutes of stoppage time, the referee brandished red cards to Jack Jardine (dangerous play) Gavin Stevenson (second yellow) and then Danny O'Rourke saw red after the final whistle. That completed a miserable afternoon for the home side, who competed well but were comprehensively beaten.