2020 has been a year like no other for Tayport FC and every other football club in the country. The Coronavirus pandemic saw football for all Junior football teams postponed for over 6 months meaning that we have only played 18 matches (with 11 of them being competitive) in 2020. As we leave 2020 and move into 2021 we thought we would take a look back at things on and off the pitch at Tayport FC.
The first half of the 2019/20 season was extremely hard going for the team as the club went through a transition period with players coming and going. It took until December 14th to get our first league victory meaning we went into 2020 bottom of the North Super League with only 8 points, after 12 games. But the signs that things were starting to improve and our fortunes were changing were becoming clear as we won our first two league matches of 2020. A 5-3 win away to Luncarty and 5-0 home win against Kirrie Thistle moved us off the foot of the table. Despite our challenges in the league we had made it through to the 5th round of the Scottish Junior Cup where we faced the holders Auchinleck, arguably the best team in Scottish Junior Football. Despite the great challenge that lay ahead the team produced their best performance of the season narrowly missing out on a replay with Talbot scoring in the dying moments, winning the tie 2-1.
After the challenge of Auchinleck another tough opponent awaited us as we faced the league leaders Carnoustie. Despite another positive performance the game ended in a 1-0 defeat but the signs were clear that the team were heading in the right direction against one of the best teams in the league. The positive performances were then rewarded with a 3-1 victory against Kirrie Thistle which saw us move clear of the relegation spots. Two postponements due to the weather meant that our next game wasn’t until the end of February with a cup tie against East Craigie. The first poor performance of the year saw us go out of the Thornton’s Property East Region League Cup as East Craigie beat another team in the league above them winning the tie 3-2.
Our last game for many months came on March 7th when we beat Dundee North End 5-2 on league business, this victory illustrated how far the team had come since the start of the season seeing that only back in August North End had won 7-2 at the Canniepairt. This game was to be the last of the 19/20 season with the league being suspended and then abandoned due to COVID. Life as we knew it was put on hold but never back in March did we think it would be till the end of November that we would return to competitive action and that March 7th would be the last time in 2020 that we would play in front of fans.
April 2020 – July 2020
As the weeks rolled on it became clear that COVID would mean that it would be sometime till the team returned to action. Each region had to make the decision on what was going to happen to the 19/20 league season, the East Region took the decision to abandon the season and declared it null and void. We were in 7th position out of 10 in the North Super League when the season was abandoned meaning our stats for the 19/20 season were played 17, won 6 (4 wins coming in 2020), 2 draws and 9 defeats resulting in a total of 20 points. We can only guess what would have happened if the season had continued but all the signs were positive and hopefully we would have continued to climb up the league and who knows how far we would have gone in the DJ Laing East Region Cup.
With nobody coming through the gates, wit no car boot sales or fundraising events we like many other teams in Scotland began to fear for our future. The club set up a Just Giving page to keep the club going and the support we received was incredible with the page raising £3,635 which kept the club alive. We are still extremely grateful to everyone who supported the club in our time of need.
As there was no football taking place the committee took advantage of the quiet Canniepairt and began carrying out major refurbishments in the club house. The extension of our facilities which had begun before the pandemic, were completed with the former Tayport Thistle portacabin being added onto the existing club house. The extension has added additional changing facilities, a conference room and office space which can be used for a variety of events for both the club and the community. Work also began upstairs with a new kitchen being installed, along with a new bar area and the lounge being transformed. We can’t wait until spectators can return to the club and see the transformation that has taken place. The facilities are not only for the football club but will be available to community groups and for private hire. We want the whole of Tayport to benefit from our facilities.
After 5 months without team training the players were allowed to return to the club to train. When the team returned there were four new additions to the squad. Experienced goalkeeper Gary Thain signed from Forfar West End with winger Zak Wilson also coming from West End. Defender Bradie Heggie joined from Luncarty and attacking midfielder Jamie McCabe signed from Carnoustie Panmure.
There were also players that were part of the team in January who did not return in August. Captain Ryan Suttie moved to Carnoustie Panmure, long serving midfielder Jamie Mackie left the club and is playing for Fife Thistle, Barrie Gourlay who made 2 appearances for the club is now at Forfar West End. After an impressive loan spell young defender Danny Strachan returned to Dundee FC and lastly Spanish striker Alejandro Cabrera is now playing his football in Lanzarote for UD after one appearance for Tayport. With Suttie’s departure Greg White was appointed as the new club captain.
There were also new signings off the pitch with the club appointing their first communications officer as Pete McEleny took up the role and joined the committee. The club then asked for volunteers to join our first media team to produce varied and attractive content for multiple platforms with the hope that it will engage new people with the club. We were delighted with the response we received and now have a young and enthusiastic media team consisting of Chloe Robinson, Charlotte Cohen, Matthew Morrison, Emma Madill and Gordon Bonness.
An ease in restrictions in the summer months meant our Sunday car boot sales were allowed to return which was a massive boost to the club. The car boot sales meant there was an income coming into the club again after many months with no income. The boot sales ran every Sunday till October with only 1 cancellation due to weather. The club are extremely grateful to everyone who supported the car boot sales in 2020.
Initially only non-contact training was allowed but as the weeks rolled on contact training was approved which meant friendly matches were allowed to take place. Our first friendly took place away to Glenrothes FC who are now part of the East of Scotland League with us winning the game 5-2. Our first match back at the Canniepairt was a 9-2 victory against Premiership South side Fauldhouse United with Dayle Robertson scoring 4 of the goals. Before our next match, another new face was added to the squad with striker Gordon Norrie joining from Kinnoull FC. The last game of the month was against another East of Scotland team as we took on Lochore Welfare in a tight match but which ended in a 3-2 victory to the Port.
In October, the East Region announced that the league would not be starting in October and instead was scheduled to begin on 21st November. Although no competitive action was permitted friendly matches were allowed to continue. We played 3 matches this month winning all three, beating Syngenta Juniors 3-2, Lochee Harp 5-3 and Dundee Violet 4-2.
Our last friendly match saw our first defeat since returning to action in September with Bo’ness United Juniors winning 4-0 at the Canniepairt.
After a long wait the league season was upon us but the league structure was not the same as the one that was abandoned in March. Last season the East Region had 4 leagues, Super League North and South and Premiership North and South. For the 20/21 season the East Region now only had 2 leagues a North Premiership and a South Premiership. This was due to more teams deciding to join the East of Scotland league, meaning clubs in the East Region Juniors reduced to 29 from 38. For the new season, the North Premiership was made up of 17 teams with the South Premiership being made up of 12 teams.
Before our first league match in the North Premiership there were a few more comings and goings at the club. After training with the squad for pre-season and playing as a trialist in friendly matches midfielder Louis Joyce signed from Dundee FC on loan till the end of the season. Whilst Joyce signed on loan, defender Luke O’Brien left on loan signing for Arbroath Victoria.
After a long 37 weeks without a competitive match being played the day finally arrived on Saturday 21st November as we travelled to Blairgowrie. We left Davie Park with all 3 points after recording a 1-0 victory thanks to a goal from Dayle Robertson. Our first competitive game back at the Canniepairt came the week after against Brechin Victoria where the team came flying out of the traps and were 5-0 up at half time and added another 2 in the second half. A great day at the office for the team and for Robertson who scored 4 of the 7 goals.
Off the park the renovations at the Canniepairt continued, alongside the work inside the club house improvements to the pitch have also been made and our training lights have been upgraded.
In squad news young midfielder Kyle Middleton left the club and is now a free agent.
A waterlogged pitch at Glenesk Park meant our game against Dundee Violet was called off. But we were back in action the following week as Forfar West End came to the Canniepairt. After a tight first half which ended 1-1, Tayport dominated the second half after West End were reduced to 10 men. Two second half goals from Dayle Robertson saw the 3 points stay at the Canniepairt. After the game we added a new face to the squad with defensive midfielder Jamie Hume joining from Carnoustie YM. Hume made his debut in the last game of 2020 when we faced East Craigie away. Going into the game the team knew it would be their toughest challenge of the league season so far, but the team rose to the occasion and produced a great performance which saw us leave with all 3 points. The 3-1 victory meant we ended 2020 with maximum points from 4 league matches, sitting second in the league behind Lochee United who have played one game more. 2021 will begin with a top of the table clash as Lochee United travel to the Canniepairt.
This time last year we could never have imagined only playing 11 competitive games in 2020 but despite the long shut down the transformation of the team is clear for all to see. This time last year we were bottom of the league and now we are sitting second in the league table. We have only lost 3 competitive games this year and two of them were against Auchinleck and Carnoustie. In total we have played 18 games in 2020 and have won 14, scoring 64 goals conceding 31 goals. We don’t know what 2021 is going to bring in the ongoing pandemic but in relation to the team all the signs are extremely positive, we have a settled squad full of great talent and we go into the new year full of confidence and optimism. We are really hoping that it won’t be long till supporters are allowed to return to the Canniepairt and get behind the team. We also can’t wait for supporters and the community to see the transformed club house and facilities.
We would like to thank everyone that has supported the team during this challenging year, supporters, sponsors and everyone else. Tayport Football Club would like to wish you a very happy new year.
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11 competitive matches – 8 wins – 3 defeats
18 matches overall – 14 wins – 4 defeats
1 League defeat, 2 cup defeats and 1 friendly defeat
35 competitive goals scored
29 goals scored in friendlies
64 goals scored in total
14 competitive goals conceded
17 goals conceded in friendlies
31 goals conceded in total
Tayport Goal Scorers in 2020 (includes friendly matches)
26 goals Dayle Robertson
7 goals Liam McArtney
7 goals Jamie McCabe
4 goals Jamie Gill
4 goals Gordon Norrie
2 goals Greg Whyte
2 goal Greg Breen
2 goals Bradie Heggie
2 goals Zak Wilson
1 goal Kris Rollo
1 goal Craig Sturrock
1 goal Lyall Shaw
1 goal Jamie Mackie
4 own goals by other teams