Royal Albert v East Kilbride Thistle

2pm  8 September 2018

SJFA West Region, League One
Royal Albert 0 East Kilbride Thistle 1 (att 45)

Royal Albert Athletic (to give their rarely-used full title) are usually among the whipping boys at the wrong end of the West Region leagues. That changed last season when they won their division, an impressive feat considering they were effectively homeless due to major drainage problems at Tileworks Park.

I wondered if they'd ever be able to return to the ground in Stonehouse, but a few weeks ago they finally did, following extensive work to sort out the troublesome pitch.

Tileworks Park was previously home to the now-defunct junior club Stonehouse Violet. Royal Albert moved in after losing their own former ground in nearby Larkhall. Fingers crossed for them that after promotion and a return 'home' they can get some stability.

It's a neat and tidy ground, that seems to have been co-opted into a municipal sports facility. The pitch is railed off, with dugouts on one side and a small and low-roofed covered standing area for spectators opposite.

Royal Albert have a long history, and even played in the Scottish League in the 1920s. After their promotion last season they've made a good start to life in the higher division, and were unlucky to lose a close game to local rivals East Kilbride Thistle.

The only goal came in the first half, and Royal Albert were out of luck, twice hitting the frame of the goal. It was a game that was interesting without being exciting, but I was just pleased to have got to a ground that I thought I might have missed forever.

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