JOHNSTONE BURGH XI 4 DUKLA PUMPHERSTON 2
A CROWD turned out to honour Burgh legend Alan Donohoe and saw his side win a good-spirited match against the celebrities of Dukla Pumpherston in the sunshine at Keanie Park.
Among the star-studded line-up for Alan’s testimonial match was former Burgh favourite and ex-Saint Frank McAvennie, who once again wore the red of Johnstone Burgh and rolled back the years.
In fact, the prolific striker, who cut his teeth in the Junior ranks with Burgh before going on to become a legend at Love Street, Celtic Park and Upton Park with West Ham, played in Davy Brolly on five minutes but his shot was well saved by Mick Monaghan.
Macca had an opportunity five minutes later with a snapshot which drifted narrowly over the bar.
Dukla didn’t just show up to let Burgh win and had a chance a minute later when Grant Inglis fed Gordon Parks, but his drive was palmed away by man-of-the-moment Donohoe.
Brolly did well after 16 minutes to drive towards the byline and while his cross was missed by McAvennie, the ball was swept home by Mark Ferris from close range to give the home side the lead.
Ferris was having fun by now and forced a great save from Monaghan after a swift counter attack and from the resulting corner Archie Halley’s header was narrowly wide of the post.
Next up was ex-Aberdeen and Rangers midfielder, Dougie Bell, who found himself 20 yards out on the half hour, but his rising shot was tipped over by Donohoe away to safety.
Burgh doubled their lead two minutes before the break when Danny McKelvie drilled in a cross from the left which was converted into the net via a looping shot from Alan Frater.
McKelvie turned from supplier to scorer nine minutes after the interval when he sprinted from his own half after a Dukla attack and ran in on goal before picking his spot to make it 3–0 to Burgh.
On the hour mark current Burgh assistant manager Eddie McKim rolled back the years as he found himself 25 yards from goal and unleashed a dipping drive which beat Monaghan and flew into the net for what was easily the goal of the day.
Donohoe, 35, left he pitch soon after to a deserved ovation and it was fitting for the big man that he survived his own testimonial with a clean sheet and a few good saves.
Burgh continued to press and McKelvie hit the post after a mazy run by James Donnelly down the left wing.
The ex-pros weren’t finished and ex-Kilmarnock midfielder Robert Reilly brought out a great save from Billy Walker in the Burgh goal from a direct free kick.
Dukla did manage to make the score more respectable as a double from Stephen Mooney, firstly with a close-range controlled shot and secondly from the penalty spot, gave the game a more exciting finish.
But the day was all about Donohoe and he deservedly took a further bow after the full time whistle.
Afterwards Donny, a Burgh stalwart for 12 years, said: “The weather made the day for us, it was brilliant.
“You are obviously aware of the likes of Frank McAvennie coming and you worry that people will not turn up but it made the day for me to have him there.
“It was a joy being on the same park as Dukla Pumpherston, a team where there’s a lot of good ex-footballers, although they didn’t give me that much to do right enough!
“It was a brilliant day and a great crowd as well.”
Burgh manager George Walker hailed the turnout for his star goalkeeper and said: “I think it was a terrific turnout for Donny, especially with Frank McAvennie coming and Gerry Collins bringing Dukla Pumpherston and we really appreciated it.
“Dukla are just back from Bulgaria and I’d like to thank them and also Frank for coming.
“It was his third game this week, so we really appreciate it.
“Obviously they got a bit of banter going and we’d like to thank the cheerleaders and the officials for helping out on the day.”