‘Tis the season to be incredibly cold at football matches, so wrap up warm, use your rolled-up programme to slap some feeling back into your cheeks and join Jordan, Martin, Ronan and Craig as they take us through this weekend’s big matches.
EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY VS GALA FAIRYDEAN ROVERS
Edinburgh University make the trip South as they face Gala Fairydean Rovers at Netherdale this weekend.
The University side sit two points and one place ahead of their hosts but come into this league fixture on the back of two successive defeats after a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Dalbeattie Star last Saturday and a 5-0 thrashing away to BSC Glasgow two weeks ago.
Gala Fairydean Rovers, meanwhile, come into this fixture on the back of a win as they ended their three game losing run. A 2-1 away win at Cumbernauld moved them up to ninth and they are aiming to secure back-to-back victories in the GeoSonic Lowland League for the second time this season.
Prior to that, Gala had lost three games on the bounce, albeit two of them had been to East Kilbride including a stoppage time winner for Kilby to knock Gala out the Scottish Cup.
Goals in this fixture haven’t been a regular occurrence in the past couple of years, with three of the last four meetings finishing 1-0 including an away win for Gala Fairydean Rovers earlier this season in August when Kris Mitchell scored the only goal of the game with sixteen minutes remaining.
Edinburgh University did the double over Gala last year but it’s the home side on Saturday that has the chance to do that this season and in turn, move ahead of their opponents and into eighth place.
ONES TO WATCH
Edinburgh University: Finn Daniels-Yeoman
Gala Fairydean Rovers: Ruari Paton
VALE OF LEITHEN VS EAST STIRLINGSHIRE
It’s tenth vs eleventh at Victoria Park on Saturday as Chris Anderson’s Vale face Derek Ure’s Shire.
The hosts went over a month without a league fixture until last week and faced one of the toughest tasks possible, away to champions Spartans. It was no shock when Vale returned empty handed, but they will be disappointed that the game ended 6-0, and have an opportunity to bounce back on their home turf. When the sides met earlier in the season Vale came out on top with a 3-2 win at The Falkirk Stadium.
The visitors have struggled for consistency this campaign, but a 3-1 triumph at high-flying Edusport last Saturday could be the catalyst to kick start a run that gets Shire back into the top half.
The league’s two top scorers, Ross Allum of East Stirlingshire and Sean Stewart of Vale of Leithen also aim to battle it out for the golden boot.
ONES TO WATCH
Vale of Leithen – Sean Stewart
East Stirlingshire – Ross Allum
BSC GLASGOW VS UNIVERSITY OF STIRLING
Third from top BSC Glasgow host third from bottom University of Stirling at the Indoorhill Stadium on Saturday.
Stephen Swift’s men come into the game on an excellent run, having won four consecutive Lowland League games, including a 3-0 triumph over Kelty Hearts last weekend which could be pivotal in the title race. Target man Martin Grehan has been in fine form having netted in each of his last two games.
The visitors have struggled for form this campaign and lost out 4-1 away to East Kilbride last weekend. However, Chris Geddes’ men did get a morale boosting 5-0 victory during the week after they thrashed East of Scotland side Dunbar United in the Football Nation Cup with Craig Brown scoring a brace.
ONES TO WATCH
BSC Glasgow: Martin Grehan
University of Stirling: Craig Brown
DALBEATTIE STAR VS THE SPARTANS
The home side go into this one knowing that a win can propel them above Stirling Uni in the table. However, it will be a tough task against a Spartans side who have scored ten goals in their last two games.
It has been a stop-start season so far for Spartans and they will probably have hoped to have been higher up the table by this point but their last few performances have been incredibly strong, and they will be confident of going home with all three points.
Dalbeattie Star picked up their first win in six games last time out against Edinburgh Uni and that will give them hope that they can cause an upset and take a vital three points at the bottom. Lewis Sloan was the goalscorer last week at the death and manager Darren Kerr will be hoping for more of the same this week,
ONES TO WATCH
Dalbeattie Star: Lewis Sloan
The Spartans: Stephen MacDonald
EDUSPORT ACADEMY VS GRETNA 2008
Edusport Academy will be hoping they can put an end to their two game losing streak with a win against a Gretna 2008 side who have seriously struggled in recent weeks.
The visiting side have lost six of their last seven and it is a tough ask to travel and face an Edusport side, who despite having lost their last couple, have looked good this season.
Matty Flynn has been particularly impressive for Edsuport this term and he will be looking to add to his seven goals at the weekend. Gretna did win the last time both these sides met, so they will surely use that result as motivation to go out and try and repeat that outcome.
ONES TO WATCH
Edusport Academy: Matty Flynn
Gretna 2008: Malcolm Holliday
EAST KILBRIDE VS WHITEHILL WELFARE
It’s a top vs bottom battle this weekend at K-Park where East Kilbride will hope to widen the gap in the top three after they took the momentum from Kelty Hearts.
In-form Kilby come off a 4-1 victory away to University of Stirling last week, and will go into this fixture hoping for another goal-fest as well as their fifth consecutive win in the Lowland League.
Welfare, however, will go in eager to grab even a point which could prove so important at the end of the season. After Dalbeattie Star’s win last weekend, the gap between the bottom two clubs stretched out to six points.
A new management team on board could see a turnaround in fortunes for the Ferguson Park side in the coming months. Whitehill’s last fixture was a 4-0 defeat to Kelty Hearts in the Football Nation Qualifying Cup, but Welfare held the Fife powerhouse to 0-0 until extra time with an impressive defensive performance, something which will give them hope.
ONES TO WATCH
East Kilbride – Craig Malcolm
Whitehill Welfare – Kevin Keane
CIVIL SERVICE STROLLERS VS KELTY HEARTS
A few weeks ago, Kelty may have gone into this fixture as favourites, however the dramatic events of last weekend mean that this could easily be anyone’s game when they meet Civil Service Strollers at Christie Gillies Park.
Strollers come off a massive win after thumping Gretna 2008 6-0 at Raydale Park. The Edinburgh side, who have dipped in and out of the top four this season will be looking to their in-form attacking trio of Steven Froude, Jordan Hopkinson and Cammy Muirhead to fire them to victory.
Kelty have enjoyed a strong season so far, but suffered their first defeat since August last week when they came apart against BSC Glasgow at New Central Park. Not only did they concede three, they also saw three of their stand-out performers sent off. Ciaren Chalmers and Stephen Husband saw red during the match while top scorer Stuart Cargill was dismissed after the match. The loss of three key players throws this one into doubt and should make for a fascinating encounter in North Edinburgh.