Throughout the ages the week of the 5th November has been synonymous with observance and celebration as people come together to ooh and ahh at fireworks. You can probably see where this is going since most of the fireworks were in the Lowland League this weekend. It must be the return of the SLFL Roundup…
SLFL Matchday 13
Undoubtedly the standout game in the league this weekend was the matchup between third place East Kilbride and second place The Spartans, who were looking to capitalise on any mistakes from BSC Glasgow and leapfrog them. Our reporter Ronan Alexander was at K Park to watch the action…
‘Ross McNeil’s 10th goal of the season was enough for East Kilbride to defeat Spartans and climb to second in the table. The vital goal came after 20 minutes, when a lofted through ball was played into the path of right back Scott Stevenson, who headed across goal for Ross McNeil to nod home at the back post.
Spartans left back Craig Stevenson caused problems for the hosts, as he had a 20 yard strike whistle narrowly over the bar, before his cross was met by Alan Brown, but his glancing header went just wide of the post.
The visitors pressed for an equaliser in the second half but couldn’t get their reward. Jamie Dishington saw two headers miss the target before Ross Allum had a snapshot which also failed to find the net.
After having three penalty claims waved away, Spartans best chance came in the dying minutes when an in-swinging corner was met by a Paul Thomson bullet header which was cleared off the line and Kilby held on for a crucial three points.’
Kick off at Victoria Park was 2pm where Vale of Leithen welcomed the leaders BSC Glasgow who knew that they couldn’t afford to slip up with East Kilbride and The Spartans hot on their heels (bonfire joke? anyone? no?). BSC had scored 40 goals in the SLFL this season and Vale had conceded 31 going into the match. BSC’s lethal strike force of Martin Grehan, Jack Smith, and Gary Redpath, all bagged a goal each before centre half Ciaran Donnelly added to the scoreline in the second half.
The win for BSC gives them a two point cushion but things are really hotting up in a three-horse race as we approach the midway stage of the season.
Yarrow Park was the scene of another potential coup as we approached the match thinking about what a difference a season makes. At this point last year Selkirk were languishing at the bottom of the league under Garry O’Connor and John Sludden’s East Stirlingshire were smashing all in their path but finding it tough to overcome East Kilbride and their incredible winning streak at the top of the SLFL.
Fast forward a year and Ian Fergus’ Selkirk find themselves in fourth place in the league and East Stirlingshire have been struggling to recreate the form that saw them end last season as the league’s top scorers. A thriller was in store but Paul Sludden had other ideas as he put Shire ahead inside five minutes. Andy Rodgers returned to the side to make it two just before half time before Sludden completed a 0-3 away win for East Stirlingshire on 57 minutes.
Selkirk remain in fourth thanks to other results going their way but the win propels East Stirlingshire into eighth with two games in hand over their nearest competition Cumbernauld Colts.
Colts themselves welcomed Civil Service Strollers to Broadwood looking to build on their excellent home form. A very early goal from Sean Brown stood Colts in good stead but Matt Cunningham pulled one back for Strollers on the half hour which is how the match ended. 1-1.
Gretna 2008 and University of Stirling have impressed so far this season and the two teams met at Raydale, both keen to cement a Top Six place. It was the Uni which ran out 0-1 winners thanks to a second half strike from Lewis Bonar, but there will have been plenty in the Black & Whites’ performance to encourage their fans going into the second half of the season.
Gala Fairydean Rovers will be looking for encouraging signs going into the second half of the season and a 0-2 away win at Islecroft against a struggling Dalbeattie Star side will do much for their confidence after last week’s last gasp comeback against Colts. Goals from Sean Paliczka and a last minute strike from Adam Watson was enough for Gala, but Dalbeattie Star fans will be worried by their form, left with only eight points from twelve games. Of course, they do have two in hand over Vale of Leithen and Darren Kerr won’t be hitting the panic button just yet.
Edinburgh University and Edusport Academy have had slightly topsy turvy starts to the season and the two met at Peffermill with both sides looking to take three points in one of the weekend’s most thrilling matches. Jack Guthrie found the net inside ten minutes for the Uni and the hosts were 3-0 up at half time thanks to goals from Mark Gair and Nathan Evans. Whatever Ricky Waddell said to his side at half time must have lit their touch paper as they pulled the game back to 3-3.
Connor Higgins, Louis Babel and danger man Raffi Krissian all found the net as Edusport looked to be in the ascendency, giving them the opportunity to snatch a win from the jaws of defeat. Unfortunately for them, Edinburgh University heads didn’t go down and Rafa Calbacho put them back into the lead with ten minutes to go before Guthrie scored again to make it 5-3.
Last but not least, Whitehill Welfare made the trip to Hawick Royal Albert‘s Albert Park on Saturday looking to build on last weekend’s 3-0 win over Dalbeattie Star in their bottom-two double-header. The Albert are struggling at the foot of the table and the goal they scored on Saturday could be seen as a sign of progress. David McCaughie hit the back of the net but it wasn’t enough to cancel out goals from Ryan McKenzie, Dylan Weldon, Gary Nicholson and Jack Wright as Welfare ran out 1-4 winners.
Next weekend sees SLFL teams in Cup action. The scores will be on the website after the matches and the SLFL Roundup will return with more fireworks – or at least sparklers – from the Scottish Lowland Football League in two weeks’ time!
Here’s the all-important league table…
|7||University of Stirling||13||7||2||4||21||17||4||23|
|8||Civil Service Strollers||15||5||4||6||23||23||0||19|
|10||Gala Fairydean Rovers||15||5||3||7||27||32||-5||18|
|14||Vale of Leithen||15||4||0||11||15||38||-23||12|
|16||Hawick Royal Albert||13||0||0||13||3||55||-52||0|
And here’s the top goalscorers list…
|Jack Smith||BSC Glasgow||15|
|Martin Grehan||BSC Glasgow||12|
|Ross McNeil||East Kilbride||10|
|Ross Allum||The Spartans||9|
|Gary Redpath||BSC Glasgow||8|
|Paul Sludden||East Stirlingshire||8|
|Kevin Connelly||Gretna 2008||8|
|Sean Brown||Cumbernauld Colts||7|
|Stuart Gray||Gretna 2008||7|
|Steven Froude||Civil Service Strollers||6|
|Stuart Noble||Gala Fairydean Rovers||6|
|Jake Smith||Gretna 2008||5|
|Thomas Garnier||Edusport Academy||5|
|Liam Coogans||East Kilbride||5|
|Gary Nicholson||Whitehill Welfare||5|
|Ahmed Bouchentouf||Edusport Academy||5|
|Andy Rodgers||East Stirlingshire||5|
|Jack Wright||Whitehill Welfare||5|
|Chris Geddes||University of Stirling||5|