We’re back! It’s been a serious weekend of white hot action and the SLFL Roundup is here to keep you in the know on all the runners and riders.
Islecroft was the only pitch which fell victim to the sudden onset of winter; Dalbeattie Star vs The Spartans will be rearranged for a later date, and it meant that both Star and Spartans could sit back and keep an eye on results around them.
There were two early kick offs as Civil Service Strollers welcomed East Stirlingshire to Christie Gillies Park and University of Stirling travelled to Ferguson Park to take on Whitehill Welfare. The Shire have kicked on in recent weeks and welcomed new(ish) signing Mikey Bolochowechyj into the starting lineup.
It was another familiar face that put them ahead inside 15 minutes though, Andy Rodgers converted a Derek Ure corner. Jamie McCormack doubled The Shire’s advantage before half time and then Liam Allison converted a penalty which saw Civil defender Kyle Fee receive a red card. David Churchill pulled one back for Strollers immediately after the penalty, but they lost another man when Scott Gormley, a trialist in the match, saw red after picking up a second yellow. Final score: 1-3.
University of Stirling are gaining a bit of a reputation for bursting out of the blocks and Kieran Hall put them ahead inside 10 minutes. Whitehill Welfare equalised just after half time when Scott Lucas capitalised on some excellent hold up play to smack the ball past Kevin Walker in the University of Stirling goal. Not to be outdone, Hall was at the double at the back post to put the students back in front. Welfare’s Kyle Mitchell fancied a wee go at the back post too and equalised on 73 minutes.
If you’re in need of some narrative at this point in the SLFL Roundup then step forward Joe Murray, making his debut for Whitehill Welfare on the day he signed for the club. Coming off the bench he would likely have been happy to get up to speed with his new teammates, but destiny called for young Joe and when a loose ball came looping forward, he took to the air and beat Walker with a stunning overhead kick. Final score: 3-2 to Whitehill Welfare.
Edinburgh University enjoyed a wee visit from Vale of Leithen who had new signing Dachi Khutsishvili in their starting XI, the Georgian having joined on loan until Christmas in a deal which saw Jason Stevens join The Spartans on a permanent transfer. Jack Guthrie put the students ahead in the first half but Sean Stewart equalised just after half time to ensure a share of the spoils at Peffermill.
It was a reverse fixture from last weekend for Selkirk and Gretna 2008 as the Black and Whites welcomed Ian Fergus’ side to Raydale Park. It was a reverse of last week’s 2-0 win too as goals from Daryl Healy, George Hunter, and Ciaren Chalmers gave Selkirk a 3-1 win. Gala Fairydean Rovers had Edusport Academy over to their place and obliged them by going 0-1 down to a Louis Babel goal inside 5 minutes. That looked to be it until Stuart Noble took matters into his own hands in second half stoppage time. He scored two in three minutes to give Gala the victory before dedicating his two goals to his new niece Norah Jane. Lovely stuff.
That brings us to the top of the league. With The Spartans out of action it fell to BSC Glasgow and East Kilbride to show what they had as they took on Cumbernauld Colts and Hawick Royal Albert respectively.
BSC were put to the sword by Colts last week and Stephen Swift’s side would have welcomed the chance to do it all again this weekend at Broadwood. Their desperation to avenge their heaviest defeat of the season – a 1-4 home loss – counted against them in the early stages and Sean Brown put Colts ahead after just 5 minutes. They found themselves two behind after 40 minutes in a tempestuous encounter.
Ciaran Donnelly pulled a goal back for BSC on the stroke of half time and Stevie Murray equalised just after half time. There were four yellow cards apiece in what is fast becoming a showpiece derby despite BSC Glasgow’s Alloa exile, before Martin Grehan picked up a second yellow and was sent for an early bath with ten minutes left in the game. Final score: 2-2.
East Kilbride were on the road at Albert Park where Craig Tully’s charges, Hawick Royal Albert, were looking for a boost at the foot of the SLFL table. Michael Anderson’s goal for Kilby just before half time was the highlight of a first half where Hawick defended admirably.
Ross McNeil added a second just after half time and Anderson followed it up just a minute later. Things seemed to be going wrong for the Albert but David McCaughie netted for them with five minutes to go in the game and then A. Trialist (a very busy player indeed), pulled the score back to 2-3 to offer encouraging signs for Tully’s side.
Tight At The Top
These results mean that it’s suddenly very tight at the top. East Kilbride move level on points with BSC Glasgow with a game in hand but The Spartans will feel very comfortable in third. They have three games in hand over BSC Glasgow and are just 5 points behind them.
A mere six points separate fourth and ninth with East Stirlingshire resurgent and Gala Fairydean Rovers hitting form at the right time. Selkirk, Gretna 2008 and Cumbernauld Colts are locked in combat over that fourth place and will be looking to take advantage of any slip-ups from the top three.
Civil Service Strollers and Whitehill Welfare aren’t too far behind the pack, along with Edinburgh University but Edusport Academy and Vale of Leithen will be looking over their shoulders as they are just two points ahead of Dalbeattie Star in 15th, but Star have games in hand. Things continue to look bleak for Hawick Royal Albert in last place. They’re 11 points off their nearest rivals and are still to put any points on the board.
Things are starting to look very interesting indeed…
Here’s the all-important league table…
|8||University of Stirling||15||8||2||5||26||21||5||26|
|10||Gala Fairydean Rovers||16||6||3||7||29||33||-4||21|
|11||Civil Service Strollers||17||5||4||8||25||29||-4||19|
|14||Vale of Leithen||16||4||1||11||16||39||-23||13|
|16||Hawick Royal Albert||15||0||0||15||5||65||-60||0|
And here’s the top goalscorers list…
|Jack Smith||BSC Glasgow||15|
|Martin Grehan||BSC Glasgow||13|
|Ross McNeil||East Kilbride||11|
|Stuart Noble||Gala Fairydean Rovers||11|
|Sean Brown||Cumbernauld Colts||10|
|Ross Allum||The Spartans||10|
|Kevin Connelly||Gretna 2008||9|
|Paul Sludden||East Stirlingshire||8|
|Gary Redpath||BSC Glasgow||8|
|Jake Smith||Gretna 2008||7|
|Stuart Gray||Gretna 2008||7|
|Kieran Hall||University of Stirling||7|
|Steven Froude||Civil Service Strollers||7|
|Nathan Evans||Edinburgh University||6|
|Craig Murray||Cumbernauld Colts||6|
|Andy Rodgers||East Stirlingshire||6|
|Michael Anderson||East Kilbride||5|
|Liam Coogans||East Kilbride||5|
|Gary Nicholson||Whitehill Welfare||5|