Oh yes, we’re back! It’s the SLFL Roundup and it’s been another exciting week in the Scottish Lowland Football League with thrills, spills, action, and injuries… here’s the update.
First up, don’t forget that this coming weekend is Non-League Day and all 16 SLFL teams are in action. Get along, support your local club, and have a fantastic, inexpensive, day out in the process!
Cast your minds back to the dim and distant past of last weekend when most of the SLFL were in action on William Hill Scottish Cup duty but last season’s Top 2, East Kilbride and East Stirlingshire, had the chance to slug it out at K Park.
Billy Stark and John Sludden’s teams were runaways at the top of the division last season but Kilby went into their game in hand looking to reel in BSC Glasgow’s 5-point lead while Shire found themselves in 10th prior to the match after some indifferent form in their opening league games.
It was all set up to be a fascinating encounter and it showed signs of the way the match was to go when Andy Rodgers’ cracked the bar in the first couple of minutes. Liam Allison opened the scoring for Shire after six minutes with a free header from a corner before Paul Sludden doubled the lead ten minutes later when his strike took a wicked deflection off Kilby captain Barry Russell leaving ‘keeper Jacob Kean stranded.
In spite of the goals, the first half was fairly even with both sides putting together some good passages of play. Unfortunately for the home fans at K Park, it was a different story in the second half when Drew Ramsay, having a good game at left back, crossed in for Sludden who flicked the ball into the air with his left foot and volleyed past Kean with his right. Goals from Derek Ure and Kevin Kelbie gave East Stirlingshire a morale-boosting win against the SLFL champions and left many Kilby fans scratching their heads after their first league defeat of the season.
East Stirlingshire therefore prepared for Matchday 9, an away trip to Hawick Royal Albert, and would have been confident of a result against the league’s basement side who have been very much improved in recent weeks. Unfortunately for Sludden’s men, the match fell victim to the weather and will have to be rearranged for later in the season.
Billy Stark’s East Kilbride travelled to Peffermill looking for a much improved performance from his charges. Their opponents, Dorian Ogunro’s Edinburgh University, who started the weekend in second bottom were looking to build on a solid win over Lossiemouth in the Scottish Cup.
Uni midfielder Finn Daniels-Yeoman is developing a bit of a reputation for scoring rockets and he promptly cemented it by picking up the ball inside two minutes and unleashing a screamer past Jacob Kean in the EK goal. Both sides toiled in the game somewhat and East Kilbride pulled level thanks to a Liam Coogans goal in the in the 74th minute.
The Spartans managed to turn Kilby’s struggles to their advantage as they travelled to Yarrow Park to take on Ian Fergus’ Selkirk. Ryan Sclater picked up an incredibly early yellow for The Souters before assistant referee Emma Hignant got a sore foot thanks to an accidental collision with Spartans’ Ross Guthrie. Ouch!
Play stopped. @Guffman24 has-stood, albeit accidentally, on Lino Emma Hignant's toes on the touchline! 0-0
— The Spartans FC (@spartansfc) September 30, 2017
Ross Allum sent the Edinburgh side in at half time 0-1 up. It was Allum at the double for Spartans as he converted a pass from Dachi Khutsishvili to make it 0-2 and send them into second.
Gretna 2008 were keen to get their season back on track as they welcomed BSC Glasgow to Raydale Park. BSC took the lead in the second half through the ever-reliable Martin Grehan before the equally reliable Stuart Gray levelled things up for Gretna. Jake Smith then popped up to put Gretna 2-1 ahead before Jack Smith (no relation… I think) equalised and gave league leaders a share of the spoils.
Gala Fairydean Rovers and Civil Service Strollers played out a 0-0 draw which is only the third goalless draw in the league this season (SLFL for thrills!) and marks a much improved performance for Gala who have struggled in recent weeks. Islecroft was the scene as Liam Park put Dalbeattie Star ahead in the first half before Jamie Waddell levelled for Cumbernauld Colts at the beginning of the second half. The game ended 1-1 which gave both sides one point, in case you’re new to the sport.
A red card made the difference at Ferguson Park where Whitehill Welfare met Vale of Leithen. Jack Wright coolly beat Ross Gilpin in the opening salvos after a pass from Gary Nicholson. Shaun Stevens equalised for Vale with a beautifully struck shot from the edge of the box but it was a straight red card for Craig McBride, who denied Welfare a goalscoring opportunity which turned an even game. Connor McGregor (not that one) stepped up and stroked the free kick home to give Gary Small’s side the three points.
Congratulations are also in order for Edusport Academy and University of Stirling who were in Scottish Cup replay action. They both went through and will play Elgin City and Montrose respectively.
We now go full throttle into a full card of midweek fixtures which means next Monday’s roundup will be a bumper double feature where we look at
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|