Lowland League Preview – Matchday 11

It’s arguably the biggest weekend of the season so far with huge games at both the top and bottom of the Lowland League table

edinburgh university vs gretna 2008

By Craig Edwards

Gretna 2008 go in search of their first league win of the season as they visit East Peffermill to face Edinburgh University.

Chris Humphrey’s side lost narrowly last weekend to leaders Bonnyrigg Rose following their Scottish Cup triumph over Hill of Beath two weeks ago while their midweek game against Gala Fairydean Rovers was postponed following a floodlight failure.

Edinburgh University have only won once this season back in August when they beat Vale of Leithen and only picked up the solitary point in September against fellow uni side, University of Stirling.

Both sides need the points following poor starts to the season and three points for Gretna would move them off the bottom of the Lowland League table.

ones to watch

edinburgh university – patrick baird

gretna 2008 – japhet mata

Berwick Rangers vs Kelty Hearts

By Ronan Alexander

Kelty Hearts are looking to extend their six game winning streak in the Lowland League when they travel to Berwick Rangers on Saturday.

The Wee Gers are winless in four but can count themselves unlucky to not have picked up three points in any of those fixtures having gone down narrowly to East Kilbride and surrendered a 2-0 lead at home to Cumbernauld Colts last Saturday. Daryl Healy has been free scoring for Ian Little’s side and his presence will be important if Berwick are to begin climbing the table on Saturday.

Barry Ferguson’s men came from behind on Tuesday to defeat University of Stirling 4-1 as Nathan Austin took his tally to 18 goals already this season. Kelty added to their squad through the week with the loan signing of Raith Rovers defender Fernandy Mendy who links up with the New Central Park side until January. The signing came after the departure of Sean O’Neil to Crossgates Primrose and club captain Murray Carstairs relocating to England.

Ones to watch

Berwick Rangers – Kevin Waugh

Kelty Hearts – Thomas Reilly

East Stirlingshire vs Civil Service Strollers

By Gregor Mackintosh

East Stirlingshire will welcome Gary Jardine’s Civil Service Strollers side to the Falkirk Stadium on Saturday, as both teams search for another win to push up the Lowland League table.

Shire will be in good spirits going into this encounter, as they have picked up successive wins against Caledonian Braves last Saturday, winning 3-0 before dispatching struggling Vale of Leithen comfortably with a 6-1 win on Wednesday night. Likewise, Civil Service will come into this one with the feeling that they can take home the 3 points to Christie Gillies Park, after a 3-1 win over Edinburgh University and an impressive 2-0 away victory over Cumbernauld Colts ensures Gary Jardine’s men march on in search of their high league finish.

Strollers currently sit in 4th place, gathering 6 wins so far from their opening 10 games, whilst Shire sit a place below in 5th, however a win for Shire will see them leapfrog Strollers as they are currently a point behind with a game in hand.

Shire will look for Jamie Dishington to carry over his goalscoring form after scoring 4 goals in the 6-1 win over Vale of Leithen, and has shown to be a difficult man to contain on the wings for opposing teams so far this season, while the experience of ex Falkirk and Dundee United midfielder Mark Millar was also prove crucial in the middle of the park for Shire at the weekend.

Strollers are by no means an easy side to beat this season, which was shown with an impressive 1-1 draw to high flying Bonnyrigg Rose earlier in the season as well as a 2-1 win over Spartans and a 1-0 win over defending champions East Kilbride. Civil have relied on a steady back line so far this season and will be looking for this to continue in order to take all 3 points.

Ones to watch

East Stirlingshire – Jamie Dishington

Civil Service Strollers – Josh Morris

gala fairydean rovers vs bsc glasgow

By Martin Fleming

BSC Glasgow make the long journey to Galashiels this weekend hoping to get back on winning form, while the home side will hope for an upset, especially after their midweek fixture against Gretna 2008 was postponed just before the game due to a floodlight failure.

Neil Hastings’ men will have surely been left frustrated at the electrical failure at Raydale as the game could’ve picked them up a crucial three points. Their last league outing was a 3-0 defeat to 2nd place Kelty Hearts, however they will not be out of confidence with their 3-1 Scottish Cup victory over Dalbeattie Star still fresh in their minds.

BSC will surely come in as favourites after going on a run of five consecutive victories to secure a top 3 place. Their last game, however couldn’t get the edge over East Kilbride as it ended 1-1. Another three points could close the gap between themselves and Kelty Hearts as well as maybe move away from Civil Service Strollers hot on their tails.

Ones to watch

Gala Fairydean Rovers – Yrik Galantes

BSC Glasgow – Jamie McCormack

Vale of Leithen vs Cumbernauld Colts

By Ronan Alexander

Now off the bottom of the table, Vale of Leithen welcome an inconsistent Cumbernauld Colts to Victoria Park tomorrow.

The Vale earned a vital three points away to Dalbeattie Star last weekend although they did suffer a heavy 6-1 defeat at the hands of East Stirlingshire through the week. The Borders side will be buoyed by the fact they produced their best performance of the season when these teams met last year as Vale ran out 5-0 winners.

Since Cumbernauld defeated Kelty Hearts 2-1 back in August, they have failed to win any of their next six league matches. Their inconsistency is shown having picked up draws against East Kilbride and fighting back from 2-0 down against Berwick Rangers, but have also dropped points with draws against struggling Gretna 2008.

This poor ronun of form has saw them slip to ninth in the table but three points on the road tomorrow could be the catalyst to getting Craig McKinlay and James Orr’s men back on track.

Ones to watch

Vale of Leithen – Liall Smith

Cumbernauld Colts – Lewis Bonar

spartans vs caledonian braves

By Craig Edwards

Spartans aim to make it three league wins in a row when they welcome Caledonian Braves to Ainslie Park.

It’s been almost a month since Spartans were last in league action when they beat Edinburgh rivals Civil Service Strollers. Since then, they have beaten Kinnoull in the South Challenge Cup and Deveronvale via a replay in the Scottish Cup.

Caledonian Braves have been the team to see if you are wanting goals with 20 goals in their last three matches but did fail to win them with a cup exit to Rothes followed by defeat to East Stirlingshire and a 5-5 draw with Dalbeattie Star.

Victory for Braves would keep them ahead of Spartans while the hosts will be looking at beginning to close the gap on the leaders with all three points on Saturday.

ones to watch

Spartans – Aaron Scott

Caledonian Braves – Ross McNeil

Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic vs East Kilbride

By Damon Main

The crushing midweek win over Edinburgh University at Peffermill might not have brought the student side any points but it did bring in a sizeable crowd and welcome finances for Uni’.

About 250 supporters gathered at Peffermill midweek with 90% of those present wearing red and white; namely fans paying at the turnstile to watch a Bonnyrigg Rose side who are riding high at the top of the Lowland League set up.

That travelling support is the measure of a side drawing interest from near and even afar.  With 25 points already onboard and a goal difference of +21 Bonnyrigg Rose have made the transition from the East of Scotland set up look easy so far especially against the lower positioned sides.

That said fellow big guns Kelty Hearts and BSC Glasgow sit not far behind and any ideas of complacency from ‘Rose will be tested when East Kilbride travel across the M8 to visit New Dundas Park.

With 2 points dropped during the week against BSC Glasgow at the Indrodrill Stadium East Kilbride know that they need to get back to winning ways quickly and will look to Craig Malcolm once again to score the goals.

Bonnyrigg Rose may not be as free scoring as Kelty Hearts but are finding goals from various areas of the pitch including up front and from midfield.  The midweek exploits in Edinburgh a measure of a side playing with some confidence and ferocious intent.

Ones to watch

Bonnyrigg Rose – Lee Currie

East Kilbride – Sean Winter

university of stirling vs dalbeattie star

By Martin Fleming

Chris Geddes and his University men host Richie Maxwell’s Star at Forthbank this weekend and a win is crucial for both teams to climb away from the bottom half.

The Forthbank sides last win came in the Scottish Cup when they faired 3-2 over Keith, however, since then they have suffered results from their fixtures with top 3 sides BSC Glasgow and Kelty Hearts last weekend. Despite going ahead in the first half in the Kelty fixture, it was the Fife side that took the three points after grabbing four in the second half. A win could see them just up to 9th overtaking Cumbernauld Colts.

The Kirkcudbrightshire men will surely arrive with slight confidence after a hugely entertaining midweek fixture with Caledonian Braves. The 5-5 draw will have positives and negatives for the side as, despite scoring five and proving they’re capable, they also blew a 5-2 lead. While the goals are coming, they will surely have spent the last few days working on the defence.

Ones to watch

University of Stirling – Kieran Hall

Dalbeattie Star – Aidan Kerr