A full card of weekend fixtures? Don’t ever say we’re not good to you… or that it’s Saturday… Craig, Martin, Jordan, and Ronan are back with a fantastic preview of this week’s GeoSonic Lowland League fixtures!
GRETNA 2008 VS KELTY HEARTS
In form Gretna 2008 meet high flying Kelty Hearts at Raydale Park on Saturday for this week’s RockSport Match of the Week.
The hosts have started to climb the table after consecutive wins including a 2-0 triumph over Gala Fairydean Rovers in midweek along with victories in cup competitions. Gretna Co-Manager Andy Aitken has tinkered with his team to find the solution to the early season defeats and now appears to have found the right combination.
He said: “We had a slow start to the season, but we’ve found a formation that works for us and we’ve started to build momentum.”
After an impressive win on their travels on Tuesday where Kevin Connelly scored a brace, Aitken expects to have a fully fit squad again and for Connelly to keep firing on all cylinders.
“We’ve no real injury news, it just depends on a couple work commitments but there should be no real changes to Tuesday’s win at Gala.
“Kev has a quality first touch and his finishing is first class. He’s scored some vital goals for us and if he was a bit younger I’d expect some SPFL clubs to be after him.”
Fellow Co-Manager David Irons is also in positive spirits after Gretna’s string of victories but playing Kelty brings a unique challenge.
Irons said: “We are more confident going into the game now than we would have been three or four weeks ago and our squad is more settled now. But it’s always difficult going up against a side you’ve never played before but I’ve spoke to people who have faced Kelty and we’re expecting a tough match.”
For the visitors, Kelty come into the match on the back off a 4-0 demolition of Civil Service Strollers. A real statement of intent from Thomas Courts’ men.
Skipper Shaun Greig also feels his side have picked up their performance levels, having only lost one of their last 14 fixtures and are unbeaten in nine games.
He said: “We are thoroughly enjoying this journey as a group just now. Having dropped a few points at the start of the season we feel we’re starting to build a bit of momentum.
“The margin for error is very low and Gretna 2008 have had some good results thus far. Our boys togetherness and team morale is excellent at the minute and we’re training like animals.”
Greig also feels he has adapted well to life in the Lowland League after a long injury lay-off.
He added: “Personally having been out for nearly four months it’s been excellent to get stuck back in about it in a league that I feel suits my game.”
Ones to watch
Gretna 2008 – Kevin Connelly
Kelty Hearts – Stuart Cargill
GALA FAIRYDEAN ROVERS VS THE SPARTANS
The Lowland League leaders make the trip south to face twelfth placed Gala Fairydean Rovers.
Spartans had a midweek off after they played their game against East Kilbride during the Scottish Cup First Round break, while Gala suffered a 2-0 defeat at home to Gretna 2008.
Defeat on Tuesday was their first loss in three games in all competitions for Gala while Spartans are still unbeaten in the league with five wins and three draws from their opening eight games but Dougie Samuel’s men did suffer a surprise South Challenge Cup defeat to Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale.
Spartans won both these fixtures last season but could only manage a narrow 1-0 victory at Netherdale. Gala Fairydean Rovers were the victors in a 3-2 thriller the season before.
Ones to watch
Gala Fairydean Rovers: Patrick Martin
The Spartans: Michael Herd
VALE OF LEITHEN VS DALBEATTIE STAR
It’s eighth against fourteenth at Victoria Park as struggling Dalbeattie Star make the trip to Vale of Leithen.
Both sides come into this league encounter on the back of conceding four goals in midweek defeats with Vale of Leithen ending up on the wrong side of a thrilling 4-3 with Edinburgh University while Dalbeattie Star suffered a 4-0 defeat away to Edusport Academy.
Dalbeattie Star make the trip north searching for their first win in four with three of them being defeats while the hosts haven’t won in six matches in all competitions.
Last season saw the visitors take the points home in both league encounters and Dalbeattie could do with that trend continuing this season as they aim to move away from the foot of the table.
Ones to watch
Vale of Leithen: Sean Stewart
Dalbeattie Star: Liam Park
WHITEHILL WELFARE VS EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY
Bottom of the table Whitehill host fellow lowly side Edinburgh University at Rosewell this Saturday and both sides will be desperate to claim all three points.
Welfare come into this one off the back of a match against BSC Glasgow which was abandoned with ten minutes to go due to injury. The game highlighted a number of weaknesses in the Welfare side, as BSC were 5-0 up before the game was stopped with Welfare’s defence labouring after rapid-fire matches. Their last official result was a defeat away at Cumbernauld Colts last Saturday.
Edinburgh University are on the other side of finding form as they come in confident after an impressive 4-3 victory over Vale of Leithen in their midweek fixture. Despite Uni being 2-0 up at half time, Vale fought back to make it 3-2, however the Peffermill side never gave up and bagged two goals in the last eight minutes, including a cooly taken penalty by Abdul Yusuf, to cement their three points.
The University side will also be out for revenge as Whitehill put them out the Scottish Cup two weeks ago thanks to a Kevin Keane wonder goal which was voted Goal of the Round by Twitter users.
EAST KILBRIDE VS EDUSPORT ACADEMY
A game near the top at K-Park this Saturday as league contenders East Kilbride host in-form Edusport Academy.
Kilby are sitting fourth in the Lowland League table with two games in hand and haven’t played a competitive match in a fortnight, thanks to their scheduled fixture with third placed Kelty Hearts being postponed due to their opponents’ Scottish Cup replay. Their last league outing was a 0-0 draw with defending champions The Spartans so Brian Kerr’s Kilby will fire into this important fixture fresher than their opponents.
The last few fixtures for Ricky Waddell’s side have proven their good run of form as they’ve climbed from mid-table to a comfortable fifth place. They come off a big 4-0 midweek win against Dalbeattie Star, a victory which no doubt rectified their 2-1 loss to Gretna the weekend before.
Continuation of this form could see a shock win over a team considered one of the league favourites and see them bounce up their position further.
Ones to watch
East Kilbride: Ross McNeil
Edusport Academy: Matty Flynn
BSC GLasgow vs cumbernauld colts
Cumbernauld Colts visit the Indodrill Stadium tomorrow sitting in second place in the GeoSonic Lowland League, just goal difference off the summit. James Orr and Craig McKinlay have worked wonders with their squad, and Sean Brown and Fraser Team are going gangbusters up front, with ten goals between them. A 1-0 victory over University of Stirling in midweek was Colts’ fifth in a row in all competitions and is their sixth win of the season.
Colts will be keen to take advantage of any uncertainty in the BSC Glasgow squad after an unfortunate end to their midweek match against Whitehill Welfare. Adam Strachan was on the receiving end of a bad tackle which resulted in him being taken to hospital with a broken leg. The match was abandoned in the final ten minutes of the match and no outcome has been decided at the time of writing.
BSC were 5-0 ahead thanks to a brace from substitute Martin Grehan and goals from Declan Hughes, David Winters and Ryan McStay before the match was abandoned but it remains to be seen what impact the loss of Strachan will have on Stephen Swift and his players as they look to push toward the Top 4.
Ones to watch
BSC Glasgow: Declan Hughes
Cumbernauld Colts: Sean Brown
Civil Service Strollers vs East Stirlingshire
Two of this season’s surprise packages – for very different reasons – face off in the GeoSonic Lowland League this weekend and both managers will be looking for improvement on their last results.
Gary Jardine’s Civil Service Strollers enjoyed a lightning start to the season which saw them sitting in the top four for several weeks but have dropped back slightly and now find themselves in sixth place after losses to Kelty Hearts and BSC Glasgow in their last two league outings. Aleau Faye has impressed since joining the Strollers and netted his first goal for the club in their Scottish Cup Replay against Forres Mechanics, something Jardine will be hoping the rangy midfielder can build on.
East Stirlingshire will be looking to kick start their season after a poor start to the season has seen them slip into 13th place in the League. Shire are without a win in the Lowland League since 11th August and manager Derek Ure will have to turn things around fast if they are to have any chance of meeting their pre-season aspirations but many will have already written Shire’s season off as a learning experience for their rookie boss. That will only prove to be the case if they are able to navigate clear of the bottom three though.