Lowland League Preview – Matchday 14

It’s matchday 14 this weekend and we’ve 8 more cracking fixtures coming up.

the spartans vs bonnyrigg rose

By Craig Edwards

Bonnyrigg Rose could go back top of the Lowland League, for a night at least, if they leave Ainslie Park with all three points.

Rose have been in terrific form since losing to BSC Glasgow back in September and recorded their tenth straight win in all competitions in midweek when they beat University of Stirling.

Spartans have also hit a good run of form winning their last three in all competitions, all by a one goal margin. Last Friday night they ended their run of five games without a home win by beating Berwick Rangers.

The home side can’t move up from their sixth place in the table but failure to beat Rose would leave them vulnerable to Caledonian Braves behind while Bonnyrigg can put the pressure on leaders Kelty Hearts and jump above them with victory.

Ones to watch

Spartans – Aaron Murrell

Bonnyrigg Rose – Dean Brett

bsc glasgow vs civil service strollers

By Liam Govey

Both BSC Glasgow and the Strollers go into Saturday’s game neck-and-neck on points in the Lowland League standings. Though Strollers have played two more games than their opponents, they sit just below them in fifth on 26 points, with BSC ahead in fourth with a far superior goal difference.

BSC were supposed to have played at Berwick in midweek, although the weather had other ideas. As a result, they have had a week’s rest since their last fixture in the South Challenge Cup – a 6-1 demolition of Preston Athletic that saw them advance to the Quarter Finals. The home side are on quite a hot streak at the moment, having not lost since August in back-to-back defeats to Cumbernauld Colts in the league (2-1) and Hamilton Academical Colts in the Challenge Cup (4-0).

BSC have only played twice in the league in the last month, though both saw comfortable victories over Gala Fairydean Rovers (0-3) and Gretna 2008 (4-1). Stephen Swift’s side have been firing on all cylinders in cup competitions, however, with a huge tie away at East Fife coming up next Saturday as a fitting reward for an impressive season.

As for their Edinburgh counterparts, they have also enjoyed an impressive start to the season without scoring as many. What Strollers have shown, however, is a solidity that is perhaps just as impressive as their free-scoring rivals in the top-five.

Strollers will be disappointed to have exited the Football Nation Qualifying Cup at home to Hill of Beath Hawthorn (1-2) in midweek, but they will hope to continue a two-game winning streak in the league, having seen of Caledonian Braves (2-0) and Vale of Leithen (2-4). Defeat midweek means that Strollers are now out of all respective cup competitions, meaning that they can concentrate fully on their league campaign.

Last season’s head-to-head suggests a close encounter could be in store, with this same fixture at the Indodrill finishing 1-1 last season. The reverse fixture resulted in a 1-2 win for BSC Glasgow.

Ones to Watch

BSC Glasgow: Thomas Orr

Civil Service Strollers: Cammy Muirhead

berwick rangers vs vale of leithen

By Craig Edwards

Vale of Leithen head to Shielfield Park knowing victory could see them move off the foot of the Lowland League table and climb as high as 14th in the table.

Vale are currently on a run of four games without a win and were two up last weekend against Civil Service Strollers before suffering defeat at home.

They currently sit bottom of the table with four points but are only one and two points behind Edinburgh University and Gretna 2008.

Berwick Rangers have had a stuttering start to life in the Lowland League and like Vale, their last win came against Dalbeattie Star in September.

The Wee Gers had their fixture against BSC Glasgow postponed in midweek meaning they stay in 13th but victory on Saturday could see them end the weekend up in 11th with games in hand.

Ones to watch

Berwick Rangers – Lewis Barr

Vale of Leithen – Liam Ireland

dalbeattie star vs cumbernauld colts

By Ronan Alexander

12th place Dalbeattie Star welcome a Cumbernauld COlts side who lie in ninth in the table with both sides aiming to climb up the standings.

Islecroft Stadium has proved to be a difficult place to go for teams this season with the men from Kirkcudbrightshire making it difficult for visiting teams to come away with all three points.

After collecting four points in a week at the beginning of October, Star have lost three consecutive matches and need to bounce back with teams below them also beginning to pick up points.

Colts come into the game after suffering penalty shootout heartache last weekend against Hill of Beath after the match ended 1-1 after extra time.

The two teams met in September at Broadwood, with the Colts coming out on top 1-0 courtesy of a Gregor Johnston goal.

Ones to watch

Dalbeattie Star – Dean Brotherston

Cumbernauld Colts – Greg Pascazio

kelty hearts vs edinburgh university

By Ben McNicol

Life doesn’t get much easier for Dorian Ognuro’s Edinburgh University side as they travel to league leaders Kelty Hearts on Saturday.

Last weekend, Barry Ferguson’s men progressed to the Quarter-Finals of the South Challenge Cup, with two late goals from Cammy Russell and Dylan Easton helped see of University Of Stirling.
The Uni had a weekend off last weekend due to cup action taking place, but the week before they were narrowly beaten at home by Gala Fairydean Rovers.
It is concerning times for the East Peffermill outfit, who are now winless in three months.
They will be hoping to cause a huge upset on Saturday, but if form is anything to go by it should be a relatively straight forward afternoon for Barry Ferguson’s men.

ones to watch

kelty hearts – cammy russell

edinburgh university – abdul yusuf

east kilbride vs gretna 2008

By Ronan Alexander

Managerless East Kilbride welcome a Gretna side who have had an upturn in fortunes lately.

The Anvils scored two dramatic late goals to come from 3-1 down to draw with Gala Fairydean Rovers last Saturday.

After Kilby lost two consecutive league matches to all but end their title ambitions, added by the loss of manager Stuart Malcolm who has made the step up to League 1 football to take charge of Forfar Athletic, things looked bleak for the defending champions.

However, caretaker duo Dean Shanks and Jim Paterson secured two victories in cup competitions, both with clean sheets to boost the morale in the camp. East Stirlingshire were defeated 1-0 last Saturday before Tynecastle were also beaten by the same scoreline courtesy of a Ruari Paton strike. With Paton bang in-form, it could be crucial after Shanks worked with him closely at Gala last season and got the best out of him.

Ones to watch

East Kilbride – Ruari Paton

Gretna 2008 – Kevin Connelly

caledonian braves vs gala fairydean rovers

By Martin Fleming

Ricky Waddell’s men host the Galashiels side at Alliance Park this weekend in a game where three points could be massive for either team.

With both teams coming off unfortunate draws – Braves with a 2-2 against Berwick Rangers and Fairydean a 3-3 with bottom three side Gretna 2008 – three points could help Braves climb into the top six while a win could allow the Netherdale side to climb away from the bottom six.

Both sides have shared the spoils in their previous meetings so there’s no clear favourite. Gala better have their defence prepared for Ross McNeil who has been smashing them in for Braves and currently sits on eight goals.

Caledonian Braves have also launched the initiative allowing Motherwell and Hamilton Academical season ticket holders into Alliance Park for free taking advantage of the international break.

Ones to Watch

Caledonian Braves – Ross McNeil

Gala Fairydean Rovers – Danny Galbraith

university of stirling vs east stirlingshire (sunday)

By Gregor Mackintosh

A return to Lowland League action is on the cards for both sides this Sunday, as Stirling Uni return from Wednesday night’s 4-0 defeat to Bonnyrigg Rose in the Football Nation Qualifying Cup, while East Stirlingshire come into Sunday’s game after a disappointing 1-0 defeat to East Kilbride in the SFA South Challenge Cup.

University of Stirling currently sit in 10th place in the Lowland League, with their current form being 3 previous losses to Kelty Hearts and Bonnyrigg Rose twice, with their last win coming on October 26th when they took down reigning champions East Kilbride in a superb 1-0 win. Stirling Uni appear to have a lack of a goalscoring threat this season in the league, scoring 16 goals so far this season, which is just 6 more than bottom placed Vale of Leithen.

Shire are currently in 3rd place in the Lowland League, sitting 5 points off top spot albeit they have played more games than Bonnyrigg Rose and Kelty Hearts, who sit in 2nd and 1st place respectively. Shire should look to claim all 3 points against a weaker Stirling Uni side and aim to continue their push for the top spot and catch Bonnyrigg and Kelty.

Stirling Uni have put in some solid performances against the bigger sides in the Lowland League this season, beating East Kilbride and The Spartans earlier on in the season and could well be capable of another upset against East Stirlingshire. Shire on the other hand can afford no slip ups to weaker sides, as gaining 3 points in each game from now until New Year would prove pivotal in the look of the Lowland League come the end of the season.

Ones to watch

University of Stirling – Robbie McGale

East Stirlingshire – Nicky Low