Lowland League Preview – Matchday 17

The games are coming thick and fast as we head into a pivotal period of the season, and here’s the  8 previews for Saturday

east kilbride vs bonnyrigg rose

By Euan Fairley

Saturday sees another instalment of Lowland League action as East Kilbride welcome Bonnyrigg Rose to K-Park. This will be the reverse fixture of their meeting in October where Kilby were on the end of an overturned penalty and red card, which Rose profited from to take a 2-0 victory.
Managerless East Kilbride have shown promising signs in recent weeks with 4 wins in a row only being halted by a narrow 1-0 defeat to Kelty last weekend. Although last season’s Champions will be disappointed with how the season has panned out they can clearly still cause any Lowland League team problems and Bonnyrigg will be expecting a tough contest.
Rose will fancy their chances of another victory due their fine form, which has been consistent throughout the season. In fact they haven’t lost in the league since a 3-1 defeat to BSC at the start of September. Every game counts for Rose as they find themselves locked in a title battle with Barry Ferguson’s flying Kelty side.

Ones to watch:

East Kilbride – Ruari Paton

Bonnyrigg Rose – Lee Currie

cumbernald colts vs east stirlingshire

By Gregor Mackintosh

Cumbernauld Colts will play host to East Stirling this weekend as they look to extend their winning run to 4 games in a row against an Shire side who will be looking to put things right after the 3-2 defeat to Spartans last week.

Cumbernauld are currently in 7th place and will look to push up the Lowland League table with a win to get back amongst the big boys in the league, a place they have shown they deserve in recent seasons. Of course, it depends which Cumbernauld side turns up this weekend as inconsistencies in their league results have made them suffer, with notable results like a 2-1 home win over Kelty Hearts, a 2-1 win over BSC Glasgow and a 3-2 win over Civil Service Strollers last week perhaps being overshadowed by slip up’s to struggling sides, with a 0-0 draw to Gretna 2008 as well as a 2-2 draw to Vale of Leithen showing the inconsistency which has always caused them problems. Colts hitman Marty Wright is the 2nd top scorer in the league and will need to be kept quiet for Shire to be successful in this fixture.

In contrast to Cumbernauld and their winning run, Shire lost disappointingly to Spartans last weekend, going 2-0 up within 8 minutes before losing 3-2 despite Spartans finishing the fixture with 9 men on the park. Derek Ure will surely have his men fired up for the game as he gave a bitterly disappointed interview with Shire TV last week, saying that it was “criminal” for his side to be 2-0 up against 10 men and lose the game. Shire have work to do if they want to push up the table with the league title looking just out of reach at the moment. Nicky Low has been in fine form recently and is more than capable of controlling the game, which Colts will need to be wary of as his dominance in the middle of the park can cause problems for every team.

Ones to watch

Cumbernauld Colts – Marty Wright

East Stirlingshire – Nicky Low

BSC Glasgow vs Gala Fairydean Rovers

Neil Hastings’ men travel to Alloa to face in-form BSC Glasgow hoping to shake off their many defeats to the Glasgow outfit.

Stephen Swift’s men will enjoy the luxury of refreshment after last week’s fixture against Dalbeattie Star was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Islecroft. They remain in 4th place but hold a massive three games in hand over 3rd placed East Stirlingshire. With a tough run of fixtures coming up over the Christmas and New Year period, BSC need to take another three points from Gala to go into this period with confidence.

The Fairydean remain teetering just above the bottom five only one point ahead of Berwick Rangers. Goals from Alex Murray and Marc Berry in the opening fifteen minutes secured all three points last weekend when the Galashiels men defeated University of Stirling.

ones to Watch

BSC Glasgow – Michael Anderson

Gala Fairydean Rovers – Marc Berry

kelty hearts vs vale of leithen

By Gregor Mackintosh

League leaders Kelty Hearts play host to bottom of the league Vale of Leithen with the hosts currently on a 9 game win streak in all competitions and will be looking to win to make it to double digits tomorrow. Vale by stark contrast are on a 6 game winless run, last picking up points in a 2-2 draw against Cumbernauld Colts on October 5th.

Kelty Hearts got a 1-0 win last week against East Kilbride with Scott Linton converting a penalty for the only goal of the game which also saw him take a place in the Lowland League Team of the Month. Kelty will look to current top goalscorer Nathan Austin once again to bag in the goals as he currently sits on 23 goals from 14 games in the league and will be looking to improve that record this weekend.

Vale of Leithen lost 2-0 to Bonnyrigg Rose in poor conditions at Innerleithen last weekend and will be looking to cause an upset when they travel north to Kelty, hoping for some complacency from the home side. If Vale hope to get anything from the game they will look towards Liam Ireland and Brad Rixon who are Vale’s top scorers in the league, registering 3 goals each so far this season.

Ones to watch

Kelty Hearts – Scott Linton

Vale of Leithen – Brad Rixon

the spartans vs dalbeattie star

By Damon Main

Of the sides that are currently loitering around the bottom places of this season’s Lowland League Dalbeattie Star can perhaps be regarded as being amongst those who can feel the ‘least worried’ at the moment.

With three wins to their name the Kirkcudbrightshire side have given themselves some sort of breathing space between them and the struggling three who sit beneath.

Home side Spartans sit in some contrast to Dalbeattie with last week’s shock 3-2 win over high flying East Stirlingshire sure to act as a big boost to Dougie Samuel’s Edinburgh side.

While it seems just like yesterday that Spartans called themselves Lowland League title winners the men in white this season sit a full 12 points off Kelty Hearts.  Even the biggest optimists amongst Spartans fans will know replicating the 2018 championship win is a long way off this season. Top scorer Aaron Murrell returns to the squad from a virus and Ian McFarland is set to make his 100th appearance in a Spartans shirt.

Star have found goals hard to come back and with Spartans regularly hitting the back of the net the men from the south face a very tough match in northern Edinburgh.

Ones to watch

The Spartans – Aaron Murrell

Dalbeattie Star – Calvin Cowie

university of stirling vs berwick rangers

By Ronan Alexander

Tenth place University of Stirling are aiming to get back to winning ways tomorrow as they welcome Berwick Rangers to Forthbank Stadium.

The students fell to a 2-0 defeat to Gala Fairydean Rovers last time out, as well as missing a penalty and getting a man sent off in a disappointing day for Chris Geddes’ side. However, Thomas Cowley has caught the eye as he made the Lowland League Catchup Team of the Month during the week.

The Wee Gers will leapfrog the students if they claim the three points and continue their quest of climbing up the table. Ian Little’s men will be aiming to get revenge for the 2-1 reverse against Stirling Uni at the beginning of August. The Borderers have been active in the transfer market this week as last Saturday’s trialist and match winner Darren Smith signed for the club and goalkeeper Mark Walters heads out on a short term loan to East of Scotland side Tweedmouth Rangers.

Ones to watch

University of Stirling – Thomas Cowley

Berwick Rangers – Lewis Barr

edinburgh university vs civil service strollers

By Craig Edwards

It’s a battle between two Edinburgh based sides in the capital this weekend as Civil Service Strollers make the trip across the city to East Peffermill to face Edinburgh University.

Both sides come into the weekend on the back of narrow defeats last Saturday, the University side losing 2-1 to Caledonian Braves while Civil were on the wrong side of a five goal thriller at Christie Gilles Park against Cumbernauld Colts.

The students currently sit in 15th place and a point above Vale of Leithen at the foot of the Lowland League table as they search for their second win of the season.

Civil have once again placed themselves in the top half of the table as they sit in fifth and will have their eyes set on closing the gap to the top four while keeping Edinburgh rivals Spartans behind.

Victory for Edinburgh University could see them move ahead of Gretna 2008 or drop to the bottom of the table with defeat depending on other results while Civil will break through the 30 point barrier if they avoid defeat.

Ones to watch

Edinburgh University – Ross Watters

Civil Service Strollers – John Dunn

gretna 2008 vs caledonian braves

By Ronan Alexander

Recently appointed Gretna boss Rowan Alexander takes charge of his first home match at Raydale Park in his second stint as boss of the Anvils as they welcome Caledonian Braves to Dumfries.

Alexander lost out in his first game in charge last weekend in a narrow 2-1 defeat to Berwick Rangers where Kevin Connelly gave Gretna the lead.

Braves sit in mid-table and come into the game off the back of conecutive wins in all competitions. The two teams last met in July with the Braves claiming a 3-2 win despite having a man sent off after five minutes. A Reece Glackin brace was enough to see Ricky Waddell’s side come from behind to take the three points.

Ones to watch

Gretna 2008 – Kevin Connelly

Caledonian Braves – Marc Kelly