Lowland League Preview – Matchday 21

The big games keep coming thick and fast. Here’s your preview for tomorrow’s round of games.

Bonnyrigg Rose vs The Spartans

By Euan Fairley

Bonnyrigg go into this fixture having been given a significant boost by Kelty’s slip-up against East Stirling last Saturday. That result leaves Bonnyrigg three points behind Kelty with a game in hand and they will be hoping to keep the pressure up as they welcome Spartans to New Dundas Park.

Bonnyrigg may not have the goal-scoring prowess of Kelty but they have continually shown plenty of mental toughness to grind out victories. Last Friday night was a perfect example of this as they faced a potential banana-skin away to BSC Glasgow. Despite giving up a two goal lead they managed to snatch a winner through Ewan Moyes’ dramatic 89th minute header.

Spartans arrive on the back of two straight defeats to the teams directly above them in the league, which has ended any realistic chance of a title challenge. On a positive note their strikers Aaron Murrell and Blair Atkinson continue to be a regular source of goals for the Ainslie Park side, with 12 goals in the last 10 games between them. Spartans will go in to this game as outsiders but are capable of pulling off a similar upset to the one that East Stirling managed in Fife.

Ones to watch

Bonnyrigg Rose – Jonathan Brown

Spartans – Blair Atkinson


vale of leithen vs berwick rangers

By Craig Edwards

Vale of Leithen hope to bounce back from defeat to Caledonian Braves last weekend as they welcome Berwick Rangers to Victoria Park.

Vale are a point clear of Edinburgh University and with the students facing league leaders Kelty Hearts, the hosts will hope to pull clear and potentially jump up into 13th in the table.

To do that they will need to avenge November’s 4-0 defeat to Berwick Rangers but they are yet to win at home and have only picked up two points in Innerleithen.

Berwick are slowly making their way up the table and picked up a point last weekend in a 2-2 draw having won two of their previous three prior to that.

The wee Rangers haven’t won away since August and will hope to end that record as they aim to extend their unbeaten run to three games.

Ones to watch

Vale of Leithen – Brad Rixon

Berwick Rangers – Yaw Osei


Civil Service Strollers vs BSC Glasgow

By Martin Fleming

It’s a top six battle as fourth placed BSC Glasgow travel to North Edinburgh to play Civil Service Strollers who currently sit fifth.

Gary Jardine’s Strollers will have as good a chance as any after coming away from Ainslie Park last weekend victorious over their North Edinburgh rivals, The Spartans. A singular goal from trialist, Archie Rue settled the three points allowing the Christie Gillies men to continue their fight into the top four.

Stephen Swift’s men on the other hand were handed only their second defeat of the season last weekend thanks to Bonnyrigg Rose. Despite coming back from 2-0 down, a last minute corner settled The Rose’s victory.

Any points could help either side close the gap between the rest of the table – Strollers could move away from Spartans while BSC could get back into third place, all the while holding to three games in hand over third place East Stirlingshire.

ones to Watch

Civil Service Strollers – John Dunn

BSC Glasgow – Declan Hughes


gala fairydean rovers vs caledonian braves

By Damon Main

If this weekend’s Lowland League clash in Galashiels beats the ravages of the winter weather and goes ahead you can be sure the home side will be doing all they can to rectify last weeks January blues following an injury time equalizing sickener at Shielfield against Berwick Rangers.

Midfield lynchpin and skipper Danny Galbraith had put his side ahead in the first half and again with a powerful strike 5 minutes from time only for a red card and a Euan Smith strike for the home side to leave the tie locked at 2-2 extinguising all Gala hopes of 3 early year points in a flash.

With the home side this season being watched fortnightly by a healthy home average crowd of 144 those that do choose to watch this Saturday will have the chance to see a Caledonian Braves side who got back to winning ways last weekend.   The west coast side swept aside GFR’s Scottish borders neighbours Vale of Leithen 4-1 through at a chilly Strathclyde Park.

Changes have been afoot at Caledonian Braves with a number of loan players returning to parent SPFL clubs over the Christmas period.    But with Ross McNeil helping himself to a hattrick of goals last Saturday, the visiting side will surely look to their top scorer for more goals tomorrow.

Ones to watch

Gala Fairydean Rovers – Danny Galbraith

Caledonian Braves – Ross McNeil


gretna 2008 vs east kilbride

By Craig Edwards

Four points from a possible six in the last two matches have moved Rowan Alexander’s side up to fourteenth and they’ll aim to extend their unbeaten run to three when East Kilbride travel to Raydale Park.

While Gretna 2008 picked up four points in their last two games, they haven’t tasted victory at home since October and have lost their last three home games however, they do know the way to goal with the last team to shut them out being East Kilbride in the return fixture in November.

East Kilbride have had a poor season judging by their usual high standards as they sit down in eighth place but have games in hand and could move up to seventh with three points in Gretna.

Kilby have won their last three with an aggregate scoreline of 12-1 including their last away game being a 2-0 victory over Caledonian Braves.

EK welcome BSC Glasgow in the Scottish Cup Fourth Round next weekend but need to keep their focus on Gretna 2008 as they look to put pressure on the sides above them in the table.

Ones to watch

Gretna 2008 – Jake Smith

East Kilbride – Daryl Healy


cumbernauld colts vs dalbeattie star

By Martin Fleming

Btoadwood Stadium welcomes Dalbeattie Star tomorrow after a horrendous result for Colts last weekend as Star collected a point against fellow strugglers Gretna 2008.

Cumbernauld Colts travelled to East Kilbride last Saturday and suffered a massive 7-0 defeat. Despite a strong start to the season, Colts now sit 9th as they aim to get back into the top half with three points.

The men from Islecroft could only gain a point last weekend against Gretna 2008 and remain in the bottom four six points behind Gala Fairydean Rovers. Any points gathered could help them climb further away from the drop zone.

Ones to watch

Cumbernauld Colts – Fraser Team

Dalbeattie Star – Lewis Sloan


edinburgh university vs kelty hearts

By Ronan Alexander

It’s bottom versus top on Saturday as Dorian Ogunro’s side aim to defy the odds and get a positive result against Kelty to climb off the foot of the table.

The men from the capital have only won once this season in the league and that came back in August against Vale of Leithen. Four 1-1 draws have took their points tally to seven, including last Saturday’s stalemate with University of Stirling. With other sides around them starting to pick up points, Edinburgh Uni need to do the same as tomorrow begins a run of three consecutive home matches.

The visitors will be aiming to get back to their ruthless best after surrendering a 2-0 lead against East Stirlingshire last Saturday as the game ended all square. Scott Linton netted a brace for Kelty to take his tally to 10 for the campaign. In transfer news at New Central Park, talented youngsters Owen Andrew and Keir MaCauley penned new deals but will head out on loan for the remainder of the season at East of Scotland side Glenrothes.

When the two sides met earlier in the campaign, Kelty came out on top 7-1.

Ones to watch

Edinburgh University – Abdul Yusuf

Kelty Hearts – Scott Linton

east stirlingshire vs university of stirling

By Gregor Mackintosh

East Stirlingshire play host to University of Stirling this weekend at the Falkirk Stadium in a Stirling derby.

Shire will be pretty confident going into this game after a comeback draw against league leaders Kelty Hearts last weekend, coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at New Central Park. Derek Ure’s side have improved their form recently and will be looking to build a winning streak as the season draws to a close. Shire fans can also be happy with the fact that Sean Brown has been given a contract extension until the end of next season, with Derek Ure looking to keep building upon his team for next year. Sean Brown joins Nicky Low and Jamie Dishington in joining up with Shire again for next season.

Stirling Uni will play 2 derbies in consecutive weeks after last weekends 1-1 draw with fellow students Edinburgh University. Stirling Uni will look to leave the Falkirk Stadium with some points in a bid to avenge the 4-1 loss they suffered to Shire earlier this season. Craig Brown and Jason Jarvis will be the ones to watch for the Uni side with both men tallying 4 goals each this season and have proved to be a handful so far this season.

Ones to watch

East Stirlingshire – Sean Brown

University of Stirling – Craig Brown