We’re back! It’s been a momentous week in the GeoSonic Lowland League, for good reasons and bad, but it’s time to focus up and get excited about a weekend of fantastic football and exciting #narrative!
Ronan Alexander, Craig Edwards, Martin Fleming and Jordan Robertson are here to guide you through it all…
Gretna 2008 vs The Spartans
Gretna 2008 host their third consecutive home game as they welcome reigning champions The Spartans to Raydale Park.
Gretna will hope their home form can only escalate go up after getting hammered by Vale of Leithen 6-1 at the weekend and holding BSC Glasgow to a goalless draw on Tuesday night. A sure sign that Davie Irons and Andy Aitken took that 6-1 mauling as a chance to improve the side’s defence. The Black & Whites currently sit in 8th place and will be looking to cause an upset tomorrow.
The Spartans come to Raydale unbeaten in the league and will be expected by many to continue their escalating form as they seek to rein in East Kilbride. Dougie Samuel’s men come off a great 2-0 away win to fourth place Cumbernauld Colts which meant they took third place after that entertaining fixture.
An expected three points for Spartans will cement their standing in the top three, however a clearly improved Gretna could cause a surprise if they can build on their effective defensive display from Tuesday evening.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Gretna 2008: Kevin Connelly
The Spartans: David Greenhill
Gala Fairydean Rovers vs Civil Service Strollers
Dean Shanks’ men host the impressive second place Civil Service Strollers at Netherdale this weekend and both teams are coming off a couple of convincing results.
After an abysmal start to the season, in which Gala Fairydean Rovers lost their first four games and saw an flurry of red cards, the Galashiels side have grabbed maximum points from their last two games. They took Edinburgh University in a 1-0 away win at the weekend then convincingly beat Whitehill Welfare 3-1 at home on Tuesday night. If the they continue like this, they could find themselves rocketing up the league.
Gary Jardine’s side will travel to Netherdale confident – they had been temporary league leaders until East Kilbride caught up with their games in hand. Their last league outing was a 1-0 win with Dalbeattie Star at home. However, they will have the 9-0 thrashing of Wigtown & Bladnoch in the South Challenge Cup at the weekend fresh in their minds, knowing results like that will have Gala worrying about their defence.
A win, or even a point for Gala could continue their climb out the bottom five, however a win will be expected from Civil as they seek to secure their place in the top two.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Gala Fairydean Rovers: Craig O’Reilly
Civil Service Strollers: Shaun Turnbull
University of Stirling vs BSC Glasgow
University of Stirling play host to BSC Glasgow this weekend in a game which will be important for two sides looking to kickstart their campaign. Stephen Swift will be praying that his BSC side can pick up three points and mount a charge towards the top end of the table, a place they will definitely have planned to be in before the season began.
Swift’s men only picked up a point midweek against Gretna 2008, a game in which they would have been confident of winning and another failure to gain three points in this game may cause concern for a BSC side who were expected to be title challengers.
Stirling Uni come into this one in very similar form to their opponents, following a midweek loss to East Kilbride the side have picked up six points from as many games, the same as their opponents. However, the hosts will see this game as a perfect chance to leapfrog their visitors in the league and pile the pressure on one of the leagues bigger sides.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
University of Stirling – Lewis Hunter
BSC Glasgow – Carlo Pignatiello
East Stirlingshire vs Edusport Academy
East Stirlingshire started this campaign brightly, picking up seven points from a possible nine in the opening three games of the season. Since then they have fallen away slightly and suffered a disappointing 3-2 defeat to Vale of Leithen midweek. John Sludden parted company with Shire on Thursday evening and the interim management team of Andy Rodgers and captain Derek Ure will be hoping the side can get back to the form they displayed at the end of last season and propel them towards the top of the table.
They will be hoping to start the charge with a victory over an Edusport side who have made a fairly average start to the season and also suffered a 3-2 midweek defeat in a thrilling match against Cumbernauld Colts.
The Edusport side features a good blend of youth and experience with older pros like Scott McLauglin and Matthew Flynn helping younger players like Marc Kelly and fans will be hoping that this blend clicks and helps put a few more points on the table.
East Stirlingshire’s Ross Allum has been in good goalscoring form so far this season and is definitely the man to watch in this one, especially with Rodgers unlikely to start given his new role in the dugout.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
East Stirlingshire: Ross Allum
Edusport Academy: Liam Coogans
Edinburgh University vs East Kilbride
Tenth place Edinburgh University welcome league leaders East Kilbride to Peffermill as the hosts look to put an end to the visitors 100% league record.
The students have already shown they can compete with the big boys, after home draws against Spartans (1-1) and Kelty Hearts (2-2), the latter coming on Wednesday evening.
Edinburgh Uni came from behind twice with Patrick Baird and James Conington finding the back of the net. They will be keen to again prove they are a tough matchup for any side in the league, and the cakes on show which have received positive feedback are also one to watch at half time.
Brian Kerr’s men come into the game on the back of another solid victory after overcoming University of Stirling in a hard fought 2-0 win. The league’s top scorer Craig Malcolm took his tally to nine on Wednesday before defender Craig Reid netted the second to wrap up another three points and clean sheet.
In East Kilbride’s six games so far, they have only conceded twice, proving they are a tough nut to crack as well as being a free flowing attacking side.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Edinburgh University: Stu McNicholas
East Kilbride: Craig Malcolm
Vale of Leithen vs Kelty Hearts
League new boys Kelty Hearts make the trip south hoping to leapfrog their opponents in the league table. Vale of Leithen had a good midweek with an away win at East Stirlingshire to make it a second win in a row to move them onto ten points and up to fifth in the table after smashing Gretna 6-1 on Saturday.
Sean Stewart has been in electric form for Chris Anderson’s Vale side so far this season but there are goals right across the front line and this promises to be a high-scoring encounter at Victoria Park.
Kelty Hearts could only manage a draw at home to Edinburgh University despite a double from Stuart Cargill to take his tally to five this season after another double against BSC Glasgow last Saturday. Manager Tam Courts has said that he believes Hearts are performing slightly beyond expectations this season and the same can most definitely be said for Vale.
This one promises to be one of the games of the weekend.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Vale of Leithen: Sean Stewart
Kelty Hearts: Stuart Cargill
Whitehill Welfare vs Dalbeattie Star
It’s fifteenth against fourteenth in the GeoSonic Lowland League at Ferguson Park this weekend as Dalbeattie Star make the trip to Whitehill Welfare.
The visitors had midweek off while Whitehill suffered their sixth defeat of the season, going down 3-1 away to Gala Fairydean Rovers. The hosts are yet to score a point this season and need to get some points on the board soon to close the gap on the teams above them.
Dalbeattie Star are a place and five points better off than their hosts but haven’t won in their last three games, although they did pick up a point at home last weekend against East Stirlingshire – something which will give manager Darren Kerr a boost going into this one.
Whitehill Welfare were 3-0 winners in this fixture last year and could do with repeating that on Saturday, but the beauty of this division is that anyone can beat anyone on their day – this one could be a fascinating watch!