We’ve got another packed weekend coming your way with 7 league matches and a huge cup clash for Kelty Hearts.
BONNYRIGG ROSE vs BSC GLASGOW
By Craig Edwards
Bonnyrigg Rose face another tough test at New Dundas Park as they welcome last season’s runners-up BSC Glasgow.
The visitors trail the league leaders by six points but do have a game in hand and know they could go to three points behind Rose with victory on Saturday.
Bonnyrigg have been very strong at home this season winning all four of their league matches, scoring fifteen and conceding only once.
BSC have won their last three league games after a tough start to the season but have only won on the road once in all competitions this season, in their second league match away to Spartans.
Defeat for Rose and they could lose top spot in the Lowland League while a win would help increase their lead over the midfield pack. For BSC, anything less than three points and the leaders will be slowing getting out of reach.
Ones to watch
Bonnyrigg Rose – Kieran McGachie
BSC Glasgow – Jamie Hamilton
Kelty Hearts vs Solihull Moors
By Liam Govey
Looking to do the Lowland League proud, Kelty Hearts will be in Challenge Cup action this weekend in what is undoubtedly the biggest game in the club’s history. The Fife side have done brilliantly to get to this stage, seeing off Kilmarnock Colts in the First Round with a 4-0 win at Central Park.
The Second Round saw Kelty travel to Galabank to face League Two side Annan Athletic – a game that was drawn 1-1 with Kelty winning 6-5 on penalties. With teams from England, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland set to join the competition in the Third Round, Kelty eagerly awaited their opponents in the Third Round draw.
The opponents would turn out to be Vanarama National League side Solihull Moors, based in the Midland town of Solihull in between Birmingham and Coventry. Moors fans face what will undoubtedly be one of the longest treks in their season, with the journey taking around five and a half hours from Solihull to Kelty. That said, if Sutton United’s adventure in the Challenge Cup last season is anything to go by, it’s sure to be a fantastic experience for those that make the trip.
Kelty may well go into the tie as underdogs, but on current form, it would be crazy to write them off. Their unbeaten start to the season may have ended with a 2-1 defeat away to Cumbernauld Colts, but their response has been emphatic. 22 goals in three games without reply at Vale of Leithen (0-7) and at home to Spartans (5-0) and Gretna 2008 (10-0) mean that the Lowland League side will not be taken lightly by their English opponents.
As for Solihull, the Midland side have had a solid start to the season, sitting in 7th place after nine games. That said, the Moors have failed to win in their last four games, with their last victory a 2-1 win at home to Ebbsfleet United. A 2-0 defeat at Woking, followed by a 2-1 loss at home to Eastleigh, a 2-1 defeat at FC Halifax, and a goalless draw at Notts County mean that Solihull could well be low on confidence.
Kelty will undoubtedly fancy their chances. Regardless of result, it is sure to be a historic occasion at New Central Park on Saturday.
Ones to watch
Kelty Hearts – Nathan Austin
Solihull Moors – Nathan Blissett
Cumbernauld Colts vs East Kilbride
By Liam Govey
Cumbernauld Colts will be looking to get their season back on track as they host last season’s champions East Kilbride on Friday night. The Colts are without a win in three, having gone unbeaten until a 2-0 home defeat to league leaders Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic on a Friday night.
They had the opportunity to bounce back at a pointless Gretna 2008 side, but instead could only muster a goalless draw, giving Gretna their first point of the season.
A trip to Edinburgh only made things worse, as Colts fell to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Spartans. Spartans raced into a 3-0 lead before half-time, so the second-half fightback suggests a corner may be in the process of being turned. Colts have also taken some big results this season against Kelty Hearts and BSC Glasgow, so will be hoping for a return that impressive form against EK.
East Kilbride have had an equally indifferent start, with last season’s champions struggling to obtain any real consistency. The first six games have seen a mixture of wins and losses. EK have been immaculate on the road, winning games at Dalbeattie Star (0-2), Vale of Leithen (0-3) and East Stirlingshire (0-1) without conceding a single goal.
That said, their home form has been less than impressive, mustering only one win in their three fixtures at K Park. A 3-1 defeat to Caledonian Braves, and a 1-0 defeat to Civil Service Strollers were some cause for concern. However, last week’s 5-0 victory at home to Edinburgh University will undoubtedly allay concerns for the time being.
Kilby bolstered their squad through the week with the loan signings of defensive duo George Stanger from Hamilton Accies and Sam Fisher from Dundee.
East Kilbride have the upper hand with regard to last season’s meetings, following a goalless draw at K Park, and a 3-0 win at Broadwood. Given their away form, more of the same for EK would be unsurprising.
Ones to watch
Cumbernauld Colts – Stephen O’Neill
East Kilbride – Paul Woods
Vale of Leithen vs Caledonian Braves
By Euan Fairley
Mid-table Braves will be firm favourites as they travel to bottom side Vale on Saturday afternoon. The two teams’ last meeting was a 5-4 cracker and it promises to be another goal-fest with both teams involved in plenty of high-scoring games this season.
Vale are still searching for their first point in what has been a difficult campaign so far. Conceding 31 goals, they have only managed 2 in response, which were both scored by forward Brad Rixon. The last three games have seen them concede 14 goals and it is tricky to see anything less than another defeat against Braves. The one consolation for them is that they are yet to face 3 of the 4 teams shaping up to be their relegation rivals – Berwick, Dalbeattie and Gretna. It is likely to be these games that will shape their season and Vale should hope to at least get an improved result against Braves in the meantime.
After a promising start, Braves have slipped down to mid-table with some strong results offset by heavy defeats to the likes of Bonnyrigg, Kelty and BSC. Any neutrals planning to attend can look forward to plenty of goals with Braves’ games averaging just short of 5 goals per game. Their mixed season so far is best summed up by the fact that, despite being 5th top scorers in the league they are also 5th for goals conceded.
ONES TO WATCH
Vale of Leithen – Brad Rixon
Caledonian Braves – Blair Docherty
Edinburgh University vs University of Stirling
By Gregor Mackintosh
Edinburgh University will play host to Stirling University on Saturday in a highly anticipated early season clash, which Edinburgh University will see as a vital chance to gain some much needed points, as Dorian Ogunro’s men currently sit at 13th place in the Lowland League, having gained a rather underwhelming 3 points from their opening 7 games.
Edinburgh University are currently winless in their last 3 league games, with their last win being a 3-1 victory over struggling Vale of Leithen on the 10th of August. The University of Stirling however seem to have found their feet, with 2 consecutive victories in 4 days against Gala Fairydean Rovers and Vale of Leithen, with Chris Geddes surely feeling that he can stretch this run to 3 games, given opposite starts to the season for both sides. Edinburgh University will be looking to right their wrongs, with some heavy defeats so far this season from the likes of East Kilbride, East Stirlingshire and Caledonian Braves. The biggest problem for Dorian Ogunro this season seems to be the lack of a goal scoring threat, with many missed chances coming in each game and conceding without reply. Defending will be key for Edinburgh University, as they will look to hold the recently prolific Stirling University side out. Whereas Jason Jarvis and Craig Brown will be looking to add to their current Lowland League tally of 2 goals each.
This hotly anticipated match is sure to be an underrated cracker given some of the other games around the league this season, as the first University derby will take place between two of Scotland’s most historic Universities. Kick-off is at 3pm on Saturday at East Peffermill as both teams look to move themselves up the Lowland League table.
Ones to watch
Edinburgh University – Stuart Macfarlane
University of Stirling – Angus Mailer
Gretna 2008 vs Dalbeattie Star
By Martin Fleming
It’s a crucial bottom of the table battle at Raydale this week as Gretna host Dalbeattie Star and it’s a game where points are more important than ever.
Chris Humphrey’s men come off a humiliating 10-0 loss to league favourites Kelty Hearts. Their only point so far this season was thanks to a 0-0 draw with Cumbernauld Colts although they’ll need a lot more than a point this weekend if they wish to climb away from the relegation zone, with only Vale of Leithen below them and it’s games like these against fellow bottom four teams that are their best chances.
The away side come in only slightly better form as they sit one place above with 3 points, level with Edinburgh University and Berwick Rangers. Their only victory came over Edinburgh Uni at the end of August, but every other result has been a major disappointment for them including last weekend’s 4-0 home loss to East Stirlingshire.
Three points would be massive for either club and could help them shift away from the relegation zone.
Ones to Watch
Gretna 2008 – Kevin Connelly
Dalbeattie Star – Lewis Sloan
Civil Service Strollers vs The Spartans
By Martin Fleming
There’s only two points in this one between 3rd place Strollers and 8th place Spartans in a fixture that certainly shows how tight it is at the top of the table.
Gary Jardine’s men will come in confident after a tremendous start to the season. They come off the back of 3-1 victory over Berwick Rangers as well as the only team that can boast a stalemate with league leaders Bonnyrigg Rose. A victory at Christie Gillies Park could help them bridge the gap between East Stirlingshire and BSC Glasgow who are hot on their tails.
Spartans will however also arrive in good spirits, especially after having their confidence knocked when Kelty Hearts put five past them. They’ll hope to continue the good form that saw them hand Cumbernauld Colts their first defeat of the season last weekend. That 3-2 victory will hopefully get the former league champions back on track for a top four finish but a superb Strollers stand in their way.
It’s another game this weekend where three points is massive for either side.