Lowland League Preview – Matchday 9

We’re back in action… almost! There are a few postponements in this week’s card as Civil Service Strollers, Kelty Hearts and Dalbeattie Star are all in Scottish Cup First Round replay action which means that there are just four matches going ahead in the GeoSonic Lowland League.

As ever, your intrepid reporters Ronan Alexander, Craig Edwards, Jordan Robertson and Martin Fleming are here to guide you through them.

east stirlingshire vs gala fairydean roverS

by Ronan Alexander

After emphatic wins in the Scottish Cup last weekend, Shire and Gala come into Saturday’s game full of confidence looking to translate that form into the league. Both sides haven’t been at their best so far, with the hosts languishing in tenth position with the visitors down in 13th, the two sides will be desperate to start climbing the table.

Derek Ure’s men won 4-1 away to Huntly last weekend. Drew Ramsay opened the scoring before the hosts equalised, but an Andy Rodgers penalty but Shire back in front before a Ross Allum brace sealed the victory. That win set up a second-round tie against Saturday’s opponents Gala.

Dean Shanks side won 6-0 against Lossiemouth with Hibs loanee Ruari Paton bagging a hat trick with Tommy Patterson, Sean McKirdy and Dale Baxter also getting on the score sheet. Recent signing Patrick Martin, who joined on loan from Hibs got his Gala career off to the perfect start with a clean sheet.

Last season, this fixture finished goalless, but both teams will be desperate to take the three points and start climbing the table.

Ones to watch

East Stirlingshire: Andy Rodgers
Gala Fairydean Rovers: Ruari Paton

gretna 2008 vs Edusport academy

by Craig Edwards

It’s a local derby at Raydale Park this weekend as Edusport Academy make the trip to face Gretna 2008.

Both sides come into the game on the back of booking a place in the William Hill Scottish Cup second round with home victories after Gretna 2008 beat fellow Lowland League side, Vale of Leithen, while Edusport beat Buckie Thistle. Both games last year ended in comfortable away wins, with Edusport winning 3-0 at Raydale Park last season.

It’s the visitors that have had the much better start this season as they sit up in fifth place, while Gretna 2008 are struggling in fourteenth position.

Despite two cup wins in a row, Gretna 2008 haven’t won in the league since the 4th August and could do with three points this weekend to try and move away from the bottom of the table.

Ones to watch

Gretna 2008: Ashley Kelly
Edusport Academy: Scott McLaughlin

cumbernauld colts vs whitehill welfare

by Jordan Robertson

This fixture pairs one of the league’s form sides against one of the league’s struggling sides. The Colts will be pretty pleased with their start to the season as they have won four of their six games played so far. The aptly named Fraser Team has been doing wonders for his side and has six goals already this season.

However, the visitors will not be looking forward to this game. They go into this one in horrendous form, losing seven of their eight league games and six of those defeats came in consecutive matches. It is not all doom and gloom for Welfare though as they did manage to defeat Edinburgh Uni 1-0 in the cup last time out so they will be hoping that result provides them with a platform to build on.

Colts’ Fraser Team has been impressive so far this season and Sean Brown is always a top performer so Welfare will have to be wary of them both.

Ones to watch

Cumbernauld Colts: Fraser Team
Whitehill Welfare: Kevin Keane

university of stirling vs Vale of Leithen

by Martin Fleming

It’s a battle of the mid-table as the Forthbank side host a Vale squad searching to regain their run of good form from the start of the campaign.

Chris Geddes’ men will hope to utilise their recent form in cup competition to great effect as they play their first league game in a fortnight. The University side enjoyed a 2-1 away victory against Dalkeith Thistle in the South Challenge Cup followed by a Scottish Cup First Round win against Highland League side Keith.

Vale of Leithen will come into this fixture keeping quiet about their recent cup exploits as they suffered two tournament defeats; a 4-2 loss against Jeanfield Swifts in the South Challenge and a surprising 3-2 loss to Gretna 2008 in the Scottish Cup. A win is extremely necessary for a side that must show their opening games of the season weren’t just flukes.

A win for either side could see them potentially climbing into top 6 territory.

Ones to watch

University of Stirling: Alex Webb
Vale of Leithen: Kerr Allan