Lowland League Roundup – Matchday 1

Overhead kicks, 30 yard free-kick goals, the Lowland League is back!

berwick rangers 1-0 vale of leithen

By Martin Fleming

A new and fresh Berwick Rangers squad tested our their new live stream as they hosted Vale of Leithen at Shielfield Park and secured an important three points thanks to an early contender for goal of the season. I know it’s only week one but you need to see it.

Despite the Black and Gold dominating early on, there was an early fright with a Vale corner following a Donovan Ndweni effort. Callum Smith misfired back towards his own goal but the Wee Gers’ defence were able to clear. Despite this, Callum Smith continued to look impressive for Berwick winning most balls against his markers.

Foreshadowing of what was to come, Jordan Sinclair had attempt for Berwick from 30 yards out but his strike went just wide. Just before half time, both sides seen their biggest chances – after a stramash in the box, Callum Smith got a shot away forcing Vale keeper Ben McGinley to tip it over and the Innerleithen men had their opportunity through Jonny Grotlin but his chance sailed over the bar.

Just after the break, the crucial moment came – Jordan Sinclair stepped up for a free kick from over 30 yards out and the thunderous strike cannoned off the crossbar and over the line to give the home team the advantage.

The rest of the second half seemingly came and went. No clear cut chances for either side but good showings from Callum Smith and Jo Purves allowed Berwick Rangers to see the game out and take three points from their opening game.

bsc glasgow 2-1 dalbeattie star

By Martin Fleming

The first half was not the ideal game of football Stephen Swift and his BSC side would have wanted but a solid second half secured them the three points and a hard loss for Dalbeattie Star.

Despite BSC dominating the opening possession, Ritchie Maxwell’s men grabbed a goal against the run of play – a lack of proper clearance by BSC allowed Connor Graham to get a shot away and while it was saved by Lyle Avci, it was not enough as Liam Park slotted in the rebound.

Only minutes later, there was controversy as the referee awards an indirect free kick for a pass back despite the BSC players adamant that Jamie Mills used his knee.  Dean Brotherston’s shot was blocked by the BSC wall.

Shortly before the break, a looping header from BSC’s Michael Anderson bounced off the crossbar allowing new boy Ryan Tierney to go for the rebound but his header went inches over giving Star the lead at half time.

Almost immediately BSC Glasgow grabbed the all-important equaliser. A ball into the box from Lewis Bell eventually fell to Jamie Hamilton who struck a low shot in the box, and despite the best efforts of Dalbeattie’s defence, the ball found the back of the net.

In the 68th minute, it was the home side that settled their nerves and found the lead. Again, it was some great work from Lewis Bell and Jamie Hamilton that allowed Hamilton and strike in the box leaving Star keeper Darren Malley with no chance.

gretna 2008 1-2 spartans

By Gregor Mackintosh

Spartans struck late to down a new-look Gretna 2008 side in the opening game of the league season.

Both sides included a number of new faces following a busy summer of recruitment but there wasn’t an awful lot to shout about for the first 20 minutes as both teams settled into the game.

Spartans broke the deadlock on the 26th minute when Blair Atkinson rifled a shot from 20 yards out past Aaran Taylor in the Gretna goal.

Spartans went into halftime 1-0 up, but it would take just 4 minutes for Gretna to pull one back. The Spartans trialist goalkeeper was adjudged to have fouled the oncoming Gretna attacker and debutant Jordan Irving made no mistake as his well-struck penalty gave Gretna a path back into the game.

Only a few minutes later Blair Atkinson was inches from sending Spartans ahead again after his header crashed off the Gretna bar to the relief of the home side’s defence.

Spartans would get their winner in the 82nd minute after some lovely play by substitute Archie Meekinson set up midfielder Sam Jones, who crossed to super-sub Cameron Dawson allowing him to stroke the ball home and give Spartans the three points to take back to Edinburgh.

Spartans are back in action on Tuesday night when they host Berwick Rangers at Ainslie Park, while Gretna 2008 will travel to K-Park to take on East Kilbride on Tuesday night also.

east stirlingshire 1-0 civil service strollers

By Gregor Mackintosh

Derek Ure’s East Stirlingshire side got off to a winning start at the weekend after a late Sean Brown volley gave The Shire their first ever opening day win in the Lowland League.

In what was a game of few chances, Shire and Strollers slugged it out for much of the game as both sides looked to find a goal.

It was Shire’s Jamie Dishington who would have the first real goalscoring chance of the game as the ball fell to the Shire winger at the back post, but his shot was blocked by a sliding Chris McKee in the Strollers defence.

The first half was fairly evenly contested, with Strollers defending well but struggling to trouble Ross Connelly in the Shire goal, while the same could be said for The Shire as they struggled to create many clear-cut chances.

The second half proved to be more exciting than the first, with Shire central midfielder Reis Peggie breaking forward before unleashing a low driven shot, forcing Strollers keeper Lewis Budinauckas into a superb save.

Shire would continue to control most of the ball for the second half but Strollers proved to be a well-drilled defensive unit and refused to give Shire an inch despite a flurry of second half Shire corners.

It was Sean Brown who would fire Shire into the lead, after a perfectly weighted Andy Rodgers freekick was floated to the back-post for Brown to volley past Budinauckas from close range.

Strollers would come close with the final chance of the game with Alieu Faye delivering a well-placed header on the Shire goal, but keeper Ross Connelly pulled off a brilliant athletic save to tip the ball over the bar in the dying minutes.

Shire are back in action on Tuesday night as they travel to Peffermill to take on Edinburgh University while Strollers will host BSC Glasgow as they look to claim their first win of the new season.


bo’ness united 2-1 cumbernauld colts

By Damon Main

Sadly, the loyal local fans were locked out on what was a huge day for Bo’ness United.

Traditionally one of Scottish Junior Football’s most recognised names, the B.U.’s welcomed Cumbernauld Colts to Newtown Park – the Lowland club being from the town that sits on the banks of the Firth of Forth.

Max Christie had spoken enthusiastically about the need for fans to get back inside ground’s referencing lower league football down south where fans are inside and enjoying watching football once again.

While the supporters of either side were not allowed in a video streaming service allowed an excellent stream of the game to be beamed back onto the electronic devices of fans at home.

Those Bo’ness fans watching would have experienced an anxious last few moments with Bo’ness holding on despite some intense Colts pressure towards the end of the match. Cammy Foy almost salvaged a point for Cumbernauld Colts, but it was not to be allowing the home side to scoop the full points.

After a goalless first half Bo’ness took the lead through Kieran Anderson’s free kick from the edge of the area which deflected in off the defensive wall.   A second was then added by Thomas Grant via a strike from the edge of the area.

Cumbernauld can possibly feel disappointed not to salvage a point against a Bo’ness side that had a few trialists.  Bo’ness United can rejoice in the win at a ground that has thankfully recovered from the fire of 2019.

gala fairydean rovers 0-4 bonnyrigg rose

By Damon Main

Gala Fairydean Rovers welcomed Bonnyrigg Rose to the Scottish Borders town in a trip which the Midlothian side would have welcomed given the mental trials and football complexities of the last 6 months.

With the Borders sunshine gazing down on a surface that looked very game ready the opening exchanges were all much of not very much.  With both Rose and Rovers being only two of the Lowland League sides who had not played any competitive football for some time it took most of the first half for all of the players to find a way into the rhythm of a very competitive football match.

When the goals did come it was two penalty kicks which gave Rose a 2-0 half-time lead.  Experienced midfielder Lee Currie dispatching both kicks on the 38th and in the 44th minute.

On 65 minutes the game was virtually over as a contest Scott Gray making it three with a tap in.   A fantastic strike from substitute Jamie Docherty made in 4-0 firing in a fine effort from a tight angle on the right-hand side.

On this showing Rovers may well struggle but it’s hard to tell in these strange times.  For Rose however the likelihood is they will be up near the top if the table come the season’s end.

kelty hearts 4-0 edinburgh university

By Craig Edwards

The defending Lowland League Champions started the defence of their title in empathic fashion with a 4-0 victory over Edinburgh University at New Central Park

New signing Kallum Higginbotham gave them the lead from the penalty spot after the referee had spotted a handball in the box by an Edinburgh University player.

The lead was doubled a couple of minutes later when Matty Flynn headed home before Ross Philp made sure of the points just before the hour mark.

Higginbotham marked his Lowland League debut with a second goal, this one an overhead kick from the edge of the six yard box.

Kelty move joint top of the table alongside last season’s runners-up Bonnyrigg Rose ahead of their Betfred Cup group match in midweek against Premier League side Dundee United while Edinburgh University welcome East Stirlingshire on matchday 2.

university of stirling 1-2 east kilbride

By Craig Edwards

Stephen Aitken marked his first game in charge of East Kilbride with victory as his side came from behind to beat University of Stirling at Forthbank Stadium.

In a goalless opening 45 minutes the opener came just before the hour when Penker got through one on one and beat Brennan to give the University side the lead.

Kilby responded only four minutes later with Craig Malcolm slotting the ball past the home keeper.

Both teams searched for a winner and with just over five minutes left on the clock, the visitors found it as Daryl Healy rose and with an acrobatic overhead kick, the ball found its way past the University keeper to give Kilby all three points.

The University side will aim to bounce back at Cumbernauld Colts while East Kilbride welcome Gretna 2008 in midweek.