Lowland League Roundup – Matchday 4

All the action from matchday 4 as the top two and bottom two both went head to head.


By Craig Edwards

Bonnyrigg Rose moved to the top of the Scottish Lowland League as they overcame East Stirlingshire at New Dundas Park.

Shire, who were top of the table on goal difference from Bonnyrigg arrived on the back of a 9-1 thrashing of Gretna 2008, but it was clear early on there would be no chance to replicate that scoreline.

Rose started brightly and a terrific one handed save from Jamie Barclay denied the home side an early lead but the hosts weren’t to be kept out for long.

A free kick on the edge of the box was hit perfectly by Currie. His effort crashed off the underside of the crossbar and over the line despite the best efforts of Barclay to keep the ball out.

A second free kick from Currie minutes later also hit the crossbar but Shire fought back and got an equaliser before half time. A ball headed back across goal found Mark Millar who fired the ball into the net.

It was a lively encounter and the second half was no different. A quick free kick set up McGachie to lay the ball off to Currie who drilled the ball past Barclay and into the net.

Bonnyrigg’s third came with just over ten minutes remaining when Hunter chested the ball down, turned and curled the ball over the keeper.

Robbie Horn’s side now sit on ten points out of a possible twelve while Shire drop off the top spot and down to fourth in the table.

BSC Glasgow 5-0 Dalbeattie Star

By Martin Fleming

A 5-star performance from BSC allowed their confidence to return after two losses in the last week, meanwhile Star’s poor form continues.

While the home side dominated the majority of the game, it was Ritchie Maxwell’s men that allowed Stephen Swift’s to break the deadlock only 20 minutes in – Thomas Orr was fouled in the box and converted home the penalty. The attacks continued and Orr nearly found his second only minutes later by rounding Star’s keeper Vinnie Parker but his low strike was blocked.

The second goal came thanks to a thunderous shot from Robbie McNab – after finding space just outside the box, the midfielder bulleted home a tremendous strike into the bottom left corner. It seemed like one of those days where no one would be surprised if almost all BSC attackers would end up on the scoresheet. Thomas Collins’ efforts just couldn’t penetrate the Star back line or Vinnie Parker while McNab almost grabbed a brace when he attempted an acrobatic volley during a one-on-one with Parker which sailed only inches over the crossbar.

Just before the half-time whistle, Thomas Orr was fouled again inside the box and slotted in another kick from the spot allowing BSC to go into the break 3-0 up.

BSC Glasgow remained on the attacking front straight out the gate and fantastic ball up-field found Thomas Collins and rather than go for the shot, he laid it off for Martin Grehan who put it home into an empty goal.

The final goal was courtesy of a fantastic volley from Ross Smith – a Declan Hughes free-kick went high over the defence and found Smith at the far post who smashed the volley into the top corner.

Yet another penalty came BSC’s way with 10 minutes to go but Vinnie Parker guessed right and prevented a sixth.


Stirling University 4-4 Cumbernauld Colts

By Martin Fleming

It was an 8-goal thriller at Forthbank this weekend with both teams desperate to continue good form and with two amazing comebacks from either side, a point seemed pretty fair.

Both teams struggled to break through either’s back line leading to some decent back and forth action in the opening 20 minutes. However, the deadlock broke on the 22nd minute thanks to Robbie McGale releasing Jason Jarvis who controls it and fires it beyond Jonathan Grier between the sticks.

The fans at Forthbank only had to wait two minutes for the next goal. Following a free-kick, the ball fell for Aiden Peden who found space and slotted the ball high into the net to give Stirling Uni a bit of breathing room and go into half-time with a two goal cushion.

However, it was Colts that came flying out the gate determined to fight back. Only 4 minutes into the half, Craig Murray grabbed the beginning of a comeback thanks to decent passing eventually allowing him a curving effort that finds the back of the net.

It took until the 67th minute when it was a man who’s been in really good form, Marty Wright to grab the equaliser capitalising on a decent counter attack. It was only 4 minutes later and he done the same again making the most of defensive errors to get the ball beyond Uni keeper Kevin Walker and give the Cumbernauld side their first advantage of the game.

Taking advantage of the confidence of his side and another sloppy mix-up at the back, Stephen O’Neil got in on the scoring 3 minutes later on the 75th minute to make it 4-2.

Stirling Uni desperately searched for the form they had in the first half and it showed when great control by skipper Angus Mailer allowed a shot that went high over Grier and into the top corner giving the Forthbank faithful some hope.

On the 90th minute when the 4-3 victory for Colts looked cemented, Louis Kennedy found space on the edge of the box and curled a fantastic shot into the top corner awarding a point to either side for their fight back in what could be one of the games of the season.


Kelty Hearts 5-0 Civil Service Strollers

By Liam Govey

Kelty Hearts maintained their blistering start to the season with a comprehensive victory over Civil Service Strollers at New Central Park. On a day where the weather couldn’t make up its mind, the Hearts were clinical and decisive for 90 minutes against their Edinburgh counterparts.

Things got off to a great start as Nathan Austin beat the offside trap to put the home side ahead with a clinical poacher’s finish befitting of a man in the form of his life. His sixth goal in three league games came soon after, following some intricate play around the box. Barely quarter of an hour gone and the hosts were flying.

It had been the Nathan Austin show, until he was subbed off after 20 minutes with a knock, much to the dismay of Barry Ferguson in the Kelty dugout. His enforced substitution certainly took the sting out of the game for Kelty, who still dominated the first half without creating many other chances.

The home side got going again in the second half when they were awarded a penalty just after half-time. Left-back Scott Linton duly converted the resultant spot kick to put Kelty 3-0 up. Soon after, it was four, with Chris Dodd reacting emphatically to Stephen Husband’s parried shot on the rebound with a brilliant finish.

It could have been five a couple of times, after Danny Ashe had his header cleared off the line. The Trialist goalkeeper for Strollers also kept the score down with a couple of quickfire saves from Ross Philp.

He couldn’t keep it down for long, however, as Stuart Cargill fired in a fifth for the hosts, following an incisive counterattack. It was an afternoon to forget for the away side, who’d barely created a chance of note.

Strollers slip to 7th in the standings, with Kelty Hearts moving up to 2nd, having played a game less than leaders Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic.


Edinburgh University 3-1 Vale of Leithen

By Euan Fairley

Edinburgh University secured a deserved victory in this meeting of the league’s bottom two teams at East Peffermill on Saturday. Despite an improved second half, Vale of Leithen will be disappointed with their first-half collapse which ultimately consigned them to another week amongst the league’s basement boys.

The warm, dry conditions defied reports of rain and the game quickly sprang to life. A wayward back-pass from Vale left Goalkeeper Andrew McQueen stranded and hit the side netting, much to the relief of the guilty party. From the resulting corner the ball was headed just wide by Uni.

At the other end, Vale’s Liam Ireland’s drilled shot was saved by the feet of Uni’s Goalkeeper Kieran McDougall amongst a frantic opening to the game.

As the game settled, Edinburgh started to see more of the possession while Vale appeared content to hit their opponents on the counter-attack. Vale’s strategy was initially effective. They did, however, have Josh Wishart to thank for an excellent last-ditch tackle to deny Uni a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

After 25mins, Uni broke the deadlock in controversial circumstances. Vale failed to clear and the ball fell to Uni’s captain Luke Murray who was enjoying the freedom of the right wing. Murray’s low, whipped cross across goal fell perfectly to Uni’s number 10 Patrick Baird who appeared to bundle the ball over the line. As the ball was cleared, the protests began from the Uni players and the game initially continued with neither the Referee nor Linesman making a decision. Amid further protests, the referee consulted with his linesman and gave the goal, much to the annoyance of Vale and their small band of supporters.

Vale almost found an unlikely equaliser when Brad Rixon found himself through on goal, yet his driven shot from just inside the box was well tipped onto the bar by McDougall.

Shortly before half-time, Uni’s superiority paid off with two well-taken goals. The first came from a corner on 39mins with the ball falling nicely to Stuart McFarlane who rocketed the ball into the top corner of Vale’s net – a striker’s finish from the big Centre-Back. The second was a fine cross from the left which found Aiden Kemp, who calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner, leaving Vale with a mountain to climb.

Vale’s number 10 Rixon had always looked like their brightest spark and it was he who got their only goal on 55mins. Put through on goal, he brushed off the attention of the Uni defender before slotting past McDougall.

Vale plugged away but couldn’t find another goal and the game ended with one further moment of controversy, Daniel McBeth seeing a deserved red for a late lunge on Vale substitute Liall Smith. In a game which had been largely well-natured, it appeared a moment of madness from the Uni Centre-Back who will surely take time to reflect.

In the end Uni’s first-half showing proved the difference between the teams and they took a deserved victory, which lifts them up to 12th place. Vale can take heart from their second-half showing but remain pointless ahead of the visit of Kelty in two weeks’ time.


East Kilbrdie 1-3 Caledonian Braves

By Ben McNicol

Caledonian Braves pulled off a huge shock on Saturday afternoon as they beat last seasons champions, East Kilbride 3-1 on their own soil.

The game, which was goalless at half-time, burst into action in the second-half as goals from Ross McNeil, David Sinclair and Jean Guy Lucas sealed a fantastic victory for Ricky Waddell’s side.

The away side came flying out the traps with captain Ross McNeil, in the thick of the action throughout the opening 15 minutes as he went close with two efforts, before Marc Kelly fired his shot wide.

McNeil had another opportunity on the 24th minute, when this time he was slid through on goal by Neil McLaughlin, but the 27-year-old fired over.

Kilby’s started to come back into the game after the half-hour mark, missing two good chances to take the lead. Firstly, when a curling effort was saved and well held from Nicky Hogarth before a cut back was skied over the bar by Craig Malcom.

Similar to the first-half, Caledonian Braves made a fast start, but they had to be more clinical and take one of their chances if they wanted to down the champions.

They done exactly that as The Braves were awarded a penalty a minute after the re-start and McNeil stepped up and sent Alan Martin the wrong way, to score against his former club and put Caley ahead.

It was 2-0 on the 57th minute, when a free-kick from 35 yards out by David Sinclair beat everyone in the Kilby box and somehow went by Martin. A strange goal, but I’m sure the visitors didn’t care less.

Kilby pulled a goal back on the 67th minute when a high ball into the box by Dean Cairns found Malcom, who’s backwards header looped over Hogarth, despite suspicions of the East Kilbride striker being offside.

McNeil had an excellent chance to double his tally for the afternoon as a fantastic cross by Blair Docherty found the Braves striker all by himself, but he could only divert his header over the bar from six yards out.

However, The Alliance Park outfit deservedly restored their two goal advantage five minutes from time as Jean Guy Lucas beat his man on the edge of the box, before cutting onto his left foot and curling into the far corner.


Gala Fairydean Rovers 0-2 The Spartans

By Ronan Alexander

Two goals in the final 10 minutes secured an important victory on the road for Spartans on Saturday at Netherdale 3G Arena.

16-year-old Nicky Reid bagged the opener after 83 minutes before Blair Atkinson claimed the second to seal the points for Dougie Samuel’s men.

An end to end first half brought out the best from highly rated Spartans stopper Blair Carswell. Meanwhile, Hibs loanee Gregor Woods went closest to scoring for the away side.

During the last 15 minutes, the match came alive. Firstly, Spartans centre back Blair Tolmie was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence. With Gala aiming to snatch all three points, it was the visitors who went on to grab an unlikely win.

Reid grabbed the opener when the ball dropped to the youngster on the edge of the box and he fired it into the right corner of the net.

With Gala going all out attack for a late equaliser, Spartans doubled their lead on the counter attack when Atkinson went through one on one and rounded Gala keeper Morton and fired the ball into an empty net.