Lowland League Roundup – Matchday 8

Kelty put up an excellent fight in Cup action and we no longer have any unbeaten teams in the league


By Craig Edwards

The last unbeaten record in the Lowland League fell as BSC Glasgow beat league leaders Bonnyrigg Rose at New Dundas Park.

It was Rose’s first competitive defeat since Bo’ness United back in April, but they stay top of the table as Kelty Hearts were not in league action.

BSC started bright and took the lead on the 15th minute when Robbie McNab slotted the ball under the keeper and into the back of the net.

The lead was doubled just over ten minutes later when hesitation in the Rose defence allowed Jamie McCormack to lift the ball over the keeper and Thomas Collins was there to head home from a yard out.

It got even better for the visitors after the break when Collins again struck, this time with a curling effort into the top corner.

Bonnyrigg aren’t top of the league for no reason and tried to fight back with Lewis Turner tapping home to give the home side some hope. The home side tried everything but a combination of Ryan Marshall in the BSC goal, the crossbar and brave BSC defending denied the hosts a way back into the game.

Bonnyrigg stay top but BSC are now only three points adrift in third with a game in hand on the leaders as well as the top of the Lowland League tightens up again.

Kelty Hearts 1-1 Solihull Moors (Solihull Moors win 4-2 on penalties)

By Liam Govey

On a historic day for Kelty and the Lowland League, the Fife side fell agonisingly short of a major upset. The part-time Fife side ran full-time National League side Solihull Moors incredibly close in what was a feisty Challenge Cup Third Round encounter.

With English, Welsh, Irish and Northern Irish sides entering in this round, Kelty drew the plum tie as the only remaining Lowland League side. Their league form had been magnificent in the run-up to the game, and the hosts began positively. 37 minutes in, the opening goal game courtesy of a Cammy Russell header. An upset was on the cards!

The second half continued to be a scrappy affair, with the yellow cards piling up for the Moors. They eventually equalised after 72 minutes through Matty Stenson following an incisive counter-attack. Cammy Russell almost made it 2-1 with ten minutes remaining, but his shot came off the upright. With no extra time in the Challenge Cup, penalties beckoned for the second time in the tournament for Kelty.

Devastatingly, Cammy Russell’s penalty was saved after two penalties apiece, with Scott Linton’s penalty missed in the following spot-kick. Solihull scored all of their penalties to see themselves into the Fourth Round. As for Kelty, they can feel justifiably proud of their efforts.


Cumbernauld Colts 2-2 East Kilbride

By Liam Govey

Though many would have been focused on the Scotland game, Clyde’s home tie in the Challenge Cup Third Round meant that Cumbernauld Colts would have to play their home fixture against East Kilbride on a Friday night.

The Colts hadn’t won since losing 2-0 to Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic on their last Friday night fixture. Things got off to a more positive start against EK, as Craig Murray’s strike from the edge of the box gave the home side the lead after half an hour.

East Kilbride hit back ten minutes later, as David Brownlie converted Dan Carmichael’s corner with a bullet header. The teams were set to go in level at the break, until Stephen O’Neill made it 2-1 to the home side just before the half-time whistle.

Arnault Bembo saw a second yellow card with ten minutes remaining, leaving Cumbernauld a man short. Moments later, EK took advantage of their extra man, with Bernard Coll’s cross finding Ruari Paton to level the scores.

A point apiece did neither team any favours in their title aspirations, leaving Cumbernauld in 9th and East Kilbride in 8th following the remainder of the weekend’s fixtures.


Gretna 2008 2-4 Dalbeattie Star

By Martin Fleming

A six goal thriller entertained spectators at Raydale Park this weekend but a massive four goals by Dalbeattie Star allowed them to pull away from the bottom four.

It was a rough first half for Chris Humphrey’s Gretna men and given the final score, it could’ve been a different story. Only 7 minutes in and the home side gave away a penalty which Star’s Steven Degnan converted. 16 minutes later and it was a carbon copy – another penalty given against Gretna allowed Degnan to confirm a brace early on and give Ritchie Maxwell’s men a two goal advantage going into the break.

Whatever words of wisdom Chris Humphrey imparted on his players at half-time, they worked a treat because after 5 minutes of the restart, the game was equal; Jack Dickinson pulled the first one back immediately followed by Dean Makunike.

However, Star were determined this weekend would finally be theirs. Steven Degnan won himself the match ball when he put his side ahead again on the 57th minute, while shortly after Phillip Middlemiss put the game to rest and confirmed a massive three points for his side.

Gretna remains 15th only above Vale of Leithen while Star will enjoy finally being away from the bottom four.


Civil Service Strollers 1-2 The Spartans

By Martin Fleming

It was a massive game at Christie Gillies Park for either side this weekend with both squads desperate to cement their place in the top five before the South Challenge Cup break next weekend.

Despite Strollers’ fantastic start to the season, it was Spartans who came flying out the gate determined to grab an early goal. Only 16 minutes in, Aaron Murrell done well to control the ball and pick out Blair Atkinson who slotted the ball home giving Dougie Samuel a breath of relief.

It was the North Edinburgh side who continued to dominate the first half and bridged the gap just before the break. Spartans skipper, Adam Corbett got on the end of a corner and headed it in the back of the net.

Just after the restart, Blair Atkinson almost grabbed a brace but his shot was just wide. Despite Strollers’ attempt for a fight back, they could only get a consolation shortly before the final whistle when Josh Morris pulled one back for the home side.

Thanks to this solid away victory, Spartans move into 5th place on joint points with Caledonian Braves and only four behind league leaders Bonnyrigg Rose while Strollers fall one below them to 6th only one point behind.


Edinburgh University 1-1 University of Stirling

By Gregor Mackintosh

The first University Derby of the 2019/20 season ended in a 1-1 draw at Peffermill, concluding a run of 3 consecutive defeats for Dorian Ogunro’s Edinburgh University side, while Chris Geddes Stirling University side extend their unbeaten run to 3 games.

Fans had to wait for the first University Derby to get underway, as one of the assistant referees got stuck in traffic which caused the game to be delayed a few minutes. This appeared to foreshadow what would happen in the game, as both sides may have been frustrated not to take all 3 points against their rivals.

The first real chance of the game came the way of Stirling Uni, as they struck from a corner but Edinburgh Uni keeper Kieran McDougall was equal to it and turned the shot round the post from close range. Stirling Uni controlled most of the first half as Edinburgh Uni looked to defend and get chances on the counter, but it was Stirling Uni’s perseverance which eventually saw them rewarded in the 25th minute, as key man and skipper Angus Mailer headed home from the front post to give Stirling Uni a well deserved lead. Stirling Uni may have felt they should have been more than 1 goal up by halftime, but Edinburgh Uni goalie Kieran McDougall done well to keep the score close and give his Edinburgh Uni teammates a chance to get back into the game.

The second half began and within minutes Edinburgh Uni had managed to grab a goal back, as Mark Waters met the ball at the back post and converted past Kevin Walker in the Stirling Uni goal. Stirling responded well however, again forcing Edinburgh keeper Kieran McDougall into a superb double save this time. Edinburgh responded by firing just over the bar from 25 yards, which looked to be going into the top corner for a split second, but Kieran McDougall was again forced into action as Stirling went up the park, but he was equal to Robbie McGale’s strike. It wouldn’t be a derby without a red card, and that’s exactly what happened next as Edinburgh Uni were reduced to 10 men in the 70th minute. Both teams scrambled in the last 20 minutes as they tried to find a goal to win the game, but it wasn’t to be for either side as the match finished at 1-1, with the University Derby certainly living up to the hype.

This result sees both Edinburgh and Stirling Uni remain in the same league position as they were before the game, but Edinburgh will be happy that they seemed to have ironed out the defensive frailties shown early on in the season, while Stirling may be disappointed that they weren’t as clinical as they were in their recent matches.

It’s SFA South Challenge Cup action next week for Stirling Uni, as they take on Arniston Rangers at home. Edinburgh Uni will need to wait for Scottish Cup weekend on the 21st, as they face off with Junior side Lochee United at Peffermill.


Gala Fairydean Rovers 2-2 Berwick Rangers

By Ben McNicol

Gala Fairydean Rovers and Berwick Rangers couldn’t be separated on Saturday afternoon as the game ended in an entertaining 2-2 draw at Netherdale.

Berwick brought a good support to Galashiels to watch their side in the “Borders Derby”, despite having a disappointing start to the season, and their loyalty was quickly rewarded as Daryl Healy nodded home after six minutes to put The Wee Rangers ahead.

However, after looking in control of matters, the game was turned on its head as Gala Fairydean Rovers were awarded two penalties in quick succession. Scott Taylor- Mackenzie was the man who was handed the ball on both occasions and he made no mistake as he slotted home the first one, before needing the help of his team mate Jack Cowan to bundle the second one over the line after Sean Brennan made a good save originally.

After going behind Berwick never gave up and equalised just four minutes later as that man Healy scored his second goal of the afternoon to pull his side level.

The second-half was goalless, but if anyone was likely to win the game it was the visitors as Ian Little’s men pushed for a winner and had two goals ruled out for offside.

However, GFR nearly stole all three points right at the death as the home side broke on the counter-attack and were only denied the winner by a fantastic Brennan save.


Vale of Leithen 0-3 Caledonian Braves

By Euan Fairley

Luck wasn’t shining on plucky Vale in their encounter with Braves on Saturday as they fell to their latest heavy defeat. Despite a good first half they were again let down by poor defending and eventually fell to the superior Braves. The visitors on the other hand confidently overcame a determined Vale performance but have Marc Kelly to thank for the clinical finishing their performance otherwise lacked.

Conditions were excellent at kick off in the beautiful setting of Innerleithen and the game started slowly as both teams struggled to take control in the midfield. After 10 minutes Braves mustered the first clear chance of the game as a cut back from the impressive Jean Guy Lucas found Ben Daily unmarked, however he was unable to keep his shot from 10 yards under the bar.

Vale then had a chance of their own as a counter-attacking move found its way to Liam Ireland who curled a sweet effort just high and wide of the far angle of the goal.

On the quarter-hour mark Braves had two guilt-edged chances as they began to put Vale on the back foot. The first fell to forward Ross McNeil who found himself with a free header at the back post from a corner, however the Goalkeeper appeared to make a good save and the ball dropped just wide of the goal. The second fell to Ben Daly after a long, hopeful ball out of the Braves defence saw him beat the on-rushing Vale Goalkeeper to the ball. After rounding the ‘keeper he was able to keep his shot on target but Vale defender Calum O’Neil managed to get back just in time to clear off the line.

On 20 mnutes, Braves made the breakthrough. A swift one-two found Marc Kelly free in the box and he coolly slipped the ball under Andrew McQueen in the Vale goal. Vale will be disappointed that he wasn’t tracked as their defensive frailties continued to show.

Vale continued to plug away and had two good chances as half-time approached. A counter-attack found Ireland free on the edge of the box but his weak shot allowed Hogarth to tip the ball away low to his left. Shortly after they had their best chance to equalise. Braves failed to clear a ball into the box and the sheer determination of Liall Smith enabled him to rob the defender and break through on goal. Smith’s low, driven shot from 10 yards was excellently saved by the outstretched foot of Hogarth who then rose quickly to punch the ball away just in the nick of time.

Football can be a cruel sport and lady luck can be in short supply for those at the wrong end of the league. From being so close to an equaliser Vale found themselves with a mountain to climb. A hopeful ball from the Braves right found its’ way to Ross McNeil in the box. His shot was well saved by McQueen, however fell kindly for Kelly to tap into an empty net. At that point it felt like the belief drained from Vale and Braves would take control of the remainder of the game.

As the second-half kicked off Braves immediately had an opportunity. A few nice passes put McNeil through on goal but Paul Thomson got back just in time to deny him, injuring himself in the process.

Braves scored their third on 65mins from the most simple of corners. The ball was met at the back post by Kelly, who slipped his marker with ease and headed accurately into the bottom corner of the net.

Braves continued to make a number of chances but in truth the game was over at half-time and Vale seemed content to keep the scoreline down. Vale should take plenty of positives from a game where they ran Braves close for 40 minutes, showing plenty of fight and some nice football. If Liall Smith had taken his chance just before half-time then the game could have been very different. Braves can be pleased with a solid performance where they looked good in all areas. The only criticism that could be levelled at them is poor finishing as – Marc Kelly aside – they passed up a number of good opportunities.