Another Monday roundup of this weekends Lowland League action
CALEDONIAN BRAVES 0-3 EAST STIRLINGSHIRE
By Craig Edwards
Three goals in the second half was enough for East Stirlingshire to take all three points on their first visit to Alliance Park.
The first half saw both teams frustrate each other until the 40th minute when Nicky Low was slipped in and his effort beat Alex Marshall but Dom Slattery was able to get back and block the shot on the line.
Shire got their lead a couple of minutes into the second half. Good hold up play by Callum Tapping who then laid the ball off to Reis Peggie who found the bottom corner.
The lead was doubled thanks to a great run by Bobby Barr into the box before firing into the top corner and then points were then secured on the 70th minute when Low struck after Slattery had cleared Jamie Dishington’s header off the line.
The three points move Shire to fifth in the table while for Caledonian Braves, the defeat leaves them in seventh position, seven points adrift of the top of the table.
BSC Glasgow 3-0 University of Stirling
By Martin Fleming
Stephen Swift’s men continued their run of fantastic form as they put three past the University men at The Indodrill this weekend and Chris Geddes’ squad remain mid-table.
Despite the final result, the opening half saw very few chances for either side. Only a couple of major opportunities fell BSC’s way but neither Martin Grehan nor Thomas Collins could properly break through. Stirling’s biggest chance came near the break when a lovely low ball was delivered into the box and all Callum Heath had to do was stick a toe on it but he couldn’t stretch far enough.
Immediately following the restart, it was the home side that won a free kick and managed to convert it to break the deadlock. Jamie Hamilton’s low rocket took a deflection or two on the way which gave Uni keeper, Kevin Walker no chance. Only five minutes later, an equaliser looked certain. After a free kick stung the palms of BSC goalie, Ryan Marshall, they tried to quickly get onto the rebound but Marshall made a tremendous stop to keep the clean sheet.
Just on the hour mark, Stirling Uni’s Alex Webb saw a red card when he had a tug on Martin Grehan preventing a goal scoring opportunity. After the red, the game slowed its pace once again. That was, until the last ten minutes. BSC’s second came thanks to a low cross from Thomas Orr that allowed Martin Grehan to tap in then in injury time, another assist from Orr found Thomas Collins who was able to header it in with no Uni defenders marking him.
BSC Glasgow will look towards their crucial fixture on Wednesday night against East Kilbride in order to really fight for the top spot; meanwhile University of Stirling will want to climb away from the bottom half and hope for an upset over Kelty Hearts in their Tuesday night fixture.
Gretna 2008 1-2 Bonnyrigg Rose
By Martin Fleming
In this top vs bottom battle, the result may have not went as one sided as many expected but there was positives for both sides.
Rose were able to capitalise early on in the match as only twelve minutes in, a high ball from Neil Martyniuk found George Hunter in the box and the forward was able to slot it home past Gretna keeper Cameron Copland.
Just before the half hour mark, Bonnyrigg grabbed their second and Raydale spectators could be forgiven if they worried this game could end up a cricket score. George Hunter managed to chase down a ball and was able to get the better of the Gretna defence and pick out Jamie Devlin who found the back of the net with a simple finish.
After half-time, Chris Humphry’s side put up more of a fight than they have in recent weeks had a fair few chances that they just couldn’t take advantage of. With fifteen minutes remaining, the home side grabbed a consolation thanks to Dean Makunike converting an opportunity out of nowhere but unfortunately for Gretna, it wasn’t enough to strike up a remarkable upset.
Bonnyrigg Rose remain top of the Lowland League table and will look ahead optimistically to their away Edinburgh University trip on Tuesday night. Meanwhile Gretna 2008 will be gutted as, despite a good performance, they have fallen to dead bottom of the table after Vale of Leithen found their first win of the season. They host Gala Fairydean Rovers in their midweek fixture.
Dalbeattie Star 1-3 Vale of Leithen
By Ronan Alexander
Vale of Leithen collected their first points of the season and climbed off the bottom of the table after coming out on top in the crucial six pointer at the wrong end of the table.
Dalbeattie could have opened up a nine-point gap at the bottom of the table to give themselves some breathing space, but they failed to take their chances and have their work cut out over the coming weeks.
Despite Star having the better of the first half, it was Vale who opened the scoring after 39 minutes when Brad Rixon curled an effort into the far-right corner.
The hosts did find an equaliser just after the hour mark when Lewis Sloan fed substitute Phil Middlemiss who scored in his second consecutive league fixture to tip the game in the balance.
However, it was Chris Anderson’s side who went back in front only two minutes later when Liam Ireland fired beyond Parker to restore Vale’s advantage.
Dalbeattie continued to press for a way back into the match but it was Vale who wrapped things up eight minutes from time. Goalkeeper Ross Gilpin sent a clearance up the park which Dalbeattie failed to deal with and Robel Dent scored his first Vale goal to seal a crucial three points.
Berwick Rangers 2-2 Cumbernauld Colts
By Gregor Mackintosh
A Lewis Bonar double for Cumbernauld Colts secured a draw after being 2-0 down at Shielfield Park, in what was a rather frustrating final 25 minutes for Berwick as they looked to have sealed an important win.
The game started fairly even, with both teams getting forward but neither registering a shot on goal. That was until Cumbernauld’s Stephen O’Neil danced around the Berwick defence with some excellent footwork, but the usually prolific Marty Wright could only find the hands of Berwick goalkeeper Mark Walters.
Berwick then came close, after Rangers loanee Joao Baldé had his shot blocked but Lewis Barr’s follow up went just past the Cumbernauld goal. Barr and Baldé linked up yet again, this time Lewis Barr got his shot on target, but it wasn’t enough to beat Jonathan Grier in the Cumbernauld goal.
It was Berwick who opened the scoring, as Kevin Waugh’s delightful looping cross found Daniel Purves at the back post, whose diving header back across goal was enough to put Berwick 1-0 up. Cumbernauld were then awarded a penalty, but Ross Kavanagh fired his attempt over the bar from 12 yards. Berwick soon punished Cumbernauld for this mistake, as Kevin Waugh’s free kick from 30 yards out trundled past a sea of bodies before finding its way into the bottom corner just after half time.
Cumbernauld took 20 minutes to respond to this, but Lewis Bonar’s thumping header from a corner at close range gave Cumbernauld a lifeline. Cumbernauld pushed desperately to find an equaliser for the remainder of the game, with Berwick’s only other notable chance of the game forcing Jonathan Grier into a save with his feet. Cumbernauld eventually found the goal they had been looking for, as Lewis Bonar found the bottom corner with his header, which was enough to rescue a point for Cumbernauld.
Cumbernauld are next in action on Wednesday night when they take on Civil Service Strollers at home, while Berwick’s match with Spartans is postponed due to Spartans Scottish Cup tie being rescheduled.
Kelty Hearts 3-0 Gala Fairydean Rovers
By Euan Fairley
Kelty were made to work for their victory by a stubborn Gala in what was a repeat fixture of Barry Ferguson’s first game in charge. Gala will rue Lewis Grant’s red card, without which they may have pulled off a shock.
Kelty, fielding new signing Tam Scobbie for the first time, began the game positively and had their first chance within 15 seconds. From kick-off Chris Dodd broke down the left hand side, beat his man and found Nathan Austin unmarked at the far post. Surprisingly the runaway top goalscorer in the Lowland League seemed to lose his composure and lashed the ball over the bar from close range.
The first half was littered with half chances for Kelty, however they struggled to create clear opportunities and Gala’s counter-attacking strategy made them dangerous themselves. Gala’s best chance of the half came from a corner and Zander Murray should have done better with his header from 10 yards.
Kelty broke the deadlock on 34mins with a deserved opener. The ball fell to Ross Philp on the edge of the box and he dispatched his shot into the bottom corner of the net. Nathan Austin looked to claim a touch on it as it went through but ultimately the goal was Philp’s.
Just on half time Stephen Husband could have seen red for a reckless challenge on Scott Mackenzie but was spared by the referee. This was to prove controversial as the second half began. A poor touch from Gala centre-back Grant was followed by a lunging tackle on Scott Linton, which earned him a deserved red.
The result was quickly put beyond doubt three minutes later. Gala keeper Fraser Morton failed to catch Dodd’s cross into the box and from the resulting scramble Cammy Russell dispatched the ball low into the net.
Kelty got their third on 68 minutes. A mis-placed pass from Gala captain Mackenzie left them exposed at the back and Kelty quickly found Austin who broke away on the left and dispatched his shot low into the far corner of the net.
In the end the red card ended the game as a contest and Kelty made the most of their extra man. Gala can be pleased with their efforts after frustrating the home team and fans for large parts of the game. Without the sending off they may have taken something from the game but ultimately the Kelty title challenge continues on to Forthbank, where they face Stirling Uni on Tuesday night.
Edinburgh University 1-3 Civil Service Strollers
By Damon Main
For a team who juggle midweek BUCS fixtures and academic study with the demands of the both the William Hill Scottish Cup and Lowland League fixtures it’s fair say that the EUAFC squad are a busy bunch.
The squad of players takes on a lot of challenges each week across the various fixtures meaning continual regrouping and positivity is crucial to each gameday head on a Saturday especially in the very competitive Lowland League.
Although the 3-3 midweek draw in student BUCS football would suggest the home team had put the demands of the previous weekend’s Scottish Cup defeat to Lochee United behind them, fresh energy sources would be required if three points were to be won by Dorian Ugunro’s side.
The goodwill that exists in the Lowland League set up was indicated by the late switch of this fixture to the Edinburgh Uni home of East Peffermill. With Christie Gillies Park undergoing something of a ground transformation (six new floodlight pylons are being erected and tested at the home of Civil Service Strollers) the visiting team would be hoping the late change might bring a change of fortunes.
Defeat to Buckie Thistle up in Moray the previous weekend hit the Muirhouse side and former Edinburgh City manager Gary Jardine hard with the home team showing Highland League class to sweep Strollers aside with four goals. Only the consolation penalty from striker Cammy Muirhead had provided some cheer for Strollers who were second best against the Highland side throughout.
University have struggled from the word go this season and only three points from a much needed 3-1 win against Vale of Leithen has given the students some breathing space at the foot of the table. Strollers meanwhile, have been anything but strugglers with early season early positivity only being brought to a firm halt via the 0-5 reverse against Kelty Hearts.
That Uni’ propensity to leek goals was evident in the early forays in the fixture. Strollers looked far more comfortable and confident while moving the ball around the well tended Peffermill East grass pitch.
The addition of new younger players with professional academy experience on the left meanwhile has brought good strength and physicality to the Striollers side who were resplendant in red shirts and white shorts.
However ball possession was largely level pegging for large chunks of the first half. It was a cagey half which was only punctuated into life via a few corners awarded to each side and a caution which was given to Edinburgh University by referee Craig Macrae on 43 minutes.
Whatever Civil Service manager Gary Jardine said to his side at half-time seemed to work with the visitors taking the lead after only a few minutes of the half. The opening goal came from danger man Cammy Muirhead who continued his goalscoring exploits from Buckie the previous weekend to fire past the University goalkeeper after being played in by Jack Hodge.
If you had been at the previous weekends Scottish Cup tie at peffermill when Uni’ took on Lochee United you’d have been forgiven for any feelings of déjà vu as EUAFC equalised to bring the teams level. A corner fired into the visiting box was finished by Patrick Baird to bring the student side level arguably against the run of play.
Indeed that game pattern continued further as with University chasing the lead and a much needed three points Strollers went back in front thanks to Jack Hodge. The goal came thanks to a superb strike from 24 yards out which nestled low into the bottom corner at the north end of the ground.
With Strollers looking more assured with the ball the three points were secured in the later stages with Cammy Muirhead again scoring and grabbing his second of the fixture.
In truth Strollers were the better side in this game and were fully deserving of the win. The defeat leaves University now looking around them anxiously at the bottom of the table with some degree of trepidation at what the next set of fixtures might bring.
With Vale of Leithen defeating Dalbeattie Star in a crucial bottom of the table clash University now sit periously close to the automatic drop zone after 9 matches. Dorian Ugunro’s side do not lack confidence or fight but they will recognise that they are leaking goals with some regularity particularly in the final third of games.
With an incredibly tough fixture midweek against the high flying Bonnyrigg scheduled for Peffermill the Uni squad will have to lick its wounds quickly, regroup and press ahead with some sort of positive mindset. If they are to take anything from what will be a challenging clash against the Midlothian table toppers they need to tighen up at the back and match the levels of professionalism that Rose posses.
Gary Jardine’s Civil Service Strollers side now jump up to 4th position in the table and lie just 5 points off the top spot. More tellingly they are now only two points behind BSC Glasgow with a top three placing insight.