SPFL Championship to League 2 | Review/Preview 29/08/13
It was another goalfest in the Scottish Football Leagues last weekend. Euan McGuffie looks back at all the action and looks ahead in anticipation to this weekends fixtures.
The bloke I was standing next to informed me that there were 91 Cowden fans housed in the gazebo; yep, it was an utterly forgettable first half during which he’d taken to counting the crowd rather than watch the (lack of) action on the pitch. To make things worse, the pie shop had run out of both stovies and mince pies before the break. I made do with a steak pie on a roll.
It was different after the break as Alloa went at them from the restart, and Ben Gordon had headed The Wasps in front within minutes. Alas, The Blue Brazil had equalised through a Kane Hemmings header before I’d even finished my reply to @theGallatron’s celebratory text. The goal was effectively set up by the ref who awarded Cowden a dodgy free-kick when we could even tell from the Clackmannan Road end that it was never a foul. Alloa always look to build from the back, finding sure passes to move forward but at times there was not a lot of movement up-front and it was difficult to pick out a pass in the final third; indeed there was an audible “Nothing’s happening!” from Ryan McCord as he prepared to take a corner. Cowden almost took the lead following another very soft free-kick award, when Andy Russell turned and volleyed, but his strike rattled the crossbar. Thankfully it was The Wasps who regained the lead, Andy Kirk slotting home in off the post from a Kevin Cawley pass. Things started to open-up on the attack when Alloa introduced sub Eddie Ferns; the speedy striker secured the win a minute from time racing on to a loose ball to slam it low into the far corner. A greater than expected end to the match. It’s 6 points from a possible 9 for Paul Hartley and we sit 3rd in the table.
Elsewhere in the Championship Hamilton Accies kept up their perfect start to the season with a 2-0 win over Queen of the South, with Darian MacKinnon and Andy Ryan on the scoring. Accies top the table, and separating them from Alloa is Falkirk, who recorded a great away win beating Livingston 0-3. Phil Roberts got all 3, which gives him a total of 5 for the season already. Rhyming slang favourite Colin Nish had a great debut for Dumbarton, as he scored one and set up one for Mitch Megginson as Sons beat Morton 3-1. Dougie Imrie pulled one back for Morton but Stevie McDougall secured the points for Dumbarton with the third. Not a great start to the season for Morton who have now lost 2 of their 3 opening games. Meanwhile it’s been a slightly better, but still so-so, start for Dundee who drew 0-0 with Raith Rovers in Kirkcaldy. John Brown looked even angrier than usual as first the ref denied Dee a stonewall penalty when ex-Wasp Calum Elliot tackled Peter MacDonald and then ruled out Declan Gallagher’s header for climbing. Sometimes you just don’t get the breaks.
In League One, Dunfermline staged an incredible come-back at Ochilview after Stenhousemuir went 3-0 up 5 minutes into the second half. The Pars fought back to win the match 4-5; nine goals – how’s that for value for money? John Gemmell and Ross Smith had The Warriors 2-0 up by half-time and Sean Lynch got what should have been a killer third. But 2 goals in 8 minutes from Jordan Moore and Andy Geggan gave The Pars some hope. Sean Higgins seemed to have made doubly-sure for Stenny firing in the 4th however Alan Smith pulled another back in the 84th minute and Moore got his second and Dunfermline’s equaliser 2 minutes later from the spot. Geggan also got his second, the winner, in the very last minute. Jim Jeffries praised his team’s resilience and momentum after a slack start but Stenny boss Martyn Corrigan struggled to comprehend scoring 4 goals and not ending up with a victory.
Elsewhere in League One, Ayr battled back after Jamie Longworth opened the scoring for Stranraer, with David Hutton pulling The Honest Men level for a share of the points. East Fife shrugged off an opening 2 defeats with a 2-1 win over Arbroath; Scott Durie and Liam Buchanan scored for the Fifers while Alan Cook pulled one back for the Red Lichties. Brechin beat neighbours Forfar 2-1, thanks to keeper Graeme Smith’s penalty save in injury time. Craig Molloy gave the home team the lead and Alan Trouten doubled the advantage. It looked a certain City win until Forfar were awarded a penalty in the 90th minute, which Iain Campbell converted. And to add to the drama Forfar were awarded another spot kick deep into injury time; Campbell stepped up again but Smith made amends by saving the spot kick and Brechin took all 3 points. In Friday evening’s action Airdrie were hammered 0-6 by Rangers in a match where Ian Black ran the show. Black let his football do the talking with a commanding performance although he didn’t actually find the net himself; the goals came from Lewis MacLeod, Andy Little, Robbie Crawford, Nicky Law and a double from Jon Daly. It’s maximum points for Ally McCoist’s team but that must’ve been a hard one to take for staunch Airdrie fan Jim Traynor………
East Stirlingshire sit top of League Two with maximum points. It was a far cry from last season when John Coughlin’s Shire lost the derby with Stirling Albion 9-1; this time Shire came out on top winning 1-3. Michael Bolochoweckyj, Paul Quinn and Jordan McKechnie all found the net for Shire while Jordan White pulled one back for Binos late on, but by then it was too late. Greig McDonald’s Binos won their first 2 games of the season so it’s not all bad, and they lost to a team currently playing with real confidence. And seemingly wearing Queens Park-style strips for some reason. Speaking of Queens Park, it’s been a poor start to the campaign for Gardner Speirs’ team, as they slumped to their third straight defeat at the hands of Jim Duffy’s Clyde. The Bully Wee got 2 goals in 90 seconds, from Kieran McDonald and Scott Ferguson just after the break and James Brough scored an OG late on. Clyde have 6 points but The Spiders are left to rue early missed chances and lie rock-bottom with nothing.
The remaining 3 fixtures in League 2 all ended in draws. Montrose dominated early on against Berwick but it was the borderers took the lead through Darren Lavery. Paul Watson levelled for The Gable Endies 6 minutes from time. Elgin meanwhile seemed to be on easy street when Dennis Wyness’ early opener was added to by Craig Gun in the 77th minute however Peterhead left it late to earn an unlikely draw; Ryan McGeever hit back for The Blue Toon 2 minutes later before Bryan Gilfillan equalised for Jim McInally’s team 7 minutes from time. Last but not least Annan and Albion Rovers shared the points in a 1-1 draw. The Wee Rovers took the lead from the spot through David Crawford however Scott Davidson equalised late on, much to Rover boss James Wards’ annoyance as he feels Annan should have been reduced to 10 men for the penalty.
THE WEEKEND AHEAD
Dundee v Livingston (Friday 7:45): Friday evening at Dens in front of a demanding home support should give Dee the motivation to bag the points – DUNDEE WIN
Cowdenbeath v Dumbarton: Cowden are bottom with no points and have already lost to Morton who Dumbarton took care of last week. Both teams can score but also tend to concede – SCORE DRAW
Falkirk v Hamilton: Accies are 1 of only 3 teams with full points this season, and Falkirk have taken 2 wins and a draw. Phil Roberts is on fire for Falkirk but this will be tight – DRAW
Morton v Raith: Would have expected a better start from Morton but any team that concedes 3 to Cowden must be suspect at the back – MORTON WIN
QOS v Alloa: The Wasps beat QOS last season but the midweek cup tie against Aberdeen may take it out of us – DRAW
SPFL League 1:
Arbroath v Brechin: It’s no surprise Brechin lost to Rangers on the opening day and since then they have clocked up 2 wins. The stronger start between the two – BRECHIN WIN
Ayr v Airdrie: It’s been a good start by Ayr, 2 wins and a draw and only 1 goal conceded. Not a good start to the season by Airdrie and a miserable result for them last week – AYR WIN
Dunfermline v Stranraer: The Pars lost at home to Arbroath on day 2 but surely Jim Jeffries wouldn’t stand for any more of that. Battling come back last weekend to boot – DUNFERMLINE WIN
Forfar v Stenhousemuir: Stenny have had a good start to the season with 2 wins and a narrow loss after racing to a 3-0 lead at Dunfermline. Slow start by Forfar – STENNY WIN
Rangers v East Fife: Rangers are building momentum. Not a chance they’ll lose at home to East Fife – RANGERS WIN
SPFL League 2:
Albion Rovers v Montrose: Good start by Albion Rovers and they could be on maximum points had Annan been reduced to 10 men last week – ALBION WIN
Berwick v Annan: Barely a whisker between the two – DRAW
East Stirlingshire v Peterhead: Great start by Shire, with maximum points. Peterhead not doing as well as expected with 2 draws and a loss. Can Shire keep it up? I think so – SHIRE WIN
Elgin v Clyde: Shaky start by both teams but much better from Clyde last weekend – CLYDE WIN
Queens Park v Stirling Albion: Queens are in freefall, if you include the end of last season. Binos to squash The Spiders – STIRLING WIN
Let us know your thoughts and predictions for the matches in the comment section below or on Twitter @90MinuteCynic.