SPFL Championship to League 2 | Review/Preview 24/08/13
There wasn’t a single no-score draw in week 2 of the action from the Championship to League 2. Instead we were treated to high-scoring matches and last minute controversy.
Cowdenbeath 3 – 4 Raith Rovers
The Central Park crowd witnessed a seven goal thriller, featuring a hat-trick from Raith’s Greig Spence. Spence was off the mark with his first after only three minutes but Cowden were back in it just five minutes later as Jordon Morton drilled home from the edge of the box. Raith were back in front through Joe Cardle before the half-hour. It was all-square again by half-time thanks to a sensational 20 yard strike from Kenneth Adamson. The home team took the lead for the first time midway through the second half as Greg Stewart got his second of the season. But here was to be a dramatic finale with Spence having the last laugh, scoring two penalties in the last ten minutes; first Jason Thomson was felled by Adamson in the 81st minute, then Grant Adam got his marching orders for bringing down Gordon Smith at the death. Cowden felt aggrieved at both awards however Raith boss Grant Murray was pleased to get his first win in this Fife derby in nine attempts.
Dundee 1 – 0 Alloa
There was to be more last-minute action as John Brown’s Dee welcomed Paul Hartley’s Alloa to Dens Park. Early chances fell to Dundee as Alloa struggled to settle in defence but The Wasps came back into it with good possession play and looked confident on the offensive. Dundee keeper Kyle Letheren pulled off a great save to deny a Ryan McCord header and new Wasp James Creaney flashed a shot just over. Alloa were the better side over the first half but it was different after the break when Dundee had the bulk of possession and tested Scott Bain in the Alloa goal; the keeper brilliantly saved from Martin Boyle to keep it level. It seemed the points were to be shared until Alloa’s Willie Roberton was judged to have fouled Steven Doris in injury time. Kevin McBride held his nerve to give Dundee their first win.
Falkirk 3 – 1 Morton
Falkirk got the goals either side of the break to sink last season’s runners-up. Rory Loy got a brace, his first on 40 minutes, then just before half-time he intercepted a poor pass to beat keeper Derek Gaston again. And just 2 minutes into the second half Phil Roberts put Gary Holt’s team out-of-sight with the third. There was a late consolation for Allan Moore’s Morton as Reece Hands hit home from 25 yards out. Moore blamed the defeat on blunders from his players and his own formation.
Livingston 3 – 3 Queen of the South
Despite being unable to fill their bench due to injuries, Richie Burke’s Livingston took the lead 12 minutes in through Danny Denholm. Queen’s striker Iain Russell equalised for The Doonhamers with an acrobatic volley. Ryan McGuffie converted a penalty for hand-ball giving Queens a half-time lead. Callum Fordyce equalised for The Lions soon after the break. Both sides pressed for a third and although Livi sub Neil Hastings was sent packing for a second yellow Daniel Mullen put the home side ahead with ten minutes left. Queens grabbed a late equaliser on 86 minutes with Gavin Reilly scrambling home from close range.
Hamilton Academical 4 – 1 Dumbarton
This was a comfortable win for Accies. Ex-Celtic kid James Keatings scored a double within half an hour; first from the spot after a foul on Grant Gillespie, then turning in a cross two minutes later. Keatings was denied a hat-trick, withdrawing at the break due to a sickness bug. Scott Agnew pulled one back from the spot midway through the second half but the fightback was short-lived as Gillespie got Accies’ third barely five minutes later and Tony Andrew completed the rout.
SPFL LEAGUE ONE
Stranraer 0 – 3 Rangers
Stranraer were able to clear their debt with the proceeds from this match, as a crowd of just under 4,000 crammed into Stair Park. Rangers started with Nicky Law and Jon Daly as trialists this week and Law’s quality in particular shone through in this match, in his passing and movement. All the goals came in the first half. There was some debate over who scored the first; the radio gave Iain Black his third of the season however the papers say his shot came off Andy Little on its way into the net. No debate about the second, Lewis MacLeod scored on 23 minutes with the Stranraer defence in disarray. Captain Lee McCulloch headed in the third just seven minutes later. It wasn’t all Rangers though as Scott Gallagher was tested on a few occasions in the Rangers goal, with Stephen Aitken coming close. Aitken later headed for an early bath after picking-up a second yellow. Six points from six for Ally McCoist and an apparent outbreak of 70’s nostalgia in the fans as it seems the match was twice stopped due to flares.
Brechin 2 – 0 East Fife
Ray McKinnon’s Brechin christened their lush new pitch with a win, after being forced to play home ties in Forfar at the end of last season. The deadlock wasn’t broken until midway through the second half when Ryan Donnelly latched on to a pass from Alan Trouten as the Fifer’s defence seemed to switch off. Trouten got one himself seven nimutes from time.
Ayr United 2 – 0 Forfar
Ayr make it two wins from two in a comfortable victory over Forfar at Somerset Park. After a good start where Ross Campbell’s volley forced an outstanding save from Ayr keeper David Hutton, the visitors didn’t trouble the home team’s goal much in the rest of the match. Ayr got into it quickly and Craig Malcolm got the opener just before the break. It all fell apart for The Loons midway through the second half when Darren Dods was shown a straight red for hand-ball in the box and Michael Moffat beat Darren Hill from the spot.
Airdrie 0 – 1 Stenhousemuir
Airdrie had plenty chances but boss Jimmy Boyle was left raging as Stenny left it very late to grab all three points. Airdrie had a great chance to take the lead just after the interval when James Lister was fouled by Jordan McMillan however Lewis Coult’s penalty was saved by keeper Chris Smith. McMillan and Lister tussled again later on and McMillan was given a second yellow card. The Warriors nicked it right at the death when a defensive lapse allowed Ross McNeill in.
Dunfermline 2 – 3 Arbroath
A controversial penalty left a bad taste in Jim Jeffries’ mouth. Veteran Steven Milne gave Arbroath the lead before Callum Morris equalised with his second of the season. Shaun Byrne put the Pars ahead just after the break but moments later the ref stunned the home support, awarding a soft penalty for Chris Kane’s push on Michael Travis. Alan Cook equalised from the spot then scored Arbroath’s third just a minute later. Kane was later red-carded, Jeffries said it was never a penalty but that turned the game.
SPFL LEAGUE TWO
East Stirlingshire 3 – 0 Elgin
Shire, who were the bottom team last season, have won their two opening games for the first time since season 1975/76. They dominated this tie from the start. David Greenhill got a double in the space of seven minutes and Elgin’s misery was complete when Paul McMullan turned Greenhill’s cross into his own net. Elgin boss Ross Jack says their performance was unacceptable while Shire’s John Coughlin is keeping his feet firmly on the ground……
Annan 2 – 1 Montrose
Montrose started brightest at Galabank but Kenny McKay got Annan off the mark on the hour. Steven Black doubled their lead 15 minutes later. A late rally saw Gary Ward pull one back from the spot for The Gable Endies but Annan hold out for the win.
Stirling 2 – 0 Peterhead
Dale Fulton put Binos ahead within 30 minutes and Phil Johnston made it 2-0 for Greig McDonald’s team. Tempers boiled over with eight minutes left as Peterhead’s Andy Rodgers seemed to have a pop at Stirling’s James Bishop. Bishop received his second yellow while Rodgers got a straight red. Bit harsh on Bishop for merely standing his ground, but such is life.
Berwick 4 – 0 Queens Park
Dear, oh dear, Queens Park. Though sitting second for most of last season Gardner Speirs’ Spiders lost their last 3 games of the campaign and seem to be picking-up where they left off. This didn’t get off to a pretty start, in blustery conditions but the goals started to arrive after half an hour, with Berwick’s Darren Laverty getting a brace. A header from Scott Dalziel and an own-goal from Queens’ Michael Keenan completed an easy victory for The Borderers. Spider Bernard Coll was sent off which makes it three reds this season for the team; some causes for concern for Gardner Speirs.
Albion Rovers 3 – 0 Clyde
James Ward’s Rovers wasted no time in putting injury-hit Clyde to the sword. Rovers Gary Phillips and David Crawford ran the Clyde defence ragged and it was all over minutes into the second half. Phillips and Pat Walker had Rovers 2-0 up within 15 minutes and Phillips got his second in the 46th minute. Clyde tried to fight back in the second half but the damage was already done. Ward was full of praise for his team but Jim Duffy considered his team’s performance awful and embarrassing. Don’t hold back Jim, say what you really think.
The weekend ahead looks like this:
Alloa v Cowdenbeath
– Bottom of the table Cowdenbeath visit Alloa. Cowden have lost both games, though only narrowly to Raith. Alloa have won 1 and lost 1. These ties have been fiery in the past and I look forward to watching this. Alloa hungry to prove ourselves – ALLOA WIN.
Dumbarton v Morton
– Both Dumbarton and Morton have started well, Morton beating Cowden and Sons drawing with Falkirk but Dumbarton were then hammered by Hamilton and Morton suffered a surprise defeat at Falkirk. Back to winning ways – MORTON WIN.
Hamilton v QOS
– Table-toppers Hamilton have two wins from two. Newly promoted Queens have started reasonably well with a win and a draw. Quality in both sides will cancel each other out – DRAW.
Livingston v Falkirk
– Two draws for Livy who have a few players out, while Falkirk have had a draw and a good victory over Morton last week – FALKIRK WIN.
Raith v Dundee
– Both Raith and Dundee have won one and lost one. Raith’s home advantage and Greig Spence to be the difference – RAITH WIN.
SPFL League 1
Airdrie v Rangers (Friday 7:45)
– Full marks and seven goals from Rangers, but not great for Airdrie with a draw and a loss. New players making a difference for Ally McCoist but Jimmy Boyle was raging at last week’s loss and will have his team fired-up – DRAW.
Brechin v Forfar
– Brechin and Forfar were both in the mix last season but have had mixed fortunes so far – DRAW.
East Fife v Arbroath
– Not a good start for East Fife, with two losses. Slightly better for Arbroath who had a great result at Dunfermline last weekend – ARBROATH WIN.
Stenhousemuir v Dunfermline
– It’s hard to bet against Dunfermline but Stenny have two wins from two. A bit of bad luck for The Pars last week will even itself out – DUNFERMLINE WIN.
Stranraer v Ayr
– Two defeats for Stranraer so far and Ayr look a changed team. Mark Robert’s side have two wins and two clean-sheets and could build up some momentum – AYR WIN.
SPFL League 2
Annan v Albion Rovers
– Two wins for drop-boys Albion Rovers, while Annan have a win and a draw. Could be tight but The Wee Rovers to develop an appetite for wins – ALBION WIN.
Clyde v Queens Park
– Queens Park had the worst possible start but Albion battered injury-hit Clyde last week. The Spiders fight to climb out the bath of defeat – DRAW.
Montrose v Berwick
– No points on the board for Montrose and Berwick should be on a high after hammering Queens Park – BERWICK WIN.
Peterhead v Elgin
– Two defeats for Elgin and Peterhead not yet hitting expectations. If McAllister returns for Peterhead they should take the points but otherwise this looks like a DRAW.
Stirling v East Stirlingshire
– Both Stirling and Shire have full marks going into the local derby. Nothing between them but goals in it – SCORE DRAW.