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THE MIDWEEK SFL REVIEW – FROM SATURDAY 14TH APRIL 2012

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Well the weekend that both Ross County and Alloa Athletic were already Champions of their respective division threw up interesting games in which they

were involved whilst relegation threatened clubs hung on for a further week or two. With nobody down yet the whole issue of what do play off bring is simply excitement for the end of the season. But who feels better after the weekend?

SFL DIVISION ONE

The real game of the day was at new Douglas Park where it eventually ended up Hamilton Academical 4 Greenock Morton 3. Usually the hero, Peter Weatherson turned villain as he diverted into his own net in 16 minutes. Jon McShane then sent Accies into the interval 2 up before he then made it 3-0 in 51 minutes. Simon Mensing was then to put the ball into both nets. Mensing scored first for Hamilton making it 4-0 before he made it 4-1 by dint of an own goal at the other end for Morton. Accies’ skipper Alex Neil was dismissed for two fouls in a five minute period on Peter MacDonald between Mensing’s 2 goals and Morton swung into action.  Darren McGeouch and Derek Young in the 84th and 87th minute got them back in the game late on but the fairy tale was not to be complete as the final whistle beat them to the punch and they lost to the home side.

Ross County 3 Dundee 0 saw the champs march on unbeaten through a Colin McMenamin goal between a Michael Gardyne double. They romped to their 31st game unbeaten. The Dark Blues slumped again and Barry Smith will be looking forward and not back as County gave them and all the rest a clear pair of heels. Queen of the South 0 Falkirk 0 saw the Doonhamers take a point but time is running out. 3 points adrift with 3 games remaining this was of no use to Gus McPherson whilst Steven Pressley is highly frustrated at his side’s loss of form, though he did predict it!

Livingston 0 Ayr United 1 brought 3 points to the Honest Men and now they are on the same number of points as Raith Rovers whilst getting further away from the automatic drop zone. Mark Roberts got the only goal in the game in 26 minutes and then Ayr hung on. Livingston’s next season may prove what mettle John Hughes and John Collins have given Livvi though they are playing highly attractive football at the moment. Finally Partick Thistle 1 Raith Rovers 1 allowed the Kirkcaldy side to keep above the play off spot on goal difference. They nearly took all 3 points and Scott Fox kept his side level with a fantastic save late on. Sean Welsh on 64 minutes managed to put the Jags in front and then Paul Paton’s head gifted the equaliser by dint of an own goal. It all keeps going for another few fixtures to come…

SFL DIVISION TWO

In the only division where we don’t have a Champion as yet Cowdenbeath moved to within one win of the title as it turned out Stirling Albion 0 Cowdenbeath 2. Lewis Coult in 6 minutes put the Blue Brazil ahead and Marc McKenzie left it late – the 89th minute – to get the second and send them closer to promotion. For the Binos things look bleak as they are now sitting bottom and 5 points off the pace with only 9 points left up for grabs. Cowdenbeath were helped with the Arbroath 0 Forfar Athletic 1 score line that means Paul Sheerin’s side is unlikely to be challenging for automatic promotion but looking at the play offs. This game had no fewer than 7 bookings but only 1 goal. Greg Ross got the all important score in the 60th minute for the Loons. It makes their season look more respectable for the moment but their momentum needs to pick up otherwise they will be in the wrong play offs come May. Level on points with Albion Rovers they face Cowdenbeath next week in a game the Blue Brazil need for the Championship!

Things for Dumbarton got worse with Dumbarton 0 Stenhousemuir 2. Their third place status is really up for debate as Stenhousemuir put their play off chances back on the table. Kieran Millar got sent off for the Sons in the second half after Brown Ferguson and Andy Rodgers got the only goals of the game in the first 15 minutes. It means that Stenny are back in the hunt but time is closing rapidly for them. For Dumbarton they need to close out the losing streak as they could lose their play off spot or worse retain it and go into the play offs on a real downer. Fourth placed Airdrie United romped in Airdrie United 4 Brechin City 1 and Airdrie are looking like they have hit a rich vein of form just at the right time. Derek Holmes hit 2, Ryan Donnelly 1 and Paul Lovering converted a penalty to take all 3 points. Bryan Hodge bagged a consolation goal but it was all Airdrie United. Jim Weir’s side will start the work on next season now.

East Fife faltered at home as it was East Fife 1 Albion Rovers 2. The home side were 2 down in the first half thanks to John Gemmell and Scott Chaplain. David Muir got a late consolation for Gordon Durie’s men but it was a well deserved victory for Paul Martin’s side. They are now 5 above relegation and level with Forfar.

SFL DIVISION THREE

There was shock aplenty in the Third Division and no more so south of the border where it was Berwick Rangers 5 Alloa Athletic 0. It was a stunning result for the play off chasing Borderers as a Danny Handling double, an own goal from Ryan Hardy and one apiece from Lee Currie and Stuart Noble gave the home side 3 points and a morale boosting victory that every other team will be looking at.

Next up is 2nd placed Stranraer where it was Stranraer 0 Peterhead 3. Thanks to other results Stranraer are in the play offs but the slim hopes of the Blue Toon continue for another week at least. Rory McAlister hit a double and Roy McBain got the 3rd to give them hope that they can chase Elgin City in 4th. 3rd placed Queens Park also faltered with Montrose 3 Queens Park 1. Anthony Quinn put the Spiders ahead and then Sean Crighton, Martin Boyle and finally Jamie Winter shockingly got the Gable Endies all 3 points.

Meanwhile it was Elgin City 1 Annan Athletic 2 and the race for the play offs continues to throw up surprises. Annan are now 2 points behind Elgin with 3 games left thanks to another double – this time from Jordan McKechnie – in response to a 6th minute opener from Elgin’s Paul Millar. Finally it was East Stirling 0 Clyde 1 in the one game that seemed to go the way that the league would have suggested! John Neill got the only goal of the game that means that East Stirling are officially the bottom of the Third Division for this season – a feat they had avoided this decade though something they had suffered no fewer than 5 occasions in the last one…

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About Author

A lifelong supporter, since seeing Alex Ferguson play for them, of Ayr United he now contributes here, at KickTalk and Ringside Reports for things sporty. He is also a theatrical type and an educationalist. As an Ayr fan he clearly can explain the inexplicable, place fanatical faith in the most fantastic of dreams and deal with dark periods of depression and disappointment. Perfect as a teacher..

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