SFL Play-off Final First Leg Previews



Dumbarton v Airdrie United

Dumbarton went all the way up to Arbroath with a slender lead and came back down in the Final. Stephen Grindlay, the Son’s local lad who is their keeper brought off enough saves to help them keep Paul Sheerin’s side at bay as they progressed with a 2-1 aggregate. Jimmy Boyle on the other hand went to Ayr and came back 3-1 victors. Many thought Airdrie had blown it when they didn’t have an advantage after the home tie and at half time in the 2nd leg it was still all square. Ayr however were down to 10 men as Jonathon Longridge walked for a lunging tackle in 17 minutes. Derek Holmes then put the Diamonds ahead, Andy Geggan equalised before Holmes again and then Willie McLaren put the tie beyond doubt.

For Dumbarton, Paul Nugent is back though Mark Lamont and Ryan Finnie are both out. Phil Johnstone and Graeme Owens remain out for Jimmy Boyle and late fitness tests will be held for Cameron MacDonald and Paul Lovering. It might be tight but I think over two legs, Airdrie will get through. For the first leg though it may be an all square affair.


Stranraer v Albion Rovers

Keith Knox’s side went to Hampden and put another 2 past the Spiders to come away with a 5-1 aggregate victory in the semi finals. Craig Malcolm and Martin Grehan in the first 20 minutes made resistance pointless for Gardner Speir’s men. Paul Martin’s side brought Elgin City to Coatbridge with the Highland side protecting a slender 1-0 lead from the 1st leg. With Stranraer managing it in the 1st half, Albion progressed thanks to goals in the 2nd. John Gemmell levelled the tie on the 62nd minute before Scott Chaplain, with a spectacular overhead effort right on the 90th got the 2nd and the goal that sent the Coatbridge side through.

Stranraer have Sean Winter available whilst Ryan Borris will sit this one out. Albion Rovers meanwhile welcome back Danny Ferry though there will be no Michael O’Byrne, Ryan McStay or Todd Lumsden. John Gemmell will play his last game of the season as he is suspended for the 2nd leg on Sunday. With a morale boosting 5-1 victory against Queens Park, Stranraer could be favourites but the 2nd Division experience of Rovers might be significant. The type of final you want – on an even keel. I think Stranraer might take this 1st leg but be sandbagged at Coatbridge come Sunday.


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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