Last weekend the cup games saw only 2 games played in the league. It ended all square at Ochilview between Stenhousemuir and Ayr United whilst Alloa Athletic got a 1 goal win to narrow the gap at the top of the table to 4 points! Whilst Paul Hartley has his team sitting comfortably amongst the play offs, new boss Billy Brown got to see the size of his task at East Fife. Cup action favoured Stranraer who got 4 at the National Stadium for new boss Steven Aitken, Forfar hung on this time against Nairn County, Arbroath cruised at home to Inverurie Loco Works whilst Brechin City smashed 6 past Bonyrigg Rose away from home.
Game of the Day
Forfar Athletic v Stenhousemuir
Last weekend Forfar managed to get into the 4th round of the cup by hanging onto their lead against Nairn County. It was, however nearly groundhog day. In the original game Forfar went 3-0 up and in the replay, Ross Campbell, Gavin Swankie and Martin Gethins had got them there again. In the original game, Nairn had clawed it back to 3-3 but they could only manage 2 goals this time to sighs of relief as Forfar got through to the next round at the second attempt! Stenny had Darren Smith to thank as they equalised at home to Ayr United. Midweek their shooting boots were rediscovered as they thumped Berwick Rangers 5-2 away from home. Goals came from John Gemmell and two doubles from Stewart Kean and Darren Smith.
Keith Gibson, Odmar Faeroe
Danny Denholm, Stephen Tulloch
James Craigen, Omar Kadir
Scott Buist, Eric Paton, Darren Smith
It looks like Stenny are now on a run that could see them climb the league so will want to make sure this is no banana skin, whilst Forfar will want to maintain their good run. 3rd v 4th is always an opportunity for teams below to try to steal a march on at least one of them. It ought to be a tie well worth the entrance money!
Albion Rovers v East Fife
The wee Rovers have had such a rest from the league that playing a league game will come as a welcome rest! Their midweek 3-0 defeat in the cup to Morton needs to become a distant memory though. The Fifers were beaten 1-0 last weekend at Alloa so will be hoping to make amends and finally impress new boss Billy Brown.
Side is full fit
Jordan Forster, Darren McCormack, Gareth Wardlaw, Paul McManus
Both sides need to see 3 points on the board as Stranraer’s recent form would suggest they shall both be in trouble if they don’t find their own form. Brown’s side will be hoping that his experience starts to show them how to win games whilst Todd Lumsden has had a strange season thus far. This could be a very interesting tie that will help to define the bottom of the table… at least till Christmas.
Alloa Athletic v Brechin City
Graeme Holmes got the only goal of the game in the 32nd minute to give Paul Hartley’s side the 3 points last weekend whilst Brechin City smashed 6 past Bonyrigg Rose. Kurtis Byrne, Johnny Brown, an Allan Trouten double, Andy Jackson and Derek Carcary got the 6 that saw them sail past the Junior outfit.
Callum Topping (On loan from Hearts), Mitch Megginson, Nicky Low
Brechin are on song and up against the 2nd place side they should be facing a very real test of new manager Ray McKinnon’s side. Hartley has taken to the 2nd division like a duck to water and this could be yet another notch if they can halt the Brechin bandwagon.
Arbroath v Queen of the South
A next round tie against Celtic was the reward on offer to Paul Sheerin’s side and they got it thanks to Brian Kerr, Derek Holmes and Steven Doris against Inverurie Loco Works. Queen of the South meanwhile have been basking in the glory of being top of the league and unassailable whilst having a wee rest!
Fully fit squad
Queen of the South
Mark Durnan, David Hopkirk
Surely the Doonhamers will have spent the time preparing well for another victory on the road? It’s hard to see past them, the way they are playing at the moment. That having been said, Arbroath have been playing some good football and their second year in the second division hardly looks like being a huge struggle.
Ayr United v Stranraer
With a 1-1 draw away to Stenhousemuir thanks to a Michael Moffat goal, Ayr seem to be getting back on track. Stranraer went to Hampden and came away with a 4-0 win thanks to a Sean Winter hat trick and 1 from the manager’s brother, Chris Aitken.
John Robertson, Martyn Campbell, Darren Brownlie, Anthony Marenghi, Michael McGowan
Ryan Borris, Chris Aitken
Armand One (As a trialist)
Ayr need a win against a side that is resurgent under a new manager. It’s a vitally difficult combination that a fragile side with some nervy performances under their belt should not be facing but the reality is that this is where the Honest Men find themselves. Earlier in the season they hit the lowest part of their season as they got thumped by Stranraer down at Stranraer. Makes for an intriguing game so we can but hope for a cracker down in the South West!