Queen of the South are maintaining their push for the title and did so thanks to a 2-0 home win against Ayr United. 20 points ahead with 9 games to go there is little chance of their promotion party being spoilt at any time I reckon… Alloa Athletic managed draw at Ochilview whilst Brechin City who shall have as many as 10 games in 1 month are struggling to get games played; they remain in 3rd though. Arbroath took advantage of Brechin’s postponed game with Forfar to catch up on points with the Loons whilst Stenhousemuir are still in with an outside chance, though it is fading; Ayr United are seriously faltering as are East Fife; Stranraer won the basement battle to make survival look a possibility but the reality is that they look increasingly doomed. The Wee Rovers lost that weekend battle and look likely to be going down.
Game of the Day for me is Alloa Athletic v Brechin City. As Brechin are not the hosts it looks likely the game shall go ahead! A Ryan McCord penalty got the home side a draw last weekend after visiting Stenhousemuir but they were well on top for most of the game. Brechin are just determined to play a game, having had their games last Saturday AND midweek postponed. 3rd placed Brechin are 10 points behind 2nd placed Alloa but with 5 games in hand. Coming 2nd gains you no advantage in the play offs but this has been a game that has always brought excitement so we should expect some fireworks. This could swing either way but Brechin’s ring rustiness shall be significant as I go for a home win.
Arbroath v Queen of the South has an Arbroath side being less often recently quoted as play off contenders but who got a narrow win against East Fife at Methil last weekend. Graham Byrne got them that win in the 85th minute. The Doonhamers had goals from Derek Lyle and Gavin Reilly in their workmanlike destruction of Ayr United. Games between these two sides this season have always been close and I can see this being close again but there is increasingly only one winner when the Dumfries side play and I can see no other result today. Forfar Athletic v Stenhousemuir has a home side that were idle last weekend and saw them maintain their 4th place spot on goal difference. The away side have been dreaming and flirting with the play offs all season and their 1-1 draw at home to Alloa, on paper, looked a decent result. Their performance was not great so they will hope to turn it up for today. Both teams have mixed news from their squads which just adds to how close the game ought to be. For me though I reckon a draw would be a fair result and hot up the 4th place contest.
Ayr United v Stranraer sees a home side that has misfired all season. Ayr have at times flattered to deceive and went to Dumfries last weekend returning home on the back of a 2-0 loss. This was yet another example of how title favourites at the beginning of a season can get cursed. The away side won last weekend with a 3-2 victory at home against Albion Rovers. Craig Malcolm got the hat trick that clawed them back from being 2-0 down. Ayr should be winning these games at a canter but are not. Stranraer are out the bottom 2 and looking to climb. It makes this a very difficult call as it could go either way. For Ayr to win it would keep their slim play off hopes alive whilst an away win would make the relegation battle all the more fascinating. I reckon though the home side will click and despatch the visitors. Finally Albion Rovers v East Fife sees another basement battle that has fascinating written all over it. The Wee Rovers lost 3-2 away at Stranraer last weekend though they were 2-0 up. Goals came from David Crawford and Pat Walker but it wasn’t enough. The Methil side have been faltering of late and last Saturday a single late goal stole the points. This has a home side with lots of squad problems whilst the Fifers carry a few of their own that ought to even things up but I think that East Fife’s performances, though they have not won in ages, should carry them through.