It may hardly be a headline but Queen of the South slumped to a draw against Arbroath last weekend whilst 2nd placed Alloa stumbled against 3rd placed Brechin City. Brechin were able to play last weekend because they were playing away from home. They have had to switched their home game to Station Park, Forfar to allow them to play today. Brechin are likely to remain in the play offs to the end of the season but they may be knackered by the time that the play offs are played unless they get a game at Brechin on soon. The battle for 4th saw both Forfar and Arbroath drawing that allowed some bunching up below them to make it more interesting. Stenhousemuir were involved in the Forfar draw whilst Ayr United celebrated a rare win against Stranraer. Ayr still have a n outside chance of making the play offs but time is running out for them. It is also running out for Albion Rovers who drew mid-week at home to East Fife. The Wee Rovers languish in last, 9 points off East Fife in 9th. Stranraer are only 2 points above the Fifers and it looks like these 3 will battle for survival in the 2nd.
Game of the Day for me is Arbroath v Stenhousemuir. Arbroath got a single goal draw against the Doonhamers thanks to Ewan Smith last Saturday. He managed to score late on in the game and it looked like 3 points for the Smokies until Queens got an equaliser in the 93rd minute! Stenny had a Stewart Kean double and a John Gemmell goal in their 3-3 draw away at Forfar Athletic. As they were 3-1 up at one point the Warriors faithful were desperately disappointed after 90 minutes. The Warriors have their resources stretched whilst the Smokies also have some selection problems. This is a game with 2 sides that couldn’t buy consistency if it mattered; and now it really matters. If it’s a draw let’s hope for a high scoring one.
Alloa Athletic v Queen of the South has a top 2 battle that would be for the title had Brechin played all their games. The league leaders drew at Arbroath last weekend and goal machine Nicky Clark got their late equaliser. Alloa lost at home to Brechin City and though they had plenty of opportunities they were without their cutting edge. Both teams play really attractive football and it is perfectly poised. Alloa have given Queens a run for their money this season and his may turn out to be a real cracker. Brechin City v Ayr United has been switched to Forfar’s ground and Brechin could be forgiven for just being thankful that they have got a game to play. Alan Trouten got their only goal last weekend as they beat Alloa at Recreation Park. Adam Hunter and Michael Donald got the 2 goals that defeated Stranraer at Somerset but not for the first time this season the Honest Men got themselves in front and then looked very vulnerable. This time round they managed to close out the game which has not been a feature of many games for them this season. It is a very close contest and we could be forgiven for thinking that Ayr United’s season hinges in this game; if they lose it is back to the relegation battle; should they win 4th place looks in sight. Brechin though are a dangerous team and have managed to turn Ayr over this season twice already.
Albion Rovers v Forfar Athletic onpaper is an away win. Albion drew 1-1 mid-week against East Fife at home with Christopher Dallas getting their goal. It all but ends Todd Lumsden’s hopes of staying in Division Two. Forfar fought out a 3-3 draw last Saturday with goals from Omar Kadar, an Iain Campbell penalty and Danny Denholm. Forfar had been 3-1 down. That fighting quality will be evident this afternoon. It is still mathematically possible for Albion to survive but the likelihood is that Forfar will win this and hold onto 4th spot. Finally East Fife v Stranraer is the type of game that anyone round about them hopes ends in a draw. 8th plays 9th to try to stay out of the 2nd bottom spot. During the week the Fifers managed a draw at Coatbridge with a goal from Paul Willis. East Fife are now 9 points ahead of last spot and only 2 points behind Stranraer. A win for them would get them into 8th spot whilst the Stranraer team that lost 2-1 away to Ayr last weekend will want to put clear distance between them and 9th. Craig Malcolm got their goal last weekend and Stephen Aitken goes into the game with determination and some selection issues; having said that they will be up for this in ways that ought to be evident from 3pm onwards. They dominated against Ayr last weekend and Billy Brown’s boys are in for a tough contest.
*Games are subject to be called off due to weather*