The major issue to be settled in his division seems to be more about the foot than the top. With Queen of the South settled, winning again last weekend and the play offs being more or less sorted it is who goes down time. Alloa Athletic, who beat Forfar Athletic and Brechin City, who beat Arbroath are secure in 2nd and pretty comfortable in 3rd spots whilst 4th is a battle between the losers in both those games: Forfar Athletic and Brechin City. Mathematically both Stenhousemuir and Ayr United can make it but realistically contracts for next year are the prizes for players of both teams. Midweek Stenny’s 2-1 win may have given them hope but with 5 points between them and 4th and with only 5 games left it really needs a huge push.
At the foot Albion Rovers can still, mathematically stay up but realistically Todd Lumsden’s charges are looking at the abyss of the third division. They lost at home to Ayr United in a game that was fairly evenly matched and will feel they have the ability to stay in the second but the results dictate otherwise. Both East Fife and Stranraer lost last weekend and their run ins would suggest a tight finish. Billy Brown’s half time melt down, followed by a press conference that ought to be a YouTube sensation on Stenhousemuir TV were perhaps the highlights of last weekend but there needs to be some unity or there will be third division football their next year too. It looks far sunnier down the west coast for Stephen Aitken and I wouldn’t be surprised if they manage to retain their status in the second division at the end of the season.
My Game of the Day is one where two teams have a lot riding on the result so it is Arbroath v Stranraer. For the Smokies they were well beaten 2-0 by Brechin City last weekend whilst Stranraer also went down – 2-0 away to Queen of the South. Both face selection issues and both need the win. For Arbroath it could get them into 4th or put more pressure on Forfar whilst Stranraer are too close to the wrong play offs for comfort.
Stenhousemuir v Ayr United has a home team that won away at Methil last Saturday thanks to goals from Scott Buist and John Gemmell then surprisingly won at home on Tuesday night against Champions Queen of the South 2-1 with goals from Darren Smith and Sean Dickson. Ayr, also won last weekend 3-1 away at Albion Rovers. Their goals came from Michael Moffat, Liam Buchannan and Scott McLaughlin. It is a game between two on the fringes of the play offs and had both been more consistent this year in the way that they played would have been my game of the day but they have both struggled at times to bring football onto the park. Forfar Athletic v Queen of the South has the Loons chasing a secured play off spot after they lost 1-0 at Alloa last weekend. For the Doonhamers they beat Stranraer 2-1 with goals coming from Nicky Clark and Kevin Holt before losing midweek at Ochilview. Their consolation in a 2-1 defeat was from Chris Mitchell. Allan Johnston has set a target of a second division points record which was dealt a wee bit of a blow on Tuesday but they ought to be good enough to get it – it would dent Forfar’s play off hopes and although they have some selection issues they will be right up for this game.
East Fife v Alloa Athletic is a curious one as Billy Brown returns to Methil where he berated the supporters last time round. Whether they rally or turn on him may make his decision as to what he does next year easier but their 2-1 defeat to Stenhousemuir was, in his own words, pathetic. Alloa kept their play off spot secure with a 1-0 win at home to Forfar thanks to Kevin Cawley and should have enough to consolidate. For Paul Hartley it may be more about the performance as he looks towards the play offs and who he might face in them. For East Fife 3 points would keep their vague hopes of avoiding the wrong play offs alive. Finally Albion Rovers v Brechin City has a doomed home side up against a misfiring bunch of visitors. Chris Dallas got the wee Rovers’ consolation against Ayr last weekend whilst Brechin’s 2-0 win had goals from Andy Jackson and Gerry McLaughlin. With their in form goal scorer, Chris Dallas out time is more than just running out for Todd Lumsden’s men; luck is deserting them too. One point for Brechin would secure the play offs and most folk will think that is the least they can expect from this game.