It was a busy week as teams are now beginning to catch up with their fixtures. With 3 games midweek the major news could have been that Brechin actually played at Glebe Park for once! That was after Queen of the South had done the double on them and followed up their 6-0 thrashing during the last midweek fixtures of them with a more gentile 2-1 win at Palmerston. Brechin then took it all out on East Fife on Tuesday by beating them 6-0! 2nd placed Alloa Athletic kept their spot by going to Stranraer and winning 2-1 whilst the battle for 4th seems to be between Arbroath on 43 who beat Forfar 4-3 last Saturday then drew at home to Stenhousemuir on Wednesday; Forfar Athletic who lost to the Smokies and then beat Albion Rovers on Tuesday night to go to 42 points with a game in hand; Ayr United with a slim chance on 38 points who beat East Fife at home last weekend; and Stenhousemuir with an even slimmer chance who lost last Saturday and then drew midweek on 37 points. There is then an 8 point gap with Stranraer on 29 points with a game in hand over both East Fife on 27 and Albion Rovers adrift at the foot on 21 points.
The Game of the Day is a tough one as top are playing bottom all over the shop but leaves me with Ayr United v Alloa Athletic. Ayr had a late show with Liam Buchanan and David Winters getting them back from behind for an Ayr win. Alloa meanwhile were also on the West Coast, beating Stranraer by the same margin with 2nd half goals from Graeme Holmes and Ryan McCord getting them all 3 points. This ought to be a decent contest if Ayr start to gain confidence from recent results. Their play has not been magnificent but at times they show flashes of being able to play good football. Alloa on the other hand are a footballing side with some decent performances under their belt so for the purists this could be a decent game but is likely to be a mess and an away win seems the most likely result.
Stranraer v Brechin City sees a misfiring home side had a Robert love late goal to be thankful for as a consolation against Alloa. Brechin are on fire again. They lost 2-1 to Queen of the South last weekend at Dumfries with an Alan Trouten penalty as consolation. Midweek Derek Carcary and Andy Jackson with 2 apiece, Paul McLean and Ryan Ferguson slotted 6 past East Fife up at Brechin. It makes me tremble on behalf of Stranraer and given their recent form a Brechin win is again the most likely scenario. Arbroath v Albion Rovers has the Smokies in an up and down mini run as they won 4-2 last weekend at Forfar thanks to goals from Steven Doris, Colin Hamilton, Michael Travis and Paul Sheerin. They then entertained Stenhousemuir at home on Wednesday and came away with a dull draw. The wee Rovers stunned the Warriors last keened with a Christopher Dallas goal in the 1st minute to win 1-0. Christopher Dallas then tried the same magic midweek but waited till the 7th minute against Forfar Athletic. Forfar were having none of it though and ran out 2-1 winners. The Wee Rovers are adrift and unlikely to stay in the division whilst Arbroath need the points to stay in 4th. They may be favourites to get them but I wouldn’t be surprised at a wee upset here.
Finally in the league Forfar Athletic v East Fife sees Dick Campbell’s men back on track following their 4-2 loss last weekend at home to Arbroath. Danny Denholm and Chris Templeman got their goals than and midweek Iain Campbell and Chris Templeman helped them beat Albion Rovers 2-1, coming from behind to take the 3 points. East Fife had actually gone in front last weekend thanks to Scott Durie but their defeat at 2-1 at the hands of Ayr came within the last 15 minutes. They then bounced into a 6-0 hammering by Brechin and Billy Brown will have few words of comfort for his team after that. It means Forfar are indeed favourites and who would bet against them as 4th time in a row it looks like the teams at the top of the league are likely to triumph over the teams at the bottom… Now that is likely to come back and bite someone!
Now there are only 4 games this weekend due to the Ramsdens Cup Final on Sunday at Livingston that features Queen of the South v Partick Thistle. This has the 2nd Division Champions up against the 1st division leaders. As charged atmospheres go, you can’t get much better than that. Queen’s have been magnificent this year and for my money are likely to prove very tough opponents for Thistle. Thistle will want the silverware but the bigger prize of the SPL may make them cautious about this game. It means that Queen’s are likely to be really playing on an even playing field and for my money I would not be surprised if Queen’s took the trophy!
We shall have a dedicated preview for the Ramsdens Cup Final later tonight and a live blog tomorrow through the game.