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SPFL weekend review: Saturday 29th March 2014

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It was a weekend of some incredible drama as the Championship top of the table changed hands in five minutes – and neither team won! In League One Rangers continue their quest for 100 points whilst in League Two Peterhead pushed further on towards the title.

SPFL CHAMPIONSHIP

My match of the day saw Falkirk pull off a massive victory thanks to Mark Beck that I simply didn’t see coming. However the nervous performances from Paul Hartley’s Dundee over the last few games means that Hamilton are on top on goals scored. The Accies were held to a 1-1 draw at Central Park as Cowdenbeath, under Jimmy Nichol continue to stealthily try to get out the relegation playoff spot; Mikael Antoine-Courier and then Thomas O’Brian both scored for the Accies and the Blue Brazil in injury time! Queen of the South managed to sweep aside Greenock Morton as Chris Higgins, Derek Lyle and Gavin Reilly got on the score sheet for the Dumfries side. Dumbarton managed to get the win after coming from behind against Livingston; Nejc Merlja opened for the Lions, Chris Turner equalised from the spot, Jason Talbot got sent off and Chris Kane got the winner for the Sons. Finally Callum Booth got the only goal for Raith Rovers as they beat Alloa Athletic at Recreation Park.

It means that Hamilton Academical (59) and Dundee (59) are locked at the top. Falkirk (53) may think they have a chance. With only 5 games left in the season it would take both the top 2 to tumble but the Bairns ought to make the playoffs at least.

4th spot has Queen of the South (48) being chased by Livingston (42) and Dumbarton (42). I think the rest can forget it but Dumbarton play Morton on Tuesday night. It would bring Dumbarton within 3 points of Queen of the South and relegate Morton; huge night for the West of Scotland clubs.

Raith Rovers (39) got themselves closer to safety by sending Alloa Athletic (37) closer to Cowdenbeath (33). With only 5 games to go the Blue Brazil will need to win at least 1 of these and not lose the others to get out of 9th in my view.

SPFL LEAGUE ONE

My match of the day was an absolute belter at Somerset Park as Stenhousemuir’s Ben Greenhalgh put the visitors ahead before Michael Moffat equalised and Alan Forrest put Ayr United in front. A Sean Higgins penalty in 87 minutes followed by a 2nd goal in injury time gave the Warriors a 3-2 victory. Rangers also got their expected next win in injury time as Jon Daly and Fraser Aird got their 2 to Arbroath’s Paul McManus’s 1. Dunfermline beat Brechin City as Ross Millen with another late penalty proved decisive for the Pars after Lawrence Shankland and Robert Thomson had scored for their respective clubs. Stranraer ended up sharing the spoils thanks to Jamie Longhworth and an equaliser for Airdrieonians’ Liam Coogans. Finally East Fife beat Forfar Athletic 2-1 as Liam Buchanan and Nathan Austin snuffed out Chris Duggan’s goal for the Loons.

Rangers (89) are on track for 100 points as Dunfermline Athletic (57) confirmed their playoff spot. The battle for the other 2 saw slips for 3rd placed Stranraer (47) and Ayr United (45). Stenhousemuir (41) and Forfar Athletic (39) have them firmly in their sights though Forfar’s stumble at East Fife could prove costly.

Possibly the most bitter battle is at the bottom as Brechin City (32) have been caught by Airdrieonians (32) and have East Fife (31) not far behind. Any one of these three could end up in the wrong playoff now and I still think it will be the Fifers but their win against 2nd placed Dunfermline could be the beginning of proving me wrong. As for Arbroath (24) they are 7 points behind with 15 left to play for. The next 3 games would have to be wins if they had any chance at all of staying in the league… Stenhousemuir (A), Stranraer (H) and Forfar Athletic (A).

SPFL LEAGUE TWO

My match of the day saw 2nd placed Annan Athletic slip as they went down 2-1 at home to Stirling Albion. The Bino’s goal scorer was David Weatherson who got 2 whilst Blair Henderson from a penalty got 1 for Annan. Peterhead made no mistake on the other hand as Rory McAllister scored twice to beat Queen’s Park after Tony Quinn was sent off for the Spiders. Clyde stayed in 3rd spot as they beat East Stirlingshire 4-2; Kieran MacDonald, Stefan McCluskey with 2 and Michael Daly scored for the Bully Wee whilst a Brian McQueen own goal and 1 from Kevin Turner ended up on the score sheet for the Shire. Berwick also got an excellent 3-1 win against Albion Rovers; on target for the Borderers were Paul Currie, Ross Gray and Scott Dalziel whilst Ryan Donnelly scored for Rovers. Finally Adam McLeod got 2 and Shane Sutherland the other as Elgin City beat Montrose 3-0.

It all means that Peterhead (64) are eight ahead with 15 point to play for with Annan Athletic (56) in 2nd. Annan’s slip at the weekend could have cost them the title as it is hard to see how they will make it up.

Peterhead are now guaranteed a playoff spot at least whilst Clyde (51) are the next most likely, after Annan to manage that feat out of the chasing pack; that pack includes Stirling Albion (45), Berwick Rangers (43), East Stirlingshire (41) and, at a stretch, Montrose (39) and Albion Rovers (38). All of these clubs are likely to take points off each other in the coming weeks so Clyde will probably be safe if they keep gathering something out of their games; just who shall be 4th is anyone’s guess.

Finally Elgin City (31) and Queen’s Park (21) have little by way of interest for the rest of the league but last week and this they have proved they still have nuisance value.

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About Author

A lifelong supporter, since seeing Alex Ferguson play for them, of Ayr United he now contributes here, at KickTalk and Ringside Reports for things sporty. He is also a theatrical type and an educationalist. As an Ayr fan he clearly can explain the inexplicable, place fanatical faith in the most fantastic of dreams and deal with dark periods of depression and disappointment. Perfect as a teacher..

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