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SPFL League One weekend review & preview: Saturday 10th January 2015

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With a welcome awaiting the newest manager in the league today at Brechin, this league has not been short of drama over the season thus far. They have now seen three clubs change manager and mounting pressure on at least a couple of big clubs to get out of this division and into the Championship will mount the closer we get to May. As for the bottom, it is increasingly looking like at least one of the bottom three has little hope but who knows what a Saturday afternoon might bring…

Last Saturday my match of the day saw Forfar Athletic beaten 2-0 at home by Brechin City. Goals were provided for the Hedgemen by Jamie Masson and Alan Trouten. Craig Malcolm and Jamie Longworth gave Stranraer all three points at Somerset Park against Ayr United whilst Greenock Morton fell at home to a Jim Lister goal for Airdrieonians. Dunfermline Athletic were held to a 1-1 draw by Peterhead as Ross Forbes and Rory McAllister – from the spot – got on the score sheet; Andy Geggan saw red for the Pars. Finally bottom club Stirling Albion got a win, away at Stenhousemuir 2-1. Craig Comrie and Gordon Smith scored for the Binos with Colin McMenamin netting for the Warriors.

It means that Stranraer (36) remain out in front with Forfar Athletic (33) sitting in behind. Greenock Morton (31) have slipped a little off the pace and may need other teams to do them a wee favour if their consistency does not improve should they want to catch either team.

They are, themselves being caught by Dunfermline Athletic (28) and Brechin City (28). The Pars were favourites for many for the automatic promotion spot. New boss John Potter needs to do better than their 1-1 draw with Peterhead if they are to be serious contenders for the rest of the season.

Underneath them we have Airdrieonians (24) and Peterhead (24). Gary Bollan’s side have threatened often to get their act together and are finally doing so. I could see them starting to mount a serious challenge for fourth place if they can put a wee run together. Peterhead are likely to settle for mid table and survival in the league though their draw with Dunfermline shows they deserve to be in this league – perhaps serious promotion contenders next season?

The bottom has Stenhousemuir (20), Ayr United (17) and Stirling Albion (12). I have always thought that Stenhousemuir would struggle this season and may drop out the league. The Binos have had no real advantage given for bringing in a new boss and halfway through the season look like needing a minor miracle. It will be interesting to see if their win last Saturday can spark anything. Ayr United have a new manager and with four years out of the game, Ian McCall has much to prove. The Honest Men shall hope that proof comes in the green pastures of every league one fixture from now until May.

And so for today…

Match of the Day

Stranraer v Forfar Athletic

Top v second in such a see saw league makes this the best of the bunch. Stephen Aitken’s men have not surprised people but are making his philosophy one that is very hard to ignore. He has managed to get to the top through hard work and assembling a very capable side. Dick Campbell has proven that he still has a great deal to offer the game and once again having a side in and around the playoffs is real testimony to his abilities and staying power. A win today could see him back at the top and looking down once again on the rest. Stranraer are fully fit and raring to go whilst Forfar have no new injury worries. For me, I feel that Stranraer have found a very rich vein of form, Stephen Aitken is managing to do this season what he managed last season – a brilliant run of form from October to January – and are very difficult to beat. It makes it more likely that the Blues shall record a win than the Loons but I wouldn’t bet against an away win upset…

Stenhousemuir v Greenock Morton has a two sides that lost last Saturday. The home side has faltered recently and I reckon that shall continue as Jim Duffy’s side shall find their stride, particularly after their three man swoop into the transfer market mid-week. Stirling Albion v Dunfermline Athletic has the Binos having won on Saturday and needing wins. They face a Pars side that drew with Peterhead so would look like they are ripe for the plucking. This could be the Bino’s second win in a row…

Brechin City v Ayr United is a tricky tie for new Ayr boss, Ian McCall. Brechin are well ahead of the Honest Men in the league and their win against Forfar last Saturday testimony to how serious they are in trying to get to the playoffs. Ayr are a shadow of the side that were top of the league in August. They also have horrendous injury issues – this looks like, at best a draw for them. Finally Airdrieonians v Peterhead will probably end up being a massive away win for the Blue Toon as I predict a Diamonds narrow win…

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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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