• Derek Bell


The start of the season sees the fixtures come thick and fast in the Lowland League and there was a virtual full midweek programme this week. The Dream Team campaign started with a home defeat to Bonnyrigg Rose on Tuesday night which is given a full match report here http://bit.ly/2Mwo2Ta

The early kick-off on Tuesday was the Borders Derby with Vale of Leithen hosting Gala Fairydean Rovers. Both teams looking to get their first win after disappointing opening day defeats. Fairydean boss Neil Hastings stuck with the same starting 11 from Saturday's home defeat to Cumbernauld, with Chris Anderson making three changes from the Vale team comprehensively beaten at Bonnyrigg. It would be Fairydean who got out the traps quickest though scoring two goal in the first ten minutes through a Ross Aitchison header and a solo Danny Galbraith effort. Galbraith would extend the lead further in the 38th minute, putting the penalty away after being brought down in the box. In the second half Levi Kinchant would add a fourth before Brad Rixon pulled one back for Vale in the 71st. Gala would round of the victory with a cracking 20 yard free kick curled round the wall into the top corner from Phil Addison. In traditional fashion Anderson is reported as having blasted his players following the defeat, while the Vale twitter account so admired the Addison goal they decided it counted twice giving Gala a 6-1 victory.

Vale Twitter loses count

At Christie Gillies Park the students from Stirling aimed to get their season of the ground after Saturday's home postponement while Civil Service Strollers were looking to build on their win at Gretna. A twelfth minute goal from Andy Mair was enough to gain the points for CSS in what their own website describes as a hard fought win where the defence had a particularly good game.

Andy Mair celebrates the CSS goal (Photo: CSS Website)

The night's other game was what seems to have been a tetchy game at Ainslie Park where The Spartans started their season against BSC Glasgow. After a goalless first half BSC opened the scoring with a 25 yarder from Jamie Hamilton, with Bolochowecyj prone on the ground in the middle of the park with a head knock - an aerial elbow or forearm smash depending which report you read. The home side then had a penalty appeal turned down and a free kick awarded instead before Tom Orr latched onto a BSC ball over the top and lobbed the keeper to make it 2-0 with 6 minutes to go. That wasn't the end of the action, or the controversy, with The Spartans awarded a penalty in injury time which Dean Hoskins blasted home. They then had another shout for a penalty turned down and a late goalmouth scramble which failed to produce a goal. BSC taking the points back to Glasgow, or Alloa.

Wednesday night saw champions East Kilbride begin their defence of the title travelling down to the South West to face Dalbeattie Star who were looking to bounce back from Saturday's thrashing at BFKH. After an excellent Betfred campaign EK were looking to get the league campaign of to a winning start. This was to prove no easy game for EK with Star beginning well before started to get into the game and took the lead in the 33rd minute through captain Craig Malcolm. Star were having the better of the seond half with EK manager Stuart Malcolm admitting it wasn't one of their better halves. Star had their chance to equalise in the 73rd minute from the penalty spot but Alan Martin saved Lewis Sloan's spot kick. Ruari Paton would seal the win for the champions in the fourth minute of injury time with a 25 yard free kick.

Star's chance to equalise (Photo from @dalbeattiestar Twitter)

Caledonian Braves played their first game at Alliance Park where Gretna 2008 would be the first visitors. An unwanted first for the home side was the first red card at the Alliance, Dom Slattery going after only four minutes for a last man challenge. Gretna then opened the scoring on 34 minutes Darnell Ramsey finding himself in acres of space on the edge of the box as the Braves defence failed to handle a long ball out of defence, turning and stroking the ball home. Four minutes before half-time Blair Docherty would have the honour of being the first Brave to score at the Alliance picking the ball up on the edge of the box, turning his man and blasting home. Just on half-time Gretna would restore their lead Darren Addison scrambling the ball home after the Braves defence failed to deal with a cross from the right. Docheerty would get his second of the night in the 57th minutes pouncing on a rebound and slamming the ball home from the corner of the box. The home win would be sealed in the 69th minute when Ross McNeil beat the offside trap just inside the Gretna half to pick up a perfectly timed pass, run on and score from just outside the box with defender in hot pursuit.

The final game of the night saw East Stirlingshire put four past Edinburgh University. Bobby Barr opening the scoring in the 36th minute, volleying home from 12 yards after finding himself all alone in space at a corner. The lead was doubled in 54 minutes when Marc Millar smahed home a stunning volley from just outside the D. Jamie Dishington and Nicky Low adding a further two for Shire in the 72nd and 73rd minutes

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Tomorrow sees Gretna FC 2008 make the journey along the border for the first ever league meeting between the two teams (in whatever guise you consider Gretna). We should of course have met earlier in