ROSE TO THE TOP
For the second time already this season the Scottish Summer weather threatened to wreak havoc with the weekend's Lowland programme. In the end the only game lost to the rain was that at Gretna involving ourselves. There was a pitch inspection early in the morning at New Dundas Park where the first top of the table clash of the season was at risk. The weekend would also see third play fourth with BFKH hosting CSS.
Fortunately the match at NDP survived the inspection and all was set for a clash between first and second going into the game. The Shirey Pirey visiting the Rosey Posey. Shire came into the game on the back of two good home wins, scoring 13 goals in the process after an away day draw, while Rose had scored 11 goals in home and away wins and had a slight stumble (if you can call it that after only three games) last weekend drawing at Civil Service. It seemed a game that had goals written all over it. It would be Rose who would take the lead on 15 minutes through Lee Currie crashing a free kick in off the bar. Two minutes later and another free kick form Currie crashed of the bar but this one was to be cleared.
George Hunter then struck the post for Rose. Shire were struggling to get a foothold in the match at this stage and picked up a couple of bookings but on 31 minutes a shot from outside the box from Mark Millar forced a finger tape save from Weir. On 38 minutes though Millar would be more successful hitting home from inside the box. The teams would go in level at half-time. Bonnyrigg started the second half on the front foot and would get their reward on 56 minutes with Currie getting his second of the game, again controversy surrounded the goal from Shire's point of view as they had a man on the ground when a quick free kick was taken in the build up to the goal. On 75 minutes after some Shire pressure Rose would seal the win and a return to top spot with a 25 yarder from George Hunter. The match was played out in front of 501 spectators, an excellent crowd for the Lowland and a testament to the strength of the league and to Bonnyrigg for the effort an work they put into gaining their promotion.
The League's other highscorers are of course BFKH who had hit 12 in two league games and put four past Kilmarnock Colts midweek. They entertained Civil Service Strollers who potentially posed a bigger threat than their first two opponents. In the end they would be blown away 5 - 0. After some early pressure from CSS Kelty would take the lead in the eight minute when Nathan Austin latched on to a long clearance, beating the offside trap and set of on a powerful run getting past two defenders and stroking the ball under the onrushing goalkeeper. Austin nearly got a second just two minutes later shooting just wide, he wasn't to wait long though and on 14 minutes he got his second of the game and sixth of the league season. That would be the end of his involvement though as he went off injured on 22 minutes. That's how it would stay until half-time. In the 48th minute Scott Linton extended the lead from the penalty spot with what looks a pretty soft award. Just five minutes later it would be four when Chris Dodds hammered home picking up the ball after a save. The scoring was completed four minutes from time when Stuart Cargill in acres of space on the edge of the box was picked out by Ross Mutch and coolly slotted the ball home. An impressive result and it's three wins out of three for BFKH whose summer investment is certainly bearing fruit at the moment.
The fixture list also threw a fifth v sixth match with Caledonian Braves visiting East Kilbride and coming away with a 3 - 1 win. After a goalless first half Braves would take the lead two minutes into the second half Ross McNeill scoring from the penalty spot having been fouled in the box. The lead would be doubled when David Sinclair's 35 yard free kick evaded everyone and ended in the net. Craig Malcolm got one back for Kilby on 69m with a large suspicion of offside about it. Jean Guy Lucas would seal the points for the Braves on 84 minutes with a strike from the edge of the box.
BSC Glasgow hosted winless Dalbeattie Star in Alloa. BSC opened the scoring with a 22nd minute penalty from Thomas Orr which even their own Twitter account described as soft. Robbie McNab got a second on 30 minutes and Orr put in a second penalty right on half-time. Martin Grehan would make it four seconds into the second half and Ross Smith would volley in a fifth on 63m. All that was left was for Orr to miss a third penalty.
The Spartans travelled to Gala who entered the game on the back of two away wins. Gala had the better of the early exchanges hitting the woodwork and putting Spartans defence under pressure. The game continued into the last minutes which is where all the drama was. To start Spartans had Blair Tolmie sent off for two yellows. They also brought on 16 year old Nicky Reid who was to break the deadlock firing home from the edge of the D. Gala's misery would be compounded in injury team when a clearance was picked up by Blair Atkinson with the Gala keeper on the halfway line, Atkinson took the ball round him and strolled up to the goal for two nil.
At the foot of the table Edinburgh University and Vale of Leithen were both looking for their first win and points of the season (as indeed would Gretna and ourselves had the game gone ahead). Three first half goals from the University putting them in a comfortable position. Vale pulled one back in the second and the Uni's day was slightly marred by the sending off of McBeth in injury time for serious foul play.
The final game of the game was a goal fest at Forthbank where the University of Stirling went two up against Cumbernauld Colts before going 4 - 2 down and then coming back to share the spoils in a a 4 -4 draw. Two goals in two minutes just after half an hour from Jason Jarvis and Aidan Peden gave the Uni a half time lead with no real indication of the drama to come in the second half. Three minutes after the break Craig Murray got the Colts back into the game, they then picked up three bookings before Marty Wright grabbed the equaliser on 65 minutes. Five minutes later Wright completed the comeback putting the Colts ahead and Stephen O'Neill seemed to seal it with a fourth goal in the 73rd minutes. Stirling Captain Angus Mailer pulled a goal back with nine minutes to go and on 86minutes substitute Louis Kennedy completed the reverse comeback an it was 4 - 4. Remarkably that only seems to be half the story with both teams having chances galore - Colts cleared of the line in the last minute, missed a great opportunity for 5 -3 and both keepers making saves throughout the game.
Another weekend where the goals continue to crash in across the Lowland League and it feels like the league is taking shape. Bonnyrigg and BFKH were obviously heavily tipped before the season started and on the evidence of the first three games it's not hard to see why, meanwhile Vale and Star look as though they are going to struggle.
As for us it makes grim reading even allowing for the fact we have only played two games, by the time we play our next league game it could look far worse. From what I've seen on social media and live any suggestions that this is a diddy league can be well and truly dismissed. There are good teams here and there is some good football played. It seems to me that it's far more entertaining than the Third Division and there is far more enjoyment for the fans. Clubs here take themselves seriously but are also able to laugh at themselves and others.