Ladbrokes League One: Ayr look for breathing space at the top
With a solitary point separating the top four in the Ladbrokes League One table, teams will be going all out to gain an advantage at the summit.
The top trio are all making trips away from home, with surprise leaders Forfar taking on Dumbarton, Ayr heading north to Airdrie, and the free-scoring Dunfermline travelling to Stenhousemuir.
Here’s your weekend preview..
Airdrie v Ayr
Two in-form teams take to the pitch as Airdrie host Ayr United.
After two opening defeats the omens were not looking good for Gary Bollan’s side, but since then the home town Diamonds have stormed up the table. They have won their last four straight, and cruised to an impressive 3-1 away win at Albion last weekend.
Ian McCall’s Honest Men are basking in the glory of a clean sheet victory over the much fancied Dunfermline at East End Park, the 2-0 victory was a mighty 50/1 pre-match. That win was on the back of a 5-2 victory in their last home game, and they have taken ten out of a possible twelve points available to them.
If Ayr want to escape with the victory, they will have to upset the record books. Airdrie have won their last five games against the Somerset Park outfit, including all four last term.
Best Bet: Airdrie win – 17/10
Cowdenbeath v Forfar
Despite their lowly league position, the omens look good for Cowdenbeath to supply a shock win against leaders Forfar. The Blue Brazil showed great character, fighting back to draw 2-2 with Peterhead to end a run of two straight defeats.
Central Park is a venue that seems bring out the worst in the Loons. You have to go all the way back to 2002 to find the last time they side tasted victory here.
Dick Campbell was fully deserved of his recent Ladbrokes League One manager of the month award, for hauling his side to the top of the tree, and ahead of their more illustrious opposition.
The infamous curse of the award winner may well strike here though.
Best Bet: Cowdenbeath (Draw no bet) – 13/10
Peterhead v Brechin
Peterhead will be looking to gain ground on the teams above them, with a kind looking fixture against the hapless and pointless Brechin. The Blue Toon have gone through a sticky spell since inflicting Dunfermline’s first defeat, winless in three, with two draws and a defeat.
It has been a miserable start to the season for everyone connected to Brechin. They have been dumped out of both cups at the first stage, and tasted defeat in all six league matches. They have scored a measly total of four goals in eight and shipped an alarming amount of goals in the same period
With the free scoring Rory McAllister on side, and facing a defence that has leaked sixteen goals to date everything points to a handsome home win.
Best Bet: Peterhead -2 – 18/5
Stenhousemuir v Dunfermline
To say Dunfermline enjoy playing Stenhousemuir is an understatement. The Pars have won eight of the last nine meetings, including a thumping 7-1 win and a 5-4 thriller.
It looks as though goals will be on the menu here, with 37 strikes in those match-ups, and both sides finding the net with ease this season.
Stenny have scored in their last six games and defied early relegation predictions to sit handsomely in fifth position, with ten points.
The visiting Fifers will be looking to regain their top spot, and avenge last weekend’s defeat at home to Ayr. Strangely they were scoreless in that match, but the team has hit the back of the net 21 times this season, and surely won’t be kept out again.
Best Bet: Over 3.5 Goals – 23/20
Stranraer v Albion
It has been a very mixed bag for Stranraer this season. They have two wins but also four defeats to their name, as they struggle for any kind of consistency. They have won twice at home, including last time out Brechin, but followed that up with a miserable display in losing to Stenhousemuir last weekend.
Last season’s League Two champions Albion have made an encouraging start to life in their new surroundings. The men from Coatbridge have two wins and seven points to their name, but their record on the road is less impressive. They picked up their first point away from Cliftonhill last time out, after two successive defeats to nil.
Stair Park is not a happy hunting ground for Rovers, with the last three visits bringing two defeats and a draw. With this record and their poor away form this season, it looks like the points will be staying in the Galloway
Best Bet: Stranraer/Stranraer – 2/1