Can chasing pack take advantage after Raith’s Cliftonhill defeat?
Nobody seemed able to stop Raith Rovers in League 1, with the Kirkcaldy club racking up 21 goals and 19 points from their first seven games.
However, Barry Smith’s side were brought crashing down to earth on Saturday, losing 2-1 to an impressive Albion Rovers side at Cliftonhill.
With fellow challengers Ayr United and Arbroath also winning, the gap at the top is now down to three points. Those results also mean there’s a trio of sides within five points of table-topping Raith.
So, are the teams below Smith’s 2/5 title-favourites in with a chance of pipping them to the title? We take a look…
Ayr United (2nd place, 16 pts / +11 GD)
The Honest Men breezed past East Fife with a 3-0 win in their last game. That made it successive wins to nil, following a 2-0 victory at lowly Queen’s Park.
Even the games they’ve lost have tended to be very tight. Ian McCall’s men were perhaps unlucky to be on the receiving end of 2-1 defeats to Arbroath and Raith Rovers – their only two defeats of the league campaign.
They boast a lively and clinical strike-force, led by Lawrence Shankland and Craig Moore. The only concern of note lies in the fact McCall has failed to win a promotion at any club since 1998.
Albion Rovers (3rd place, 15 pts / +3 GD)
If the Wee Rovers can tighten up their defence, there’s every chance they could lift the League 1 title. But that’s a big if.
Some of the side’s recent attacking displays have been sensational, especially on the road. Rovers thumped Arbroath 4-1 at Gayfield in early September, before a 5-2 win at Alloa Athletic in their following away game. The latter result marked the first time the Wasps have shipped five goals at home since 2013.
Brian Kerr’s side have a good blend of youthful vigour and wise old heads, as well as an evergreen goalscorer in Alan Trouten. But they need to improve on a defensive record which has seen them ship 17 league goals already this term.
Arbroath (4th place, 14 pts / +8 GD)
Another side who head into this game on the back of impressive goalscoring feats, the Red Lichties have racked up a combined 11 goals in their past two away games. Their 6-2 victory at Stair Park made them the first side to put a half-dozen past the Blues in 71 games.
Ryan McCord has been in blistering form of late, and his displays seem to have brought the best out of those around him. However, consistency remains the key. The poor displays we saw them produce against the likes of East Fife and Albion Rovers continue to crop up all too often.
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