Local football fixtures

THERE is a full programme of South of Scotland League fixtures scheduled for this Saturday with the match of the day looking likely to be the contest at Meadow Park where leaders Threave Rovers play hosts to Stranraer.

Fixtures for Saturday, 2nd April.

All kick-offs at 3pm

South of Scotland League

Creetown v Mid-Annandale

Dalbeattie Star v Crichton

Heston Rovers v Abbey Vale

Newton Stewart v St Cuthbert Wanderers

Threave Rovers v Stranraer

Wigtown and Bladnoch v Nithsdale Wanderers

As the run in for this season’s league championship intensifies, the top sides will be keen to take the full points from their matches but with the top three or four still to play each other the destination of the title could be decided in these clashes.

Stranraer are one of the teams in the top four along with the three Stewartry sides, Threave, Dalbeattie Star and St Cuthbert Wanderers and although the Stair Park side do not have a realistic chance of winning the title they could possibly have a big say on where it eventually ends up. This Saturday’s clash will see Stranraer going into the match on the back of a surprise one nil defeat at the hands of Nithsdale Wanderers last time out in a Haig Gordon Cup second round tie at Sanquhar. The Stair Park side will be keen to make amends for that set back which could mean that this contest with Threave could go either way. However, with home advantage favouring the league leaders they are the most likely of the two to take the three points to maintain their lofty position in the table.

Dalbeattie Star - who have games in hand to Threave and Saints - play hosts to Crichton for what should be another good match. Star must keep the momentum going to challenge the Castle Douglas side but Crichton have come with a late surge to find themselves in fifth spot in the league and will be no pushovers. Star will have to be at their very best to take the three points from what may well be a tough match but again home advantage may prove to be the deciding factor.

Newton Stewart have pushed both Threave and Dalbeattie close in recent matches and this Saturday meet St Cuthbert Wanderers, the other Stewarty side still in contention for the title. The Creesiders seem to play their best against the better teams and will be looking forward to locking horns with Saints at Blairmount Park. Newton though are expected to be without the services for some time of their player/manager Davy Hyslop following a serious ankle injury sustained against Dalbeattie last Saturday which looks like it could keep him out for the remainder of the season. Nevertheless this should be a good contest although Saints will start as favourites to take the three points to keep their challenge on track - although they may not find it easy against a lively Newton side who are enjoying one of their best seasons for some years.

Wigtown and Bladnoch and Nithsdale Wanderers both sit on the 15 point mark although the Sanquhar side have played a game more and this Saturday’s meeting at Trammondford Park is another match that could go either way. Wigtown were hit by a sucker punch in the final minutes of their match last weekend against Crichton in a one-all draw and will be keen to go one better this time around. Nithsdale go into this fixture after having beaten Stranraer at Sanquhar in a Haig Gordon cup tie and will be on a high but the home side will still start as favourites to take the three points with home advantage maybe playing a part in the eventual result.

Bottom placed Abbey Vale with only three league matches left to play visit Maryfield for the second Saturday in succession to play Heston Rovers following their five goals to nil defeat in the Challenge Cup. It is difficult to see Vale taking anything from this match and Heston will start as strong favourites to take the three points, although maybe not in such an emphatic manner as last time around.

Creetown have Mid-Annandale as their visitors to Castle Cary Park and the second bottom placed side will be hoping that they have enough in their locker from now until the end of the season to climb up the league table. The Lockerbie side, however, have had a very good season and will be hoping to end up in the top half of the table following some very good early season results. This match is another one that could go close and a share of the points is a distinct possibility.