South Scene preview with John mcNaught

Gazette football correspondent John McNaugh look ahead to this weekend’s action on the pitch.

Fixture for Thursday 26th February, 2015

South Challenge Cup – Round 3

Queen of the South v Edusport Academy – kick-off 8pm

Fixtures for Saturday 28th February, 2015

South of Scotland League

Crichton v Wigtown and Bladnoch – kick-off 3pm

Dumfries YMCA v St Cuthbert Wanderers – kick-off 2pm

Edusport Academy v Nithsdale Wanderers – kick-off 3pm

Fleet Star v Abbey Vale – kick-off 2pm

Heston Rovers v Upper Annandale – kick-off 2pm

Lochar Thistle v Newton Stewart – kick-off 2pm

Mid-Annandale v Creetown – kick-off 3pm

The fourth club to reach the semi-finals of this season’s South Challenge Cup will have been decided on Thursday evening at Palmerston Park where Queen of the South will have played Edusport Academy. The winner will join Wigtown and Bladnoch, Heston Rovers and St Cuthbert Wanderers in the semi-final draw which will take place following the Palmerston match.

There is a full list of South of Scotland League fixtures scheduled to be played on Saturday with a variety of kick-off times. The top three teams are all in action in Dumfries with present leaders St Cuthbert Wanderers playing bottom placed Dumfries YMCA and second placed Newton Stewart playing Lochar Thistle with both matches starting at 2pm. Third placed Wigtown and Bladnoch play Crichton with a 3pm kick-off.

Saints should win their encounter with YMCA comfortably and add considerably to their goal difference while the other two League title contenders Newton Stewart and Wigtown will have to be at their very best to prevent any slip ups. Newton Stewart would appear to have the more difficult of the tasks in hand as Lochar Thistle have shown that they are a match for most other South teams this season. The Creesiders however are still unbeaten in the league and will be keen to keep this record intact although they may well have to produce their very best form to do so.

Wigtown will start as slight favourites to take the three points from their match against Crichton and by starting their match at 3pm will be well aware before the end of what they may have to achieve to gain an advantage over their closest challengers. Heston Rovers appear to have found a run of good form and will start as strong favourites to take the three points from their match against Upper Annandale at Palmerston Park to keep any outside chance of league title glory alive. Edusport Academy entertain Nithsdale Wanderers at Hamilton for a match the home side are expected to win while Fleet Star and Abbey Vale lock horns at Gatehouse for a contest that could go either way. Mid-Annandale play hosts to Creetown at Lockerbie and this is another encounter that both sides are capable of winning. However, home advantage could well see the three points staying with the home team although the visitors as usual will not make it easy for them to do so.