Updated: Oct 1, 2022
September has been a little bit of a slack month, thanks to a royal funeral, and a medically imposed break, but I've still managed 4 games and a motorcycle race meeting.
Join me now for a quick review of September 2022
Cinch League 1
Kelty registered their first win of the season thanks to a fine first half performance against third placed Falkirk. Goals from Joe Cardle and Scott McGill gave Kelty the half-time lead, which they then backed up with a solid defensive show in the second forty-five to secure all three points.
The opening spell was pretty competitive, with both sides settling quickly. Kallum Higginbotham went close early doors but scooped his shot over the bar under pressure from the Bairns defence.
Higgy, Cardle and Lewis Martin were coming in for plenty of stick from the away fans thanks to their former Pars connection, but it was Cardle who had the last laugh in the eighteenth minute. He won a corner over on the right which the Falkirk defence only partially cleared – Michael Tidser flicked it back into the danger area where Dougie Hill knocked it down for new signing Jason Thomson, His shot was blocked by Nicky Hogarth in the Falkirk goal but the rebound fell nicely for Cardle, who didn’t need a second invitation, and tucked it away before sprinting off to celebrate in front of the Falkirk fans.
Kelty added the second seven minutes later, counter attacking with a slick passing move involving Higgy, Cardel and Thomson, who slipped it wide to McGill to drill a low drive towards goal. Hogarth seemed to have it covered, but somehow managed to deflect the shot over himself and into the roof of the net.
As expected, there was a bit of a reaction from the visitors after the break, but it was short of a full onslaught. Darren Jamieson had to make a few saves in the Kelty goal, but he never really looked under any pressure and, in the end, the visitors seemed a little bit toothless as Kelty held on for their first three points under John Potter.
The UK wide postponements of all football fixtures gave me the opportunity to spend a bit more time than usual at Knockhill for the final round of the Scottish Championship and KMSC Club races. With 30 races spread over the weekend, there was plenty of action on track, and with championships still to be decided in each of the 8 classes, drama was virtually guaranteed.
In the Superbike class, both the Scottish Championship and the KMSC championships were up for grabs and the frontrunners were on lap record pace right from the green lights. Wishaw’s Callum Grigor was flying all weekend, taking pole position in the qualifying session onboard his Kirkcaldy Kawasaki ZX10R with a lap time of 50.121 seconds. Lewis Paterson from Perth qualified second on the grid with a time of 50.949 on his Suzuki GSX-R1000 and Andrew Buchanan for Larbert completed the front row on the BMW S1000RR, clocking a time of 51.699.
When the racing got underway, Grigor continued to dominate, winning all four Superbike races and securing the KMSC Superbike Championship in the process – Callum’s second title in a row. That still wasn’t enough for him though, stating in his post-race interview that he didn’t think he was fast enough!
Likewise Lewis Paterson finished second in every race, pushing Grigor all the way. Crucially for Paterson though, his 2nd place in the first race of the weekend gave him enough points to wrap-up the Scottish Superbike Championship, taking the title in his debut season in the class and doing it in a bit of style, with three races to spare.
Over in the Formula 600 class, it was Sam Munro from all the way up there in Insch that ruled the roost, qualifying his Yamaha R6 on pole position and taking two wins and a second place. A decent points haul from four races, and enough for Sam to clinch the KMSC F600 Championship for the season.
Elsewhere, four wins from four races for Brandon Russell on the Yamaha were enough to seal the KMSC Formula 300 class. While Stephen Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood won the final sidecar race of the season, the Yamaha pair lifting the Jock Taylor Memorial Trophy.
That wrapped up the two-wheel action for the 2022 season at Knockhill, while there’s just one meeting left at East Fortune for those riders still battling for Scottish Championship glory.
With the SFA freeing clubs to resume fixtures, this mid-week friendly was cleared to go ahead. As friendlies go, this one was pretty competitive and played at a decent tempo.
Kelty were able to welcome back top scorer Nathan Austin to the starting eleven. Fash has been missing through injury in the opening weeks of the season and has been sorely missed by the Maroon Machine. Fash certainly looked sharp enough for such a long lay-off, and to my eye looked like he’s been working hard in the gym – perhaps adding a bit of mass to his upper torso. More importantly, he looks like he still has his eye for goal and still enjoys giving defenders a hard time, and if he’d had a bit more game time under his belt, he could have bagged a couple of goals in the first half.
The Kelty fans who’s made the trip over the Bridge also got their first look at loan signing Nicky Low who joins from Arbroath. The midfielder looked busy, threading a few tempting looking passes through the channels and he certainly looks like he’ll bring plenty of energy to the Kelty engine room.
These two sides always enjoyed a healthy rivalry in the recent past and many fans will remember a few ding-dongs between them in the old Superleague days. Despite moving different circles nowadays, none of heat seems to have gone out of that rivalry and this was not one of your tippey-tappey, low tempo friendlies. It’s true that both sides could have picked an easier opponent to give themselves a mid-week runout, but the edge to the game made it all the more watchable and helped to keep the fans warm on a late summer evening.
In the end, it was a very good strike from Mark Stowe late in the game that settled things in Linlithgow’s favour, slamming a well struck volley past Kelty’s sub-keeper Liam Campbell from the right-hand angle of the box.
Scottish Cup 1st Round
Kier’s Park, Hill of Beath
This one would have come as a welcome distraction for league business for Hill of Beath, the Haws yet to pick up a league win this season, despite a significant improvement to last season’s side. The cup has been a different story though, Beath making it past Irvine Meadow in the preliminary round.
Locos came flying out of the blocks quickly and nearly got themselves off to a dream start with an effort against the crossbar in the first minute. The home side quickly put that behind them though with a couple of good free-kick attempts early on and this was already shaping up to be a cracker of a cup tie.
Haws put themselves under pressure with some slack defending in the right back position and it needed a smart save from Stuart Hall to keep the scores level. Locos took the lead from the resulting corner though, the kick played deep to the back post and Mark Souter heading home despite being surrounded by red shirts.
Haws were level within ten minutes after some good linkup play between Ryan Connelly and Ross Allum set up Callum Adamson, unmarked on the penalty spot, and volleying the equaliser home.
Everybody thought Allum had put his side ahead just a minute later from a quick piece of thinking after spotting the keeper off his line and trying a lob from 25 yards out. The chip beat the keeper, clattered off the underside of the bar and bounced down onto the line. Virtually everybody inside Kier’s Park though it has crossed the line, including Loco’s keeper Andy Reid – the only ones that didn’t think it was a goal were the ref and his near-side assistant, and so the scores stayed level.
It was only a matter of time though, and when it came, there was no doubt about this one. The ball played forward to Ross Allum, who used his backside in style of John McGinn, turning that defender and smashing a half-volley into the top corner.
Loco’s put up a bit of a fightback in the early part of the second half, but Haws managed to weather the storm and the heart gradually went out of the visitors. Johnny Galloway added number three – heading home the cross from the middle of the box ten minutes from time to wrap things up for Haws and book their place in the second-round draw.
EOSFL Premier Division
Riverside Stadium Perth
Swifts kept up their challenge at the top of the Premier League table, moving back to within three points of leaders Penicuik, with a second half comeback at the Riverside. Primrose had taken the lead in the first half through a Cammy Muirhead strike. But Dayle Robertson pulled the hosts level, before Chris Scott’s late winner gave Jeanfield the win.
Swifts had looked pretty good right from the first whistle – Chris Dodd bursting clear and being pulled down in the opening minutes. It was the first of a string of free kicks that went Jeanfield’s way in the first quarter of an hour, but the never managed to capitalise on any of them.
The longer Swifts went without scoring, the more Primrose grew in confidence, and it was the visitors that bagged the opener mid-way through the first half. Flying winger Mark Mackenzie took off down the left, cut inside his man and fired across the face of goal, Mackenzie’s strike smashed off the base of the far post, but broke to Muirhead, who had time to take a touch and slot home past Mitchell.
The first half turned out to be pretty even. Swifts had plenty of possession, but were sometimes a bit guilty of over-playing, and couldn’t really trouble Sean Robertson in the Primrose goal. Crossgates on the other hand were managing the game well – soaking up the pressure when they needed to and launching dangerous counter attacks when they could.
The second half started in the same vein, but the longer the half wore on, the better Jeanfield started to look. The Perth side were gradually turning the screw, but it took until just past the hour mark for them to draw level. Gary Fergus picked up the ball wide on the right, twisted & turned and curled an inch perfect shot to the back post. It looked like it was on its way in before Robertson intervened and slammed it beyond the keeper to make sure of the equaliser.
Jeanfield have a habit of scoring in bursts and had the bit between their teeth now. They carved out a couple of decent chances before finally getting the equaliser ten minutes from time. Paul Simpson is back at the Riverside after his brief spell at Tranent and has seems to have slotted straight back into the side. With time ticking away, he linked up with Connor McLaren and hit the bye-line, before cutting the ball to the back post for Kiffy Scott, who curled it into the far corner to claim the win for Swifts.
Both of these side have started the season well and are sitting in the top half of the table. Ross Gunion’s side receive plenty of plaudits for their style of football, and if they can add that clinical edge in the final third, they will be serious title contenders. In the away dressing room, Crossgates will have been disappointed at giving up the lead, but they did have one or two first team regulars missing, and in Cammy Muirhead they have a striker in a rich vein of form. If these two can keep their current form going, there’s no reason why they can’t both be in the hunt come the business end of the season.