Saturday, 3 April 2010

East Stirlingshire 3 Albion Rovers 1

Irn Bru Scottish League Third Division, Saturday 3 April 2010 - Ochilview (or Lesser Firs Park)

There was a humorous note in East Stirlingshire's matchday programme for today's clash with Albion Rovers. It was noted that the 'annual race to avoid promotion had begun slightly earlier than usual'. This was not only a reference to Shire's rather spectacular fall from grace in recent weeks but the likes of Berwick Rangers and Forfar Athletic also seemingly contriving to play 'after you Claude' with promotion play-off places up for grabs.

Today, thankfully, the Shire got back to winning ways with a thoroughly deserved victory over a Albion Rovers team who still have play-off dreams of their own thanks to having so many games in hand of their rivals. The return of Paul Weaver was a huge boost for the home team and, after a bright start by the visitors, Shire took the lead on twelve minutes when the impressive Craig Donaldson's cross was headed home by Simon Lynch.

Rovers equalised ten minutes later when slack defending allowed Marc McCusker to lift the ball past keeper Barclay. However, seven minutes before half-time Shire went back in front when Rovers replicated Shire's defending mishap allowing Jamie Stevenson to fire into an empty net from twenty yards.

After fifty six minutes Shire sealed the points when brilliant play by Weaver set up Lynch for his second goal. The former Preston North End and Dundee striker went off shortly after with blurred vision which, apparently, was caused by a migraine.

The final score was 3-1 to the Mighty Shire who remain in second place in the Third Division. Livingston have all but secured the championship - despite losing at Annan today - and Shire have still to clinch a play-off place. But the games are running out and it is inconceivable Jim McInally's men won't be involved in the fight for promotion at the end of the season.

It's only a month away and I can hardly wait!

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