Since our last update, there have been Champions crowned, plenty of drama, twists and turns in the PDM Buildbase West of Scotland Football League as we reach the final stages and the Premier title race reaches what looks like will be a nerve shredding conclusion.
The league will move from a Premier Division and the 3 conferences to linear leagues, so every point could prove crucial in terms of divisional placement next season. With at the very least 6 teams coming down from the Premier into Division One, as well as the 2nd – 4th placed teams in each conference it promises to be a really competitive division. The Second Division will comprise of the teams in the 3 Conferences who finished 5th-9th, with most of those places having already been decided, with the rest of the Conference sides making up the Third division.
This should see an end to some of the mis-matches that the Conferences could produce, with each side finding it’s own level and playing against teams at a similar level, which in turn will produce even more exciting matches, which is always something to look forward to.
So whats been happening around the WoSFL since we last spoke? Well, after last night (Weds 20th April 2022), We now know our 3 Conference Champions who will be playing in the Premier Division next season. Cambuslang Rangers were the first of the 3 Conference champions to wrap up the title, winning Conference B out of the park, Winning 25 of their 28 matches, drawing once and losing twice, Once on the opening day of the season to 2nd places St. Cadoc’s, who finished 15 points behind the Lang, and to Gartcairn, who finished in 3rd position on goal difference. They sealed the title at home to Greenock in stunning fashion winning by SEVEN goals to Three having passed up the chance to secure the title a week earlier, although they managed to come back from 2-0 down at New Western Park to draw 2-2.
Our second Conference Champions are Petershill, who took the Conference C title in very dramatic fashion following a last day shootout against Glasgow Perthshire where Petershill would have to win, and by two clear goals to take the title ahead of Drumchapel United, who had led the Conference pretty much since day one. The match had the worst possible start for the Peasy, who went a goal down to the Shire in the 4th minute through Musa before hitting back with an equaliser from Branks in the 7th minute They went in front midway through the half when Docherty made it 2-1 but as time looked to be running out for them to grab that all important 2 goal cushion they were awarded a penalty in the 85th minute. Captain Ross McCabe stepped up and scored to seal the title and that all important Premier place and break the heart of Drumchapel fans everywhere, who watched as their side agonisingly lost top spot by a single goal. Coincidentally, the minutes after McCabe’s converted penalty were the only time Petershill topped the table all season.
Last night saw the final of the 3 Conference champions crowned as Arthurlie deservedly won Conference A. The ‘Lie are the only side in the WoSFL who have still not lost a league game all season but that run looked in jeopardy last night as they went in at the half time break trailing Maybole 0-2 at Dunterlie. Whatever the manager said at half time clearly had the desired effect though as they came roaring back in the second half to win 3-2, despite Maybole missing a spot kick to level it at 3-3, and secured their passage to the Premier Division. No more than they deserve as they have been by far the best side in the Conference all season.
The Premier Division title race is reaching its climax and it looks like there may well be some twists and turns before we find out who will be put forward as our Champion and into the playoff round robin between the winners of the East of Scotland Premier Division and the South of Scotland League for a place in the Lowland League next season. Going into the fixtures on Monday night there were 3 points separating leaders Auchinleck Talbot and second placed Darvel, who have had to play catch up due to postponements which saw them play Monday, Wednesday, Saturday for 3 weeks.
Monday night (18th April) saw the top 2 clash infront of a crowd of 2000+ at Recreation Park and the bumper Bank Holiday crowd were treated to a great game of Football, hard fought but never dirty, no small amount of skill on show, some great goals, there was even praise for a great call from one of the Assistant Referees!!. Darvel took the lead when Allan McKenzie rounded Leishman in the Talbot goal with only 21 minutes gone. To their credit Auchinleck hit straight back with a goal of their own from Keir Samson in the 24th minute. It looked like we would be going in level at the break only for Darvel to take the lead in the 41st minute with a contender for goal of the season. Some lovely one touch pass and move football saw Ian McShane smash the ball into the net giving Leishman no chance with a superb finish. The second half was more of the same end to end action with neither side giving an inch until the 71st minute when Dwayne Hyslop equalised to make it 2-2 and come full time thats how it ended, a 3 point gap remaining between the teams.
That gap now sits at a single point now though as Darvel took full advantage of a slip up by Auchinleck in last night’s matches (20th April) as they beat Kirkintilloch Rob Roy 2-1 at Guys Meadow, whilst at Blair Park, Talbot salvaged a point when Mark Shankland dispatched an 85th minute penalty to steal a point for Auchinleck, having gone behind to Hurlford just as Darvel had taken the lead at Guys Meadow. Pollok’s feint title hopes were all but killed off when they lost out to 4th placed Clydebank at Newlandsfield. Matt Niven gave the Bankies the lead in the first half before Adam Forde equalised with 10 minutes left with a stunning free kick but the Bankies regained the lead 5 minutes later when Lee Gallagher grabbed the winner on the counter. Beith parted company with manager Bryan Young following their 8-1 humbling at the hands of Largs Thistle at Barrfields Park.