5 things we learned from Ladbrokes SPFL (26-28 August)
The Ladbrokes League 1 title race took another dramatic turn as many people’s tip Livingston fell to defeat against a well organised Queen’s Park, giving Alloa the chance to open up a three-point lead at the top – an opportunity they took emphatically.
Elsewhere, the Ladbrokes Championship saw contrasting fortunes in Dumfries and Dunfermline, while Ladbrokes League 2 was the destination for high scores last weekend. Here’s what we learned from an exciting end to August…
Queen of the South’s backers are loving life
The Doonhamers were 11/4 for victory before their weekend win at Dunfermline kicked off, and 13/8 to beat Falkirk in their previous Ladbrokes Championship fixture – meaning those who have been backing the Borders club are likely to be feeling flush.
Veteran Derek Lyle bundled home the winner in a tight contest at East End Park, notching up his 100th club goal to give QotS a fourth successive win, including an away League Cup triumph at Hibernian. And having battered Ayr, while sneaking through other games with a robust defence, James Fowler’s men are equipped to win every kind of game.
Having already taken down title favourites Hibs, and currently boasting the league’s strongest defensive record, the 14/1 for Queen of the South to go up as Ladbrokes Championship winners could be fantastic value.
But the Pars are enduring a rare struggle
Last year was one of record-breaking triumph for Dunfermline Athletic, who became the first senior champions of the season anywhere in Britain. But their high-tempo, attacking football has so far been stifled by high-quality opposition in the Ladbrokes Championship.
Missed chances, a defensive mishap, and a needless red card were their downfall against Queen of the South (more on them shortly) at East End Park, with the Fife club falling to a 1-0 defeat – their third loss in succession.
However, with games against QotS, Hibernian and Raith Rovers now out of the way until the next round of fixtures, the Pars face more winnable games against Greenock Morton and St Mirren in the coming weeks.
Alloa can be this season’s Dunfermline
Those who stuck their money on Alloa Athletic lifting the Ladbrokes League 1 title before the season at odds of 11/4 will be rubbing their hands with glee. Four games in, they’ve already been backed into 4/6, and it’s easy to see why.
The Wasps had to huff and puff to get an opener at Albion Rovers last week, with their first goal taking until the 57th minute – but just like the Pars last season, Jack Ross’ men laid siege to their opponents in a glorious second-half display.
Calum Waters’ exquisite free-kick was the pick of the bunch in a 4-0 away demolition, as the Wee Rovers conceded four times at Cliftonhill for the first time in over three years. Nobody, it seems, can put a dent in Alloa’s title hopes this season.
Queen’s Park adapting well to life in League 1
While Dunfermline have found promotion hard to handle, there’s been no such trouble at Hampden Park, with the Spiders continuing to show the defensive stability which made them so successful last term.
As well as knocking Partick Thistle U20’s out of the Challenge Cup, they’ve taken seven points from their last three League 1 games, conceding a single goal in the process, and inflicting Livingston’s first defeat in four outings.
Back-to-back promotions would be a big ask at 25/1, with Alloa currently too hot to handle, but if they can continue to eke out wins against the league’s so-called ‘top sides’, those big odds could quickly tumble.
Still not convinced? They’ve just brought in a guy who netted a few goals in his time.
Queen’s sign International player
— Queen’s Park FC (@queensparkfc) August 29, 2016
Want goals? Get down to Ladbrokes League 2
There’s always plenty of goalmouth action in Ladbrokes League 2, especially with all-action Forfar Athletic involved, but last weekend produced a real bumper haul of goals, with 28 scored in the five games (that’s 5.6 per game, if you’re wondering).
There were a pair of 5-3 home wins, as Arbroath and Clyde both came from behind to secure all three points, while Montrose produced what manager Paul Hegarty described as a “wonderful fightback” to recover a point from 2-0 down against Annan Athletic.
Forfar’s 100 per cent league record means they look well-priced to lift the title at 2/1, though if high-scoring Clyde (10/3) and Arbroath (7/2) can get their defences into shape, then the Loons could well have a battle on their hands to retain top spot.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing