5 things we learned from the Ladbrokes SPFL (August 13-14)
While the Ladbrokes Championship title race is going much as predicted, with Hibernian and Raith Rovers out in front, it’s been rather more unpredictable elsewhere.
Newly-promoted Dunfermline have a potential Championship top scorer in the form of Joe Cardle. Pre-season 22/1 shots Brechin City now look like genuine title contenders, with their odds duly slashed to 12s. Oh, and a certain League 1 side seem unable to end a troubling slump.
Here are the five big talking points from a dramatic weekend across the Ladbrokes SPFL.
Elgin City are a well-oiled machine
Nobody strolled to victory last weekend with quite the ease of Jim Weir’s men, who breezed past Ladbrokes League 2 newboys Edinburgh City with a 3-0 scoreline – with all three goals scored in the opening 25 minutes. As for the visitors, there wasn’t much to cheer…
75: Not a lot to report other than a succession of yellow cards for City.
Elgin 3-0 City
— City (@EdinburghCityFC) August 13, 2016
And they barely had a sniff of goal against an Elgin defence which has now kept back-to-back clean sheets, having notched up a 1-0 win at Cowdenbeath the previous weekend.
With Craig Gunn and Shane Sutherland both netting well-taken goals against the capital club, there’s no doubt of their continued attacking quality. If they can continue to match that with defensive toughness, the 5/1 for Elgin to lift the title will be a brilliant bet.
Championship top scorer race heating up
Yes, we are only two games in, but in a season where many expected Hibernian hitman Jason Cummings to win the golden boot by a distance, he already looks to have some strong competition.
Dumbarton’s Mark Docherty might be a bit over-reliant on spot-kicks, but having netted three times in two games from the spot, the defender is equal top of the rankings alongside Cummings (11/8) and the immensely talented Cardle (12/1).
With Raith Rovers’ young hitman Declan McManus having also put away two excellent goals against St Mirren last weekend, this could be one race which goes right down to the wire.
Trouten is no fish out of water
Despite winning promotion from League 1 with Ayr United last season, the 30-year-old striker endured a difficult season on the pitch, scoring just seven times in all competitions. But a return to Brechin City is already seeing the forward return to his prolific ways.
A crucial goal in the 2-0 win at Albion Rovers makes it four goals in as many goals in all competitions this season for the striker.
And there’s no doubt he’s happy to be back, telling Ladbrokes News: “I’m delighted to be back at Brechin. I was here for three years and I certainly played the best football of my career, and really found some consistency.”
The early signs suggest he’s not taking long to rediscover that consistency at Glebe Park.
Peterhead slump shows no sign of ending
To give the Blue Toon their due, Jim McInally’s men did put in a couple of eye-catching displays in the League Cup – not least in victory over Dundee – but their league form shows no sign of recovery, following another grim day at the office against East Fife.
A goalkeeping error gifted the Fifers’ Jason Kerr a fifth-minute opener from a corner, and the hosts left the Balmoor faithful in despair after missing a host of chances and gifting their opponents’ two more soft goals from set-pieces.
From tactics to belief to defending set-plays, it’s hard to know which issue McInally needs to tackle first.
On the other hand, the effective and disciplined Fifers could be well worth backing for victory at Alloa at odds of 7/2.
Huge numbers turned out for big clashes
Those working the Easter Road turnstiles on Saturday will certainly have earned their half-time Bovril, with 16,477 fans in attendance as Hibernian welcomed promotion dark horses Dunfermline Athletic to Leith. And the Pars’ Twitter account was rightly proud of the terrific traveling support from Fife.
— Dunfermline Athletic (@officialdafc) August 14, 2016
And while that proved to be the Ladbrokes SPFL’s biggest crowd of the weekend, there were impressive numbers elsewhere as the attendance for Airdrieonians’ 4-2 defeat to Livingston was comfortably in four figures, and 794 fans were at Links Park as Montrose snatched a late point against Angus rivals Arbroath.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing