Saturday 10 August, Lowland League
Two late strikes salvaged a point for the University of Stirling after an eight-goal thriller in Saturday’s Lowland League match against Cumbernauld Colts.
The student footballers went in 2-0 ahead at half-time but were stunned when Cumbernauld scored four in 25 second-half minutes to lead going into the last 10.
But an eleventh-hour double from captain Angus Mailer and substitute winger Louis Kennedy meant that both teams left Forthbank Stadium with a share of the spoils.
Speaking after the match, Stirling manager Chris Geddes said: “I think the coaches in Cumbernauld’s dressing room will be feeling like us – we could have lost, we could have won, and we’ve ended up with the draw. For the neutral, it was a great game – but not so much for us, I’m disappointed that we’ve lost points.”
Both sides started the match well with early chances falling to Stirling’s Euan Baird, Jason Jarvis and Callum Downie and Cumbernauld’s Martin Wright and Fraser Team.
But it was Stirling that dominated the half and the deadlock was broken on 32 minutes. Good work from Robbie McGale found Jarvis in the box, who fired the ball high into the net, past the Cumbernauld keeper.
Just two minutes later, Stirling were awarded an indirect free kick in their opponent’s penalty area after the keeper picked up a back pass. In a cleverly-worked routine, midfielder Craig Brown laid off Aidan Peden who blasted into the roof of the net.
The home side nearly made it three when Baird set up McGale on the edge of the box, who chipped on to the top of the bar.
Cumbernauld introduced Richard Kirwan and Gregor Johnston for Lewis Warnock and Lewis Bonar at half time and the changes had an instant impact with Craig Murray pulling a goal back following a corner.
Baird had an opportunity to restore the two-goal advantage but Cumbernauld’s keeper saved well.
The visitors levelled on 66 minutes with a right-foot finish from Wright – and five minutes later he added his second, and Cumbernauld’s third.
A stunned Stirling conceded a fourth on 74 minutes when Stephen O’Neill slid his shot under the Stirling keeper.
But with 15 minutes on the clock, a resilient Stirling battled their way back into the match and made it 4-3 on 81 minutes through centre-back Mailer, who found space on the edge of the box and slotted home.
Moments later, Cumbernauld’s Wright had the opportunity to seal his hat-trick and all three points – but hit the post and then fired the rebound over the bar from six yards.
Stirling continued to press and on 87 minutes, substitute Kennedy cut inside on his left foot and, just inside the box, side-footed the ball into the top corner to the delight of his teammates.
Kennedy said: “I just saw the top corner and thought I may as well go for it – there was nothing to lose at that point.”
Reflecting on the draw, he added: “It was a great game to watch – and to play in too, very entertaining.
“The lads are a bit disappointed that we played so well in the first half and then have gone on to lose that lead. But we’re happy that we managed to get the draw in the end.”
The University return to action this Saturday (August 17) when they play Blackburn United in the Football Nation Qualifying Cup. The game kicks off at Forthbank at 3pm with tickets priced at £6 for adults and £3 for concessions.
University of Stirling: Walker, Burrows, Webb (Penker, 80’), Mailer, Downie, McGale (Kennedy, 76’), Brown, Berry, Baird, Jarvis, Peden (Heath, 68’)
Unused subs: Allan, Bremner, Doan, Trialist
Cumbernauld Colts: Grier, Fergus, Pascazio, Davidson, O’Neill, Bembo, Wright, Bonar (Johnston, 45’), Warnock (Kirwan, 45’), Team, Murray (McAnespie, 90’)
Unused subs: Gilchrist, Tart
University of Stirling: Jarvis (32’), Peden (34’), Mailer (81’), Kennedy (87’)
Cumbernauld Colts: Murray (48’), Wright (66’, 71’), O’Neill (74’)
University of Stirling: Downie (90’)
Cumbernauld Colts: O’Neill (53’), Murray (56’), Bembo (64’)