University of Stirling 2 – 1 Gala Fairydean Rovers
Saturday 31 August, 2019
Stirling University made it two wins in four days after a late goal snatched victory in a tight match against Gala Fairydean Rovers.
With the two sides level on 88 minutes, it was midfielder Craig Brown who got on the end of a long throw to lash the ball past the helpless Gala goalkeeper.
Watch: Highlights of match, courtesy of Dave Chandler.
Saturday’s win came hard on the heels of Stirling’s 4-0 demolition of Vale of Leithen on Wednesday evening – and manager Chris Geddes was delighted to take six points from the two matches.
He said: “Gala have new management and, basically, an entire new squad – so we didn’t know quite what to expect. It was a tough game for both teams, considering we had both played on Wednesday.
“It was a great opportunity, coming off the win on Wednesday night, to go and get the three points again. We kept going and I think we showed we were the fitter and stronger team – as we kept going forward with 10 or 15 minutes to go.
“I’m really happy for Craig because, for such a talented football player, his shooting this season hasn’t been to the standard that he expects it to be. I am delighted for him to get the winner – and, of course, for us to get the three points.”
Just a place separated the two teams in the Lowland League prior to kick-off. The game started at a fast pace, with both teams coming out of the blocks well.
The pace of the University’s Robbie McGale caused early problems for the Gala backline and it took the midfielder just three minutes to break the deadlock. After managing to get in behind the defence, his initial effort was saved but he was on the spot to turn the rebound into the net.
Over the next 10 minutes, Gala worked hard to get back into the match and their right winger threatened the Stirling defence – and it was his cross that led to the equaliser on 16 minutes, with Ryan Mayer looping a header over Stirling goalkeeper Ben Fry.
Gala continued the half on the front foot, however, the teams went in level at half-time.
Both sides had played midweek matches and tiredness started to play a part in the second half – but Stirling appeared to have the edge in terms of fitness. The home side pushed for a winner and had more of the possession – but very few chances were created by either side.
However, on 88 minutes, a long throw from defender Callum Downie landed for Brown in the box and the club’s vice-captain led by example – firing the ball into the corner, with a great finish.
In the closing moments, Gala pushed for the equaliser but the University defence held firm to secure an excellent win.
The University – 10th in the Lowland League – will play Montrose in a friendly on Tuesday evening, before returning to league action next Saturday (September 7) – travelling to East Peffermill to take on 13th-placed Edinburgh University at 3pm.
University of Stirling: Fry, Quigley, Webb, Mailer, Downie, Burrows (Kennedy, 84’), Brown, Berry, Hall (Murray, 61’), McGale, Jarvis (Doan, 77)’.
Unused subs: Penker, Heath
Goals: McGale (3’), Brown (88’)
Gala Fairydean Rovers
Goal: Mayer (16’)