University of Stirling 0 v 3 Dalbeattie Star
Lowland League, Saturday 5 October
By Lewis Fraser
Dalbeattie Star secured their first win in a month on Saturday with a convincing 3-0 win over Stirling University.
Stirling were unable to find their rhythm on a wet afternoon at Forthbank, as they shipped three goals to a Dalbeattie side at the wrong end of the table.
Stirling manager Chris Geddes was brutally honest in his reflection of the game, saying afterwards: “We were flat. There was no spring, there was no spark, our touch was poor. Our basics were really poor. If your basics are really poor then you are going to struggle, and we did.
“It wasn’t good enough from us today. For a team with such talented players, the stuff we witnessed out there was just not good enough.”
Watch: Highlights of Stirling’s 3-0 defeat to Dalbeattie Star.
With torrential rain overhead, the standard of play suffered with the game beginning scrappy and neither side managing to gain a foothold.
It was the home side who felt they should have been in front within 20 minutes. Calum Heath’s free kick was played into a dangerous area and could only be punched into the chest of Craig Brown. Brown, only 6 yards out, couldn’t control the ball, and was unable to get a shot away. This would be Stirling’s best chance in what was a very poor half for the student side.
It was Star who took the lead after 36 minutes. A cross from the left hand side evaded Angus Mailer and found Connor Graham in lots of space. Graham did well to open himself up and get a shot away, finding the back of the net.
Before the half was over, Stirling –perhaps still suffering from their defeat to Kelty earlier in the week – went further behind. A Dalbeattie corner looked to have come to nothing, but a ball from the left side again found its way into the box. The ball was cut back in front of goal, where Ross Thomson was on hand to guide it home from only a yard out.
Geddes would have expected a reaction in the second half from his players, and for the first 10 minutes he got it. The home side looked sharper and more energetic, with Jason Jarvis and Heath both threatening to create opportunities. Nevertheless, Vinnie Parker was not really tested in the Star goal.
The burst of energy from Stirling at the start of the second half faded rather quickly, and Dalbeattie were once again comfortable in the game.
With 20 minutes to play, Geddes pushed centre back Ben Quigley up front and made two attacking substitutions in an attempt to force his side back into the game. However, with only three in defence, the University was vulnerable, and did concede another goal.
This time it was Calvin Cowie who took advantage of more slack defending from Stirling, before rounding Ben Fry and slotting away the final goal of the game.
Stirling will need to pick themselves up quickly as they face Northumbria in the British Universities and Colleges Sport league season opener on Wednesday, before a trip to Edinburgh to face The Spartans on Saturday.
University: Fry, Burrows, Quigley, Mailer, Downie, Cowley, Brown, Doan, Hall (Baird 62’), Jarvis (McMaster 77’), Heath (Kennedy 60’)
Goals for Dalbeattie: Graham (36’), Thomson (43’), Cowie (75’)