University of Stirling 0 – 0 The Spartans
Saturday 18 January, 2020
By Lewis Fraser
University of Stirling player/manager Chris Geddes almost snatched the winning goal after subbing himself on against Spartans.
Making his first appearance for the club in more than a year, Geddes – the University’s top scorer of all-time – hit the bar shortly after taking to the pitch in the second half on Saturday. The Lowland League encounter ended 0-0.
Pleased with his side’s efforts in what was a hard fought game, Geddes said: “The first half was one of our best performances this season. We kept them out well.
“There was chances for both teams, Spartans have a lot of firepower. They had a couple near the end where our goalkeeper had to make good saves. But, it was a pretty fair game with both teams playing a bit of football, so we’re happy with a point.”
Highlights: University of Stirling versus The Spartans
The match, at Forthbank Stadium, was re-arranged following a postponement in November. With both sides only playing with one striker, the midfield was very congested in the first half and clear cut chances were hard to come by.
After 26 minutes, University winger Liam McMaster had an opportunity to put his side in front when the ball fell to him at the back post. However, he could not get his shot away, and goalkeeper Blair Carswell collected the ball.
A few minutes later, Stirling captain Angus Mailer’s defensive header came off the post after a Spartans corner. He was thankful to see the ball cleared from danger after his vital interception.
On the stroke of half time, Jason Jarvis’s corner was met by Ben Quigley only two yards from goal. However, the defender couldn’t keep his effort under the bar, and the chance was gone.
Early in the second half, McMaster hit a shot from the edge of the box, which looped over the defence – but the crossbar denied him what would have been a spectacular goal.
After 70 minutes, with the visitors growing into the game, Chris Geddes took matters into his own hands and substituted himself on for Kieran Hall. Almost immediately, Geddes won the ball in a dangerous area and drove at the Spartans back three. He played the ball to fellow substitute Calum Heath, who squared the ball back to his manager. The boss’s shot looked headed for the top corner, but – despite the crowd willing the ball home – the crossbar denied the students for a second time.
At the other end, Jack Smith looked to have put Spartans in front with only 10 minutes to play. The substitute was through on goal, and slotted his shot past Ben Fry. However, Alex Webb was well placed and managed a crucial touch to put the ball past the post and out of play.
After 85 minutes, Stirling goalkeeper Ben Fry was called into action to earn his team a point. He was at full stretch to deny Gregor Woods’ shot from 25 yards out. Into stoppage time, Spartans substitute Cameron Dawson’s close range header was on target, but Fry somehow tipped it over the bar.
Reflecting on his own performance, Geddes added: “The boys on the bench wanted me to come on, and I thought I could help the team. Sadly I missed a chance, but that’s my first game for the team in about 14 months.
“From a personal perspective it was disappointing not to put the chance away, but I think the team was excellent today, so I think a draw was a fair result.”
The University will play Durham University on Wednesday afternoon in the British Colleges and Universities Sport (BUCS) Premier North division, before travelling to Ainslie Park in Edinburgh to face Spartans again in the Lowland League, on Saturday.
University: Fry, Burrows (Webb 75’), Quigley, Mailer, Downie, Doan, Cowley (Heath 57’), Hall (Geddes 70’), Berry, Jarvis, McMaster