University of Stirling 0 – 3 Bonnyrigg Rose
Lowland League, Forthbank Stadium
Saturday 1 February
By Lewis Fraser
University of Stirling were swept aside by title challengers Bonnyrigg Rose on Saturday, as the students’ challenging run of fixtures continues.
Rose took the lead after only five minutes, before killing off the hope of an upset with two second-half goals.
University boss Chris Geddes was in no doubt that Rose deserved the victory – but was pleased with the effort his side put in.
“They’re a top side; one of the best – if not the best – in the league,” Geddes said. “They did a professional job, a couple of fortunate goals with the second and third one, but they deserved the win.
“They always start well. They’ve got a lot of former senior players, and boys who could still play that level. They put us under pressure straight away. They had a lot of corners today, and with the size of their players, I think we did pretty well to only concede one goal in that way.”
He added: “We made the decision to rest players with a big game on Wednesday in the University league. We played a bit more conservative today, trying to save legs. It obviously didn’t work but it would have been a tough game no matter who we played.”
Highlights: University of Stirling 0 – 3 Bonnyrigg Rose
Bonnyrigg began the game on the front foot, and showed why they are challenging for the league title. After five minutes, the visitors took a deserved lead following their third corner of the game. Rose forward Keiran McGachie jumped above the University defence and headed the ball past Ben Fry to give his side an early lead.
Stirling struggled to gain a foothold in the game, and after 25 minutes it was almost 2-0. George Hunter took the ball around Fry, but the striker hesitated with his shot and was crowded out.
Despite winning a barrage of corners, Rose could not extend their lead before half time. In fact, the University had a golden chance to level before the break. Callum Downie found himself in space on the left hand side, and his cross was well weighted to the back post. Winger Liam McMaster was unmarked, but he couldn’t steer the ball into the net.
Following the interval, the students had another chance to equalise when James Berry squared the ball from the goal-line to McMaster. However, he couldn’t keep his close range shot on target, and Mark Weir remained untroubled.
Bonnyrigg doubled their lead on 52 minutes when George Hunter won the ball in the middle of the park, and found himself through on goal. Rather than shoot, he passed the ball to McGachie, who slotted home his second of the afternoon.
After going two goals down, Geddes made a double change, bringing on Jason Jarvis and captain Angus Mailer.
Reaction: University coach Chris Geddes.
Mailer, playing on the right wing, almost made an instant impact – but his shot from the edge of the box was comfortably saved by Mark Weir.
With just 12 minutes to play, Rose put the result beyond any doubt. A through ball bounced off Stirling’s Downie and into the path of Ross Gray. Gray did well to poke the ball into the path of Lewis Turner. The midfielder was composed with his finish, dispatching the ball into the far corner of the net.
In the dying moments of the game, Jarvis had two free kicks from dangerous areas, but neither could find the back of the net for a consolation goal.
Stirling University travel to Nottingham this Wednesday for a crucial match – which could see them crowned champions of the British Universities and Colleges Sport Premier North. They will welcome East Kilbride to Forthbank this Sunday.
University of Stirling: Fry, Burrows, Webb, Quigley, Downie, Doan, Cowley, Berry (Brown, 72’), Hall (Mailer, 57’), Heath, McMaster (Jarvis, 57’).