University of Stirling 1 – 2 East Kilbride
Forthbank Stadium, 10/10/20, 3pm
University of Stirling were left ruing missed chances after an impressive late winner gifted East Kilbride all three points in the Lowland League opener.
The students went ahead early in the second half and had several opportunities to add to their lead, however, a close-range equaliser on 61 minutes, followed by a stunning overhead kick with just six minutes left, secured the win for EK.
Head Coach Chris Geddes said: “We are really disappointed with the result, as we pushed East Kilbride really, really close.
“We knew it was going to be really tough and we created more chances that I thought we’d get – but we just didn’t take them. I’m gutted and the players are gutted because they put so much into the game.”
Head Coach Chris Geddes looks back on the students’ opening game of the season.
The first half offered few chances for either side, with Craig Malcolm and Chris Erskine having the best opportunities for the visitors – both putting long-range efforts just wide.
On 42 minutes, Jamie Penker darted a tempting ball across the face of goal but no Stirling teammates arrived to turn the ball into the net. Moments later, the students’ best first-half chance fell to Robbie McGale, who went through on the keeper after good play from Callum Bremner and Matthew Burrows in the middle of the park. However, McGale blazed his shot high over the bar.
Stirling started the second half brightly and Jason Jarvis powered a free kick on the left hand side of the EK box just wide of the goals. On 50 minutes, loose play at the back from Stirling led to Paul Woods going through on goal but goalkeeper Ben Fry kept the visitors out.
Two minutes later, it was EK that found themselves on the wrong end of a defensive howler – with a short back pass from Steven Bell seized upon by Penker who neatly slotted past the goalkeeper to give the students the lead.
Jamie Penker put the University a goal up early in the second half.
Almost immediately, Stirling found themselves under pressure and did well to defend consecutive corners – but on 61 minutes the ball dropped to Malcolm in the box who couldn’t miss from six yards. With both teams back even, the students continued to create chances – on 64 minutes Jarvis squared the ball across the face of the EK goal, but the forward struck wide.
Matthew Burrows then found himself in a similar position following a corner but shot wide at the back post.
On 81 minutes, EK defender Steven Old hit the post from his own half – after hitting an audacious free kick, catching Fry out. Lewis Kidd was sent off moments later, following a clash with Marcus Lavery, but even with 10 men, the visitors continued to press.
On 84 minutes Smith crossed the ball into the Stirling box and substitute Daryl Healy’s overhead kick passed Fry into the bottom corner. EK saw out the rest of the game and left Forthbank with all three points.
The students will play Cumbernauld Colts in their second match of the season on Tuesday evening.
“They’ve got a chance to bounce back on Tuesday and we’ll have some key players back too,” Geddes said. “Cumbernauld are a good team, they have some really good players, and they beat us last year – Broadwood is always a really difficult place to go.”
University of Stirling: Fry, Burrows, Quigley, Dean, Lavery (McIvor, 85’), Bremner (Heath, 75’), Berry, McGale (Kennedy, 85’), Penker (Davidson, 75’), Jarvis, Downie
Scorer: Penker (52’)
East Kilbride: Brennan, Kidd, Armstrong (Brady, 80’), Bradley (Wilkie, 75’), Old, Paton, Hutton (Smith, 69’), Malcolm, Erskine, Woods (Healy, 80’), Bell
Scorers: Malcolm (61’), Healy (84’)
Red Card: Kidd (82’)