University of Stirling 3-1 Bo’ness United
Forthbank Stadium, 7.45pm, 25/11/20
By Charlie Harris at Forthbank Stadium
The University of Stirling ended Bo’ness United’s unbeaten run in the Lowland League with an emphatic win on Wednesday night.
The students put three goals past United – sealing back-to-back wins in the league and leaving them sitting comfortably in the top half of the table.
Stirling drew first blood on 13 minutes, when the Lowland League’s top scorer Jamie Penker converted a cross from Jason Jarvis, giving the home side the lead. However, their advantage didn’t last long, as Bo’ness equalised just moments later through a Kieran Anderson freekick.
The University refused to let their heads drop and restored their lead on 18 minutes thanks to a well-taken effort by the tricky Jarvis, before Penker added a third on the half-hour.
Reaction and goals: University of Stirling 3 – 1 Bo’ness United.
Head Coach Chris Geddes said: “I’m not quite speechless – but I’m certainly delighted. We more than deserved that win. Bo’ness were unbeaten coming into this game, so to win is fantastic.
“We were disappointed to lose a goal just minutes after we scored the first, but it was a brilliant response – and to go in 3-1 at half time against a top side is great.”
He added: “I’m delighted for Jamie Penker getting two goals, but I’m really pleased for the rest of the boys too. Jamie is only one part of that 18-man squad tonight, but he’s taken his chances and is doing a great job up there for us – just like the guys who are creating the opportunities for him.”
The University went into the game on the back of a 10-day rest, following their impressive away victory against Caledonian Braves, whilst visitors Bo’ness were yet to taste defeat in the league.
Early pressure from Stirling thwarted United and led to red-hot Penker pouncing on a deflected Jarvis cross to divert the ball past Andy Murphy in the away side’s goals. The officials deliberated over a potential offside call – but correctly awarded the goal.
Just two minutes later, Stirling goalkeeper Ben Fry was unable to save an in-swinging freekick delivered by former Stenhousemuir forward Anderson, equalising for the visitors.
The University went from strength to strength after the setback and were rewarded with a second goal – this time from Jarvis, who cut in from the left before firing the ball from 20 yards into the bottom corner.
Stirling now had their tails up – playing fantastic free-flowing football – with fullbacks Matthew Burrows and Marcus Lavery pressing high to support attacks. However, the third goal derived from a defensive error, with Penker latching onto a poor back-pass and slotting home after an initial save from the keeper.
The second half saw Stirling create more chances, with Robbie McGale firing over on 50 minutes and captain Craig Brown having several efforts blocked and saved.
Bo’ness missed a golden opportunity to get back into the match on 68 minutes when substitute Kyle Bell fired a shot off the post, before Fry gathered safely on the rebound.
Fry had a couple of other impressive saves in the latter stages of the half, but, in the end, it was a comfortable and well deserved victory for the University.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s game against East Stirlingshire, Geddes said: “Our boys will be full of confidence and we will take all the positives from today into a match against another strong team.”
Reaction from the Lowland League’s top scorer Jamie Penker.
University of Stirling: Fry, Burrows, Quigley, Doan, Lavery, Downie, Brown, Berry, Penker (Hall, 77’), Jarvis (Davidson, 87’), McGale (Heath, 74’)
Scorers: Penker (13’, 31’) Jarvis (18’)
Bo’ness United: Murphy, Stevenson, Campbell, MacFarlane, MacKenzie, Comrie, Gemmill, Grant, Anderson (Bell 61’), Locke, Ritchie
Scorer: Anderson (15’)
All photography by George Vekic.