Game of two halves as the University are sunk by Shire

University of Stirling 0 – 3 East Stirlingshire
29/11/20, Forthbank Stadium, Lowland League

By Graham Fleming at Forthbank Stadium

Three second-half goals from East Stirlingshire sunk the University of Stirling in their 200th Lowland League match.

The Shire ran out 3-0 winners on Saturday afternoon – much to the frustration of a Stirling side who competed well in the opening 45 minutes, but struggled to make the breakthrough.

Head coach Chris Geddes said: “It was a game of two halves. In the first, it was really even, probably the most even game we have played this year. In the second, we were not at it, and the Shire really upped their game and scored some really good goals.

“Obviously, from our perspective, we aren’t happy with the goals, but we have had a good week on the whole, managing to beat Bo’ness and running the Shire close in the first half, and now we just have to build on that for next Saturday.”

Reaction: Chris Geddes reflects on a disappointing afternoon at Forthbank.

Saturday marked the University’s 200th match in the Lowland League and they went into the game in form, having beaten Caledonian Braves and Bo’ness United in their previous two matches. However, East Stirlingshire’s wealth of talent in forward areas threatened to spoil the occasion.

The game began as a cagey affair with neither team able to unlock each other in the opening stages. The University looked to play out from the back, whereas East Stirlingshire sat slightly deeper and waited for opportunities on the counter-attack, which led to the away side’s best chance of the half. Sean Brown took Conor Doan out of the game with a deft touch and went through one-on-one with Stirling goalkeeper Ben Fry, who denied the striker with an impressive low save.

Jamie Penker had Stirling’s best chance of the half – but was unable to finish from an acute angle after going through on the left.

East Stirlingshire emerged for the second half a different side – and turned up the pressure from the first whistle. The pressure paid off on the 53rd minute when a lobbed pass played over Matthew Burrows found Andy Rodgers alone in the box. In attempting to recover, Burrows slipped and inadvertently tripped Rodgers – who put away the resultant penalty.

There was no respite for the students as the away side searched for a second goal, and Rodgers soon obliged. Ten minutes after his opener, the forward broke down the left side on the counter and placed the ball into the corner of the net for his second of the afternoon.

The University rolled the dice – taking off Burrows and Callum Downie and bringing on Louis Kennedy and Euan Baird – by switching to two up front.

However, just minutes later, the students were once again caught on the counter. Rodgers played a slick reverse ball through to Nicky Low who, despite the best efforts of left-back Marcus Lavery, found his way into the box and lobbed Fry with an audacious, chipped effort.

The home side had a couple of chances to score as substitute Calum Heath chested down in the penalty area, but his touch was too heavy. Jason Jarvis also had a good chance after his one-two with Kieran Hall allowed him a shot at goal, but the Shire goalkeeper did well to preserve his clean sheet.

The students will attempt to return to winning ways when they host Gala Fairydean Rovers on Saturday. Keep up to date on the University’s news, fixtures and results at:

Stirling University: Fry, Burrows (Baird, 63′), Quigley, Doan, Lavery (Heath, 76′), Berry (Davidson, 80′), Brown, Downie (Kennedy, 63′), Penker (Hall, 76′), Jarvis, McGale.

East Stirlingshire: Connelly, Orr, Wylde, Murray, Malone, Gibbons, Dishington (Shirra), Peggie (D. Ure), Brown (Young), Low, Rodgers (Henderson).
Scorers: Rodgers (53′, 61′), Low (72′)


All photographs by George Vekic.

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