University of Stirling crash out of Scottish Cup

Jeanfield Swifts 3-1 University of Stirling
Riverside Stadium (Perth), 12:30pm, 12/12/20
Scottish Cup (Second Preliminary Round)

By Charlie Harris at Riverside Stadium, Perth

The University of Stirling crashed out of the Scottish Cup on Saturday after being defeated 3-1 by Perth side Jeanfield Swifts.

Three goals for Jeanfield in the opening 22 minutes effectively settled the tie for the high flying East of Scotland Premiership side. Although the students created several good chances in both halves – they were unable to convert and get themselves back into the tie.

Stirling captain Craig Brown’s first goal of the season was to be the only consolation on a difficult afternoon for the University.

Head Coach Chris Geddes said: “I’m disappointed. We were playing against a really good side today, but we lost because of the first 20 minutes – we just didn’t defend well enough.

“After that, some might say we were the better team because we had a lot of chances, and we made their keeper make a lot of saves. I’ve got to give my boys credit for their performance in the second half and I’m really pleased for Craig Brown, getting his first goal of the season.

“But we’re bitterly disappointed – it’s the Scottish Cup – and although it’s only a preliminary round, it was a great opportunity to progress.”

Stirling came into the game on a high, after three wins in their last four league games, and Geddes named an unchanged team, with an eye on a potential cup run in a competition that the University has performed well in, in previous seasons. But an early trio of goals put an end to Stirling’s 2020 campaign.

In difficult conditions caused by heavy rain, home side Jeanfield took the lead on just three minutes, when captain Aaron Whitehead fired home at the near post from a well-worked corner. The Swifts added a second just 12 minutes later when Chris Scott rounded Ben Fry to score, after dispossessing University winger Robbie McGale, following a poorly judged short free-kick.

A third followed soon after for the Perth side, when Jamie Reid drilled the ball home from the edge of the box on 22 minutes – a sucker punch for the Stirling side who were struggling to deal with Jeanfield’s attacking prowess.

The students settled into the game following the early blow and began to show glimpses of their potential. Jason Jarvis was proving to be influential in all areas of their attacking play – having a goal-bound effort saved by experienced Swifts keeper Mark Mitchell. Brown and Jamie Penker also came close with chances before half-time.

Stirling continued to pursue a way back into the game after the break, with Jarvis seeing a left-footed volley blocked on the goal-line on 53 minutes, after excellent wing play from Robbie McGale.

Jeanfield, who were buoyed by the prize of reaching the First Round of the Cup for the first time in their history, remained resolute in defence.

Eventually, Stirling broke their deadlock – but it was too little too late – as Brown’s well-taken first goal of the season was to be nothing more than a consolation in a missed opportunity for the Lowland League side.

University of Stirling: Fry, Burrows, Quigley, Doan, Downie (Lavery 81’), Berry, Brown, Heath, Penker (Hall 62’) Jarvis, McGale (Baird 62’)
Scorers: Brown (90+1)

Jeanfield Swifts: Mitchell, Reid, Whitehead, Dolzanski, Stewart, McLaren (Mackenzie, 81′), F. Smith, McLeish (M. Smith, 77′), Simpson, Fergus (Dodd, 77′), Scott
Scorers: Whitehead (3′), Scott (15′), Reid (22′)

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