By Graham Fleming at Forthbank Stadium
University of Stirling opened their Lowland League season with a win against Gretna 2008 on Saturday, thanks to goals in each half from debutants Callum Rae and Euan McGill.
Stirling went in front early on through Rae’s effort, before putting the game to bed through substitute Euan McGill’s goal just before the final whistle.
Head coach Chris Geddes said following the game: “I’m delighted, I thought we controlled the game for 90 minutes.
“We had lots of opportunities at goal, some we should have done a lot better with after some
good saves by their goalie but overall I’m really happy.
“We really should have killed the game off, with the players that we have and the chances that we created – I feel that we should be doing better with them. The last three games against Gretna we have played we have won 1-0 down there, 1-0 and 2-0 again back up here, and we have dominated all three, but they are always in the game so we have got to be on the ball.”
On a scorching afternoon at Forthbank, the game started as it meant to go on – a somewhat cagey affair with the home side looking the more threatening of the two, as James Stokes and Conor Doan had half-chances at goal in the opening stages.
It wasn’t until the 12th minute that Stirling found their opener as Louis Kennedy’s quick feet on the right picked out debutant Rae in the box, who turned and fired a deflected effort into the net.
Both sides struggled to unlock each other in a tense encounter and had to wait until the
second period for further chances.
The students were again the ones asking the questions after the break when Stokes,
Kennedy and Robbie McGale created some good opportunities but failed to find the net.
Gretna looked much more threatening on the hour mark after substitute Jordan Kemoe took to the field – and held the ball up, which led to a chance for trialist, but an excellent block allowed Ben Fry to collect the ball with ease.
The game was settled in the 88th minute when Jason Jarvis dribbled his way into the box from the right wing and put in a fierce cross across the face of goal, with sub McGill
thundering a header into the net, which sealed the victory for Geddes’ men.
Gretna goalkeeper McCready then saw red in injury time for handling the ball outside his area which prevented Jamie Penker from opening his account in the dying seconds.
University of Stirling: Fry, Burrows, Thompson, Taylor, Downie, McGale, Doan, Kennedy (Penker 67), Rae (Berry 77), Stokes (McGill 87), Jarvis.
Gretna 2008: McCready, Kelly, O’Sullivan (Donald) E., Griffiths, R. Griffiths, Ivison,
Swailes (Kemoe), Trialist, Trialist, Duffy, Sneddon.