By John Turnbull at Forthbank Stadium
University of Stirling suffered a third consecutive defeat on Saturday as the students were undone by a clinical Spartans performance.
The game remained firmly in the balance until after the break, but Blair Henderson grabbed his first within a minute of the restart before the Spartans striker added his second minutes after the hour mark. The Edinburgh side defended resolutely to hold off the students and take all three points.
Head coach Chris Geddes said: “I thought we were the better team in the first half, but, second half, Spartans scored so early and then their tails were up. They’ve got a really strong squad, so they seen the game out really well.
“We had good opportunities in the first half. We thought we should’ve had a penalty, Callum Downie said he got touched. Robbie had a good chance early doors as well when he was through on goal.
“A minute into the second half, everyone’s up for it, but we concede a soft goal. I guess that’s why these teams pay the big bucks for the star strikers because the big man has not played brilliantly but walked away with two goals.
“We need to do better, in an attacking sense in the final third but also defensively we are losing what we think are sloppy goals.”
The students welcomed The Spartans – keen to make amends for a heavy midweek defeat at the hands of Celtic B.
It was the hosts who started the brightest in the first period, and the chance of the half fell to Robbie McGale – the forward was threaded through on goal but he blazed his effort over the bar.
Frustration brewed further for the students as Downie appeared to be fouled in the box on 30 minutes, but the referee waved play on.
The breakthrough came within seconds of the restart as Stirling failed to clear a cross before Henderson slammed home the loose ball.
Despite working hard to level the game, it wasn’t long until the student’s deficit was doubled. The away side were lifted by the opening, and two excellent saves from Ben Fry kept the game in reach.
But on 64 minutes, Jamie Dishington fired a dangerous low cross along the six-yard box, with Henderson tapping home.
The students continued to work tirelessly for a response right until the final whistle, but a well-oiled Spartans defence foiled any chance of getting back into the game.
The University travel to Cumbernauld Colts on Friday night and Chris Geddes added: “Its going to be a tough game, they’re a really good side. Both teams are going to be needing the points.”
University of Stirling: Fry, Berry, Doan, Burrows (Thompson 39), Lavery, De Zoeten, Downie (Kennedy 66), Jarvis, Penker, Davidson (Stokes 66), McGale
Spartans: Carswell, Herd (Jones 45), Allan, Waugh, Bolochoweckyj, Brown, Dishington, Smith, Henderson, Newman (Woods 61), Maxwell