By John Turnbull at New Dundas Park
University of Stirling were beaten 3-1 by Bonnyrigg Rose on a scorching day in Midlothian.
The students gave as good as they got against the Lowland League leaders in a competitive affair – but the hosts found themselves two goals ahead just after the hour mark, courtesy of a Kieran McGachie brace.
The University dominated the second period and Jamie Penker grabbed a deserved goal before ex-Stirling student Kieran Hall scored against the run of play to seal the win.
Head coach Chris Geddes said: “It was a good day. I know we lost but not many teams will come to Bonnyrigg and give as good as we got – their keeper kept them in it. We deserved a lot more, definitely deserved a draw if not more considering the chances we had.
“They played well but we played well in the first half, the second half was so much better. I think the players knew we were playing well; I think Bonnyrigg knew we were playing well.
“Credit to their goalkeeper, and Scott McArthur is about to make it 2-2 before the defender throws himself on the line, if that goes in at 2-2, we are on top and you never know.
“We will take lots of positives from today, Bonnyrigg showed why they are up at the top of the league, but on another day, I think we could’ve won.”
Another solid test was in store for the University as the students faced league leaders Bonnyrigg Rose in the sweltering heat.
The sides were evenly matched through the first 20 minutes with chances falling at both ends, but it was the hosts that took the lead. McGachie headed in his first from a corner, forcing the students to come from behind again.
Geddes’ side responded well, but it seemed like it might be another luckless afternoon in front of goal.
Penker worked tirelessly for the visitors and his cutback provided the University with a guilt-edged chance, only for Robbie McGale to blast over from close range.
Just as the students looked certain to grab an equaliser, Bonnyrigg netted again. McGachie got his brace with another header to double the lead.
Stirling’s perseverance paid off though, and were rewarded on 73 minutes when Penker controlled the ball from a corner and tucked it past Mikey Andrews in the Bonnyrigg goal.
On another day the students might’ve scored five but Bonnyrigg restored their two-goal cushion with five minutes to play through striker Hall’s effort, which the linesman deemed to have crossed the line.
University of Stirling: Fry, Thompson, Doan, Lavery, Berry, De Zoeten (Woloszyn 87), Davidson (Mirasalimov 67), Kennedy (McArthur 66), McGill, McGale, Penker
Bonnyrigg Rose: Andrews, S. Gray, Young, Horne, Connolly, Hoskins (Martyniuk 90), Stewart, Currie, R. Gray (Turner 64), McGachie, Evans (Hall 64)