By John Turnbull at Recreation Park
University of Stirling needed some last-minute heroics to force extra-time before beating Burntisland Shipyard 3-1 in the South Challenge Cup on Saturday.
The students fell behind after 19 minutes and required a penalty save with 10 minutes to play before finally equalising through Matthew Burrows in the 94th minute.
Having dominated the game, the final result was what Stirling deserved, and extra-time goals from James Berry and Euan McGill ensured progression to the next round.
Manager Chris Geddes said: “I expected us to get a win, but how we got it wasn’t what I expected.
“There was some bad finishing from us, some really good saves from their goalkeeper, and some really good defending from their guys, so the combination of the three cost us more goals, but thankfully we managed to get three.
“Ten minutes to go in the 90 if the boy scores the penalty, then it’s 2-0. The number nine played really well for Burntisland so he’ll be disappointed, but it was Yan’s first competitive start for the first team and he played well. That was key, or with ten minutes to go the game was probably over.
“After playing 90 minutes on Wednesday to then play another 120 today shows how fit and quality our boys are.”
A trip to the seaside beckoned for the students following an impressive start to their BUCS campaign, with a 5-0 win over Loughborough on Wednesday.
But it was the East of Scotland side who started the more confident, and took the game to Stirling.
Burntisland were soon rewarded for their hard work when Jack Wilson found Ben Anthony in the box who fired low into the corner to give the hosts the lead.
Stirling responded well though and began to assert their control on the game. Calum Rae had a strike that clipped the crossbar while Conor Doan’s header was well saved before the break.
Chances continued to fall for the university but it looked like it might be one of those days in front of goal.
Still the university battled back but Burntisland were awarded a penalty against the run of play when Callum Downie was deemed to have fouled Shaun Keatings.
Stirling goalkeeper Yan Gromov Godik held his composure and dived low to his right to save the penalty.
The save lifted the students and eventually they would grab a deserved equaliser. With the last action of the game, McGill’s whipped corner was met by a fine diving header from Burrows.
The university’s fitness began to prevail in extra-time and Berry connected perfectly with a left-footed effort which sailed into the far corner to put Geddes’ side in front.
Three minutes into the second period of extra-time the game was put to bed. Substitute Jason Jarvis crossed into McGill who headed over the goalkeeper to secure another hard-fought cup win on the road.
University of Stirling: Godik, Burrows, Hutchinson (McGale 45′ (Stokes 103′)), McGill, Berry, Doan, McArthur (Jarvis 64′), Downie, Penker, Rae (Kennedy 58′), Thompson