By John Turnbull at Falkirk Stadium
University of Stirling battled hard to earn a point against East Stirlingshire on Wednesday night after a hectic day with the squad involved in a BUCS game just hours prior to kick-off.
A 1-0 away win against Durham University got the day off to a perfect start, before George Stanger headered the students ahead only four minutes into the game at the Falkirk Stadium.
Stirling held their own in an end-to-end affair against one of the Lowland League’s top sides, before a costly mistake rewarded Jamie Hamilton with the chance to equalise from the spot, and he obliged.
Head coach Chris Geddes said: “(The squad) was full of under-20 players, and some from the second team with four of them starting. It wasn’t ideal as we had to bring on boys who haven’t played at this level, or a team as good as East Stirlingshire.
“East Stirling were the better team on the night. We rode our luck a bit at the end but their goal did come from a mistake, and we scored a good one ourselves.
“First half we played well and then second half it was tough for us. I thought the boys that came on done well, and it was a good opportunity for them.
“It’s a really difficult place to play because the pitch is so big, and we didn’t keep the ball well enough, we gave it away cheaply so many times. On another night we would’ve been killed off but thankfully we managed to get a point.”
The students had their work cut out as they faced a strong East Stirlingshire side, hours after Geddes and half of the first team had made the trip to Durham in the afternoon.
But the Uni got off to a bright start, and took an early lead through George Stanger. The defender found himself free on the 6-yard box, and powerfully headed into the far corner to open the scoring.
Both sides had chances in the first period, although Stirling looked comfortable, and deserved their lead heading into the break.
It was as the cliché goes though a game of two halves. The hosts grew into the game and began to take control of it. After creating plenty of half-chances, the Shire were awarded a way back in after a moment of panic.
An under hit back pass from Docherty was capitalised on by Kevin Turner who nicked it away from Godik in the Stirling goal before Hamilton slotted the spot-kick away.
The students found themselves under immense pressure after the equaliser, and looked like losing the point right at the end, but some heroic defending meant the university left unbeaten on the day.
University of Stirling: Godik, McGale (Robertson 45’), Stanger, Hutchinson, Downie, De Zoeten, Berry, McArthur (Docherty 69’), Penker, Munro (Morris 82’), Stokes
East Stirlingshire: Connelly, Barr, Rodden, Greene, Fulton, Gibbons, Watson, Churchill, Turner (Henderson 83’), Hamilton, Hodge