By John Turnbull
It was another disappointing night for the University of Stirling on Wednesday as the students opened their Lowland League Cup group with a 1-0 defeat against East Stirlingshire.
A long run of good performances but poor results continued as Kieran Offord scored the only goal of the game on the half-hour mark.
Jamie Penker and Louis Kennedy found the crossbar in the second half before Calum Rae’s late equaliser was ruled out for offside, and ultimately the Shire held on.
Assistant coach Mark Adams said: “It’s disappointing because we’ve lost again. I’m fed up of going into that dressing room and saying we’ve played really well; I can’t believe we’ve lost that game.
“We had them totally under the cosh there, so it’s a terrible start, particularly in a game where we’ve hit the crossbar twice and had one disallowed. But ultimately all that happens is people look at the result and we lost 1-0.
“Six games on the bounce we can honestly say we’ve put good performances in and lost the game. I can’t keep saying that, it’s not good enough.
“We’re constantly putting pressure on the defenders because we’re not taking our chances upfront. If we can get a goal or a couple ahead, we can keep the ball and keep the pressure off, and that’s what we need to do on Sunday.”
If Stirling are to progress then a positive result is crucial on Sunday as the students welcome Cumbernauld Colts to Forthbank for their second group stage match.
The performances of late will offer encouragement and could be enough to secure a vital three points, but Stirling desperately need to start taking their chances.
Whilst the Shire were far from their best on Wednesday night, Kieran Offord grabbed the all-important goal after a slow start to the game.
A hopeful long ball was deflected on its route to Offord and found the striker with time in front of goal, but the number nine made no mistake as he dinked the ball over Fry in the Stirling goal.
The Shire came close to doubling their lead at the start of the second half as Offord had two great chances, but Stirling began to control proceedings.
Penker was the first to see his effort rebound back into play as the striker was forced onto his left foot and struck cleanly off the underside of the crossbar on 73 minutes.
And with five minutes to play it looked as if substitute Kennedy had got the Uni back in the game as he fired from range, only for the ball to loop the goalkeeper and again crash off the crossbar.
Two minutes into injury time Calum Rae poked the ball beyond Connelly and into the net, but the linesman raised his flag and left Stirling with nothing to show for another dominant performance.
University of Stirling: Fry, Thompson, Burrows, Taylor (Davidson 81’), Bainbridge, Doan, Berry, McArthur (Service 83’), Torreggiani (Kennedy 66’), Rae, Penker (Murzasalimov 81’)
East Stirlingshire: Connelly, Crooks, Sneddon, Fulton, Greene, Rodden, Henderson, Kay, Offord, Barr, Watson