By Graham Fleming
The University of Stirling triumphed over Bo’ness United with a 4-2 victory in the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup to send them to the semi-finals of the competition.
The win looked unlikely at the beginning of the match when Bo’ness took an early lead, but an
impressive hat-trick from Jamie Penker inspired the students to fight back and claim the tie.
University head coach Chris Geddes said that he was delighted for his striker: “We made five changes to the starting line-up so credit to the boys coming in today to play against a side like Bo’ness who are flying currently and scoring lots of goals.
“In the first half, Bo’ness made it really difficult for us, we had to defend really well, and if they
had gone 2-0 up then it would have been really difficult for us to be honest.
“The second half was brilliant though, our finishing was outstanding and we could have had
more to be honest – we bossed it, I thought.
“I’m really proud of my players, to get to a semi-final is really impressive.”
The opening flurry of chances fell to the hosts at Newtown Park as they wanted to take advantage of the students’ slow start.
Ryan Stevenson should have had two in the first five minutes for Bo’ness, as Kieran Mitchell
squared the ball in front of goal for him, and also presented him a free header at the back post,
but he converted neither of them.
Stevenson was spared his blushes, however, when Bo’ness converted the opener in the
ninth minute, Kieran Mitchell nodded an effort beyond Yan Gromov Godik in the Stirling net
following a corner kick.
The opening goal might have been what was required to wake the students from their lethargic
start as they then went on the front foot.
Jason Jarvis was at the centre of Stirling’s creativity – he first clipped in an excellent ball to
Harry McArthur in the box but he drilled his effort at the keeper. He then carved open the breakthrough, thundering in a cross for the waiting Penker to direct in the equaliser.
Bo’ness were not willing to surrender their grip on the game, as they took advantage of the visitors’ overzealousness – springing a devastating counter-attack just before half time, which saw Kieran Mitchell find the net once again with a quick move.
Despite this, any signs of lethargy from the students was eliminated after the teams returned from half-time. They were a different team – and this showed as they quickly found the net.
Cameron McKinlay, bundled in at the back post after a scramble to give the visitors the lead.
There would soon be another as Jamie Penker also got on the score sheet again as he adeptly
controlled a looping forward pass, raced towards the goal and slotted home with his left foot.
Penker would then complete his hat-trick shortly after as he leaped the highest from a corner
kick, nodded home and wheeled away in excitement with his team mates.
The striker’s final effort took the remaining wind out of Bo’ness United’s sails, as the visitor’s
saw out of the remaining moments at 4-2 to progress into the semi-finals.
University of Stirling: 1 Yan Gromov Godik, 2 Robbie McGale, 3 Matty Burrows, 4 Marcus Lavery, 5 Euan McGill (Bainbridge,) 6 Lucas De Zoeten (Taylor,) 7 James Stokes, 8 Jason Jarvis, 9 Jamie Penker (Torregiani,) 10 Scott McArthur (Berry,) 11 Cameron McKinlay (Doan).