By John Turnbull at Newtown Park
Bo’ness United scored an 85th-minute free-kick to deny University of Stirling three points on Wednesday night – which would have sent the students top of the Lowland League.
Ciaran McAninch volleyed the Uni into the lead after 25 minutes – but just five minutes later Bo’ness was level through Jamie McCormack.
Stirling struck against the run of play in the second half to retake the lead as Calum Rae fired in his third goal of the season before United substitute Alassan Jones rescued a point with five minutes to play.
“There were missed chances from both teams, I’m happy to take a point although disappointed in the manner we lost the goal but I think they deserved a point, at least,” said University Head Coach Chris Geddes. “I said to the boys, we need to get that first goal because they’ve won three games and nobody has scored against them so they’ll be feeling a million dollars. When you’re playing a team like that you need to hit them first and thankfully, we did and then did the same in the second half.
“Our strikers in previous years have been great but we’ve just not had enough of them, whereas this year we have a group of three. Cal Rae can still play under-20 this season and he has three goals in three games. It’s great to have different options and we’re causing teams different problems now.
“We defended our box so well tonight against some really good players and that was most pleasing. With the quality Bo’ness have in the middle, they are going to get opportunities but we defended them well and that’s good going forward.”
The University travelled to Newtown Park with the hope of remaining both unbeaten in this season’s Lowland League and against their matchday four opponents Bo’ness United.
Bo’ness also entered the fixture unbeaten in their league campaign, having scored 10 without reply.
There was little to split the two sides in the opening exchanges but the Uni made the first move when McAninch reacted quickest and smashed his volley into the corner from the edge of the box.
The goal seemed to bring Bo’ness to life and on the half-hour mark, the hosts were level. Dan Watt found McCormack advancing into the penalty box and the defender fired low past Fry.
Chances came and went for both sides but Bo’ness were firmly on top. Ryan Stevenson was unlucky to see his bicycle kick rebound off the crossbar during a period where United controlled the game.
After the game, Uni captain James Berry said: “We’ve not faced that yet this season, it’s a completely different game and maybe one that doesn’t suit all of our players so you have to adjust and I thought the boys did that, especially the boys along the back who were different class.”
And a solid defensive foundation kept Stirling in the game before Rae struck against the run of play to put his side back ahead. The forward faked onto his left and his strike deflected into the net.
Ten minutes later, Bo’ness had their goal but it required a bit of magic from substitute Jones. The midfielder’s free-kick looped over Fry in the Stirling goal to ensure both teams left with a point.
University of Stirling: Fry, Burrows, Service, Lavery, McAninch (McGill 67’), Berry, Stokes, Heal, Jarvis (Monroe 67’), Rae (Thompson 85’), MacIver-Redwood (McKinley 67’)
Bo’ness United: Dibaga, McCormack, Jacobs, Locke (Hawkins 48’), Todd, Gemmell (Jones 58’), Walker, Hughes (Grant 66’), Watt, Hamilton (Ward 66’), Stevenson