By John Turnbull at Foresters Park
Stirling University’s Chris Geddes was left bitterly disappointed after his side was stung at the death by Tranent Juniors.
The Uni barely capitalised on an exceptional first-half performance as Calum Rae scored one of the students’ many chances to lead at half-time.
The game could have been all over but for further rued chances in the second half before Martin Maughan’s long-range effort levelled the game.
Stirling eventually paid the price for allowing the Juniors to stay in the game when Adam McGowan snatched all three points in the 93rd minute.
Head coach Geddes said: “It’s never nice to lose a last-minute goal but especially a game you dominated and should’ve won. That first half was probably the best 45 minutes of football since I’ve been in charge – we completely outplayed them and should’ve been more up. Tranent made four substitutes at half-time and that’s credit to my team.
“I made the decisions today as always, and that’s on me as a coach, and ultimately, they led to the loss. It’s disappointing, the players are gutted but we just go again into a cup game on Wednesday and we have full focus on that.
“We know we can play against these teams; we have a different type of team this season and we have a strong squad. It’s just the same as always, we have to take the chances when they come. At the start of the second half, we could’ve been two or three goals up. We defended excellently but fair play to Tranent they ground it out and I guess that’s why these teams do so well.”
Tranent posed a new challenge to the University on Saturday afternoon as the two sides met for the first time at Foresters Park.
But the students looked to have done their homework as a fast start signalled what was to come for the first 45 minutes.
James Stokes was the first to take aim and was unlucky not to have found the back of the net twice inside the opening seven minutes. The winger had a volley saved well by Kelby Mason before clearing the bar with another from close range.
Then after Marcus Lavery had his ambitious effort tipped onto the bar, in-form Rae was in the right place at the right time to eventually give the Uni a well-deserved lead.
A floated ball to the back post from the defender was headed across goal by Ben MacIver-Redwood and nodded in by Rae to extend his prolific start to the season.
The start of the second period was no different as Stirling maintained control of the game but out of nowhere, the hosts found a route back into the game.
One of four half-time substitutes, Maughan cut onto his left and scooped the ball out from beneath his feet to hit the top corner from distance.
Geddes made changes of his own as the students searched for a winner but the final action of the game was at the other end of the park.
On loan Hamilton Accies forward McGowan raced onto a threaded pass through the Uni defence and fired low in off the far post to steal three points and seal a 2-1 win.
University of Stirling: Fry, Heal, Lavery, Service, Burrows, Berry, Russell (Jarvis 68’), McGill (McAninch 68’), Stokes (Mirzasalimov 77’), MacIver-Redwood (McKinley 68’), Rae (Bainbridge 83’)
Tranent Juniors: Mason, Donaldson, Greig, Renton, Somerville, Bauld, O’Connor, Simpson, Miller, Murphy, Docherty