By John Turnbull at Forthbank
Stirling University stunned Open Goal Broomhill on Sunday with a dominant 4-0 win.
Perhaps given the Uni’s start to the season, it should’ve been little surprise that goals would feature on a scorching day at Forthbank.
Calum Rae took four minutes to continue his goalscoring run and then put Stirling into a two-goal lead just before half-time.
Strike partner Ben MacIver-Redwood got in on the act shortly after the break to extend the host’s lead before James Stokes added a fourth with five minutes to play.
Head coach Chris Geddes said: “Three points are great, but it was four goals, a clean sheet, good goals, and a dominant performance. They had a lot of the ball but that was because we wanted them to. Our game plan worked really well and anyone watching knows it could’ve been five, six, or seven nil with the chances we missed.
“There was a good crowd, and the boys handled it well. It was a hot day, and I think our fitness shone through, but we had the quality to go with it. When we counter-attacked, they couldn’t handle it and, again, we’re making managers make changes at half-time.
“Cal Rae got 90 minutes and another two goals. His first one was an excellent finish, and big Ben led the line excellently against Kirk Broadfoot. Our subs did a lot better this week, they came on and made the impact we wanted, and we looked really solid at the back – so that was good to see.”
From start to finish, Geddes’ game plan was executed perfectly as the Uni set out to soak up Broomhill pressure in the sun.
Si Ferry’s side was left hopeless defending in transition as Stirling hit relentlessly on the break and to avail for the first time after just four minutes.
Ben Heal was at his best, winning the ball on the right of a tight Uni defence before driving his team up the pitch.
Having searched for James Stokes on the right, the ball fell kindly at Rae’s feet, but the 19-year-old still had to dribble towards goal and fire his shot into the far-left corner.
Open Goal was happy to have possession, but no more than the Stirling defence to concede it, and after having almost gone two behind, the visitors faced an uphill task when the referee showed Alan Cook a red card on 37 minutes.
MacIver-Redwood expertly beat the offside trap, and Cook’s mistimed challenge brought the striker down as he raced through on goal.
A few minutes later, Jason Jarvis was desperately unlucky not to score after he saw his effort rebound off the post but on the stroke of half-time, Rae grabbed a second.
Stirling’s high press forced a mistake from Broomhill goalkeeper David Wilson, as his pass found Rae, who touched the ball onto his left before curling into the far corner for a sixth goal of the season.
The crossbar cruelly denied Matthew Burrows from a free-kick on 51 minutes, but captain James Berry fired the ball back across goal and MacIver-Redwood was perfectly placed to score a third.
Stirling’s left-sided striker was heavily involved in the build-up throughout the second half and linked tremendously with Rae and Stokes, but the latter buried Broomhill on 85 minutes.
The Uni again stole the ball deep in opposition territory, and Stokes was played through before calmly slotting into the far corner to get Stirling back to winning ways in the Lowland League.
University of Stirling: Fry, Burrows, Service, Lavery (Bainbridge 57’), McAninch (McGill 66’), Berry (Russell 66’), Heal, Stokes, Jarvis (Thompson 77’), Rae, MacIver-Redwood (Mirzasalimov 77’)
Open Goal Broomhill: Wilson, Grant (Armstrong 70’), Broadfoot, Glass (O’Sullivan 45’), Cook, Fraser, Conroy, McDonald, McCaw (Lyle 45’), Watson (McLaughlin 45’), Semple