By John Turnbull at Broadwood
Stirling University continued to climb the Lowland League table after claiming a 3-1 win over Cumbernauld Colts on Saturday.
Early goals from James Stokes and James Berry set the Uni on the way to a fourth consecutive Lowland League win before Peter-John McGiff got the Colts back in the game.
But, with 15 minutes left, substitute Euan McGill grabbed a much-needed nerve-settler to seal another three points.
Head coach Chris Geddes said: “First half again we should’ve been three or four nil up, the game should’ve been dead.
“The longer the game stayed at 2-1, the Colts have something to play for, but the third goal killed them a bit.
“Some of our football was excellent, the players are showing good fitness and energy levels, and the backline was excellent.
“You’re dealing with young men who just get on with it, so hopefully, it continues.”
The Uni travelled to Broadwood amid a run of four games in seven days, having kicked it off with a win over Cowdenbeath on Wednesday night.
And it was clear from the start that Stirling was the side full of confidence.
It took James Stokes just three minutes to grab a fifth league goal of the season and get the Uni off to a dream start in Cumbernauld as he expertly volleyed into the far corner.
Geddes described Cumbernauld striker McGiff as ‘a handful’, and he really should’ve levelled the game six minutes later as he headed wide from close range.
Despite having the lead, that seemed to be an early wake-up call for the students, and until halftime there was only one team in the game as Berry doubled the visitors’ lead with a penalty.
Midfield partner Ben Heal was fouled in the box as he fired over, but the captain stepped up and dispatched the spot kick.
It was a familiar story until the break as Stirling rued chances to kill the game, and McGiff got the Colts back into it five minutes after the restart.
As the game opened up, Michael McFarlane flew down the right wing and cut the ball back to the Cumbernauld striker, who had a straight-forward finish to halve the deficit.
For as much as the Uni had control, it seemed like a third goal was needed, and it was a deserved one as McGill made the final impact off the bench.
Matty Burrows did well to head the ball back across goal from a deep free-kick, and Ben Maciver-Redwood flicked it on for the 22-year-old to tap home at the back post.
Cumbernauld looked for a response but found a resolute Stirling defence too strong, and the students took home all three points to climb up to fourth in the table.
University of Stirling: Fry, Burrows, Lavery, Service, Berry, Russell (Thompson 91’), Heal, McAninch (McGill 65’), Stokes (Mirzasalimov 91’), Maciver-Redwood, McKinley (Rae 65’)
Cumbernauld Colts: Adamson, McIntyre (Tennant 45’), Dickinson, Home, Holmes (McLaren 72’), MacPherson, Holmes (McFarlane 60’), McFarlane, Ballam (Johnston 87’), McKnight, McGiff