By John Turnbull at Forthbank
After 120 minutes, 25 attempts at goal, and two red cards, the University of Stirling eventually grabbed the winning goal to see the students into the third round of the South Challenge Cup.
The score line barely reflected the drama which unfolded at Forthbank as substitute Euan McGill finally grabbed the winner after his side rued chance after chance on Saturday afternoon.
Both sides were left frustrated throughout for different reasons, but it got the better of the Shire as Derek Ure and Tony Coutts were sent off before the final whistle.
Stirling head coach Chris Geddes said: “It’s a weird feeling because we won, but it should’ve been a lot easier.
“We had 25 attempts at goal and kept the Shire to limited chances. They defended well at times, but we have things to work on.
“There was good quality up until that last shot or cross, so it was positive, and there was a lot of good stuff in that game.”
Geddes had plenty to be pleased about with Stirling’s attacking play, but unlike Wednesday’s 6-1 win over Loughborough University, the goalscoring touch was missing.
Ben Maciver-Redwood and Jason Jarvis had chances to put the Uni ahead inside ten minutes but couldn’t open the scoring.
East Stirlingshire showed little threat in attack despite Scott Honeyman’s lively start down the right side.
Marcus Lavery was aware of the danger, and the defender drove the Uni up the pitch in a standout performance from the back.
The Shire goalkeeper, Ross Connelly had a busy afternoon, but he wasn’t involved late on as Cammy McKinley and Ben Heal both missed the target in spurning golden opportunities from close range.
It seemed it might be one of those days for Stirling before Euan McGill finally took one of his side’s 25 attempts at goal.
He said: “To score in any game is a good feeling, but to come in and win the tie’s really good. We were really on top for most of the game, but it was just about persisting until that one came.”
James Stokes found Ben Heal advancing into the box, and the midfielder cut it back to one of Stirling’s six substitutes, who was well-placed to slide home the winning goal.
The afternoon went from bad to worse for the Shire as they heard the final whistle with just nine players on the pitch.
Manager Derek Ure was shown a straight red for a high challenge on McGill, just five minutes after subbing himself on, while Tony Coutts was sent off for abuse towards a Stirling player.
The University of Stirling will host either East Kilbride Thistle or Darvel at Forthbank in the third round of the cup on November 19.
University of Stirling: Godik, Burrows (Thompson 45), Service, Lavery, Berry (Bainbridge 105), Heal, Jarvis (Russell 105), McAninch (McGill 84), McKinley, Maciver-Redwood (Mirzasalimov 105), Stokes (Munro 112)
East Stirlingshire: Connelly, Ewing, Brown (Ure 115), Kay, Greene, Moyes (Hodge 98), Honeyman (Wilson 62), Barr, McAlpine (Shirra 70), Coutts, Connolly