By Andrew Robson at Forthbank
Stirling University continued their fine form putting The Spartans to the sword at the Forthbank Wednesday evening.
An early James Berry penalty and second-half goals from Ciaran McAninch and Cammy McKinley secured a 3-0 win against an in-form side.
The result means the Uni climb to fourth in the League, just two points behind leaders Rangers B. After the game head coach Chris Geddes said: “It’s just another win, but I thought we were excellent.
“The work rate, desire, they had chances and some half chances, but we had other chances to score.
“It was a tough game, but I think we deserved the win.”
The Spartans came into the game with seven consecutive victories in the Lowland League but quickly found themselves a goal down. Matty Burrows shielded well and won a penalty with four minutes on the clock.
Skipper Berry stepped up, slotting the ball in the bottom right as the goalkeeper went the other way.
Not much separated the sides for the rest of the 45, with the most exciting action happening on the touchline. Feeling aggrieved by some of the decisions, Spartans manager Dougie Samuel was booked by the ref.
The Uni may have edged a tight first half, but a change of shape at half-time nullified The Spartans’ threat as the Uni took control.
Burrows could have made it two with a free header at the back post following a corner from Russel, but the Uni would have their second moment later.
A long throw into the box caused problems for the Spartan backline. After failing to deal with the loose ball Jake Service sent a looping header towards the back post, keeper Blair Carswell tried to catch the ball but dropped it at McAninch’s feet, who poked it in.
Looking for a way back into the game Spartans midfielder Jamie Dishington hit the bar with a cross, as the visitors struggled to find space in and around the Stirling area.
The Uni would add a third when substitute Euan McGill headed the ball through to Cammy McKinley with his first touch of the game. The red-hot striker raced away and beat the keeper at the near post, making it four goals in his last three Lowland League starts.
Full of confidence McKinley nearly grabbed his second late on, skipping past Kevin Waugh with ease and forcing Carswell into a good save.
The Spartans did have half-chances, but Uni keeper Ben Fry was largely untested, making his first save of the game with just minutes left on the clock.
Stirling’s backline aptly dealt with the physicality of The Spartans and were well deserving of their clean sheet. Geddes said: “Physicality wise we more than matched them, they had their joy we had ours.
“We weren’t happy at half time, we thought we played pretty poor, that was the poorest we’d played in a while, it might have been down to tired legs but second half with the change of shape I thought we were excellent, we limited Spartans to very little.
“Considering all the games these boys have played, all the minutes, the energy levels were great.
“We asked for a selfless performance from them tonight in terms of helping your teammates to do the best and try to get a result and the boys did that – they were so good.”
The victory caps off an excellent few days for the students following their dominant display against East Kilbride on Saturday.
Next up in the Lowland League is a trip away to Gala Fairydean Rovers on Saturday. Kick-off is 3 pm.
University of Stirling: Fry, Burrows, Service (Thompson 64’), Lavery, Heal (Mirzasalimov 88’), Russel (Gilmore 64’), Berry, McAninch (McGill 64’), Stokes, McKinley, Maciver-Redwood (Munro 85’)
The Spartans: Carswell, Dishington, Allan, Waugh, Watson, Woods, Armstrong, Whyte, Brown, Jones, Russell