By Andrew Robson at Forthbank
Stirling University progressed to the next round of the South Challenge Cup after a penalty shootout win against Darvel.
The Uni came back from two goals down in a highly competitive match, as Darvel ended the 90-minutes with nine men. A Yan Gromov Godik save from Ian McShane secured a 4-2 victory in the shootout and sees Stirling travel to play Newton Stewart in the next round.
After the match the Stirling shot-stopper said: “It feels good to help the team, especially on penalties, the other goalkeeper had an outstanding performance all game but didn’t manage to save one.
“It’s just a 50/50, anything can happen.”
Both teams started the game at pace, as Darvel tried to get their passing game going. Goalkeeper Chris Truesdale looking extremely comfortable with the ball at his feet.
The away side took the lead with 12 minutes on the clock. The ball came to Jamie Glasgow after strong hold-up play as Glasgow coolly slotted his strike past Godik.
The remainder of the half played out with little to separate the sides, but Godik was forced to make an excellent save with his foot on the stroke of halftime to keep the score 1-0.
However, Darvel would have their second less than a minute into the second half. A cross towards the back post was met by Ross Meechan who got up well and powered his header into the top corner.
The second goal seemed to wake the Uni up as they started to apply pressure and started to create better chances.
On minute 60 Stirling striker Ben Maciver-Redwood raced through and was cynically brought by the recovering Daryll Meggatt. Meggatt headed for an early bath after being shown his second yellow card of the afternoon.
10 minutes later the Uni got the goal their pressure deserved. Cammy McKinlay’s left-footed strike from the centre of the box halved the deficit with 20 minutes to play.
The University would continue to push as they looked for a late equaliser, which would eventually come in spectacular fashion. Ben Maciver Redwood’s bicycle kick from the penalty spot went in off the post to make the game 2-2.
The Uni thought they had the winner when Cammy McKinlay forced the ball over the line following a goalmouth scramble, but the referee ruled it out for a foul on the keeper.
The drama would continue as Darvel’s Allan Mackenzie talked his way into the referee’s book for a second time. The visitors down to 9 as the game went to extra time.
Despite struggling with 10, Darvel looked stronger with 9. They defended well and posed a threat to the Uni on the counter, particularly through substitute Craig Truesdale.
Extra time produced chances for both teams but a last-ditch tackle from Matty Burrows with 2 minutes to go proved vital. Spot kicks followed.
Confident penalties from McKinlay, Maciver-Redwood, Berry and Mirzalimov would see the Uni score four from four.
Craig Moore skied Darvel’s third meaning Ian McShane had to score but his weak effort was well-read by Godik – prompting the Stirling players to rush over and celebrate with their goalkeeper.
After coming back from two goals down a delighted Geddes said: “You could tell their tails were up, going down to 9 men and then taking it to penalties.
“They’d be really up for it, but we take pens all the time in training, and we know what Yan [Gromov Godik] can do.
“Considering most of those boys played 90 minutes in England on Wednesday, travelling on a bus for 8 hours, to then go toe to toe with Darvel, who are a top side, I think my boys deserve enormous credit for that shift with the number of games they’ve played.”
The victory against Darvel is game 30 for the University of Stirling in all competitions this season.
The Uni are back in action in the BUCS Premier North on Wednesdays before their Scottish Cup third-round tie against Albion Rovers next Saturday.
University of Stirling: Godik, Lavery, Burrows, Thompson, Berry, Heal (Mirszalimov 83’), Jarvis, McAninch (Woloszyn 67’), Stokes (Munro 106’), Maciver-Redwood, McKinley
Darvel: Truesdale, Eadie, Meggatt, McShane, Mackenzie, Meechan, Robertson, Ferguson, McGowan, Caldwell, Glasgow