By John Turnbull at Islecroft Stadium
The University of Stirling’s attacking talent shone on Saturday as the students hit a struggling Dalbeattie Star for six.
First-half goals from James Stokes, Cammy McKinley, Jason Jarvis, and Ben Heal ensured the three points would head back up north to Stirling.
Dalbeattie would ultimately grab a consolation from the spot in the second half before James Berry converted a penalty, and Jarvis completed the rout late on.
Head coach Chris Geddes said: “We had 26 shots at goal, made the keeper make saves, and the quality shone through, especially in the first half.
“It was one kind of lapse in concentration from us (to concede), but it was a really professional performance considering the week we’ve had… at times, it was really good to watch.
“The team performance is what we are all about this year, you want individuals to do well, but we don’t have any selfish players in our team. Even the couple of boys that never got on, they’re happy for the team.
“For us to win anything this year, cups or games, it’ll take the squad, and I think that showed today where we were able to take the captain (Berry) and Matty (Burrows) off.
“It’s always important when you score the first goal. Look, Dalbeattie are struggling, they tried, but for us to get the first goal was crucial.
“Second half we wanted to get more… but who am I to grumble about six goals in a Lowland League match.”
After last Saturday’s heroics at Tannadice, followed by a come-from-behind win on Wednesday to conclude the BUCS Premier North League season, a trip over 100 miles south was next for the Uni.
The hosts – without a league win since October – set out to frustrate the students, but despite doing so in the first 20 minutes, it seemed only a matter of time before Stirling would open the scoring.
Having clipped the crossbar just minutes before, Stokes made no mistake this time after McKinley showed excellent skill down the right to glide into the box and set up a straightforward finish.
On the half-hour mark, McKinley turned goal scorer and Stokes creator, as a clipped cross into the box was headed back across goal by the striker.
If anything could sum up Stirling’s team performance, it would be the third goal, as Jarvis killed the game three minutes later.
Berry found the midfielder on the edge, who used Ben Maciver-Redwood to hold it up and return possession before Jarvis shifted the ball onto his left and picked out the far corner.
It was proving a day for goal-scoring midfielders. Heal wrapped up the first-half rout as he drove into the box and lifted the ball over McCready in the Dalbeattie goal.
He may then have felt hard done by to concede a penalty with an hour on the clock, and Steven Degnan tucked it away.
But as the game petered out to its inevitable conclusion, Berry was given the chance to become the fourth midfielder on the scoresheet. Calum Rae did well to win the spot-kick, and the Uni skipper converted a fifth.
Jarvis confirmed it was a worthwhile trip, as he linked neatly with Rae in stoppage time as Stirling returned to domestic League duties with a bang.
Dalbeattie Star: McCready, Hay, Uphill, Gaffney, Deanna, Gallacher, Milligan, Riley, Gourlay, Cumming, Cox, Kilpatrick
University of Stirling: Fry, Burrows (Munro 77), Service, Lavery (Thompson 45), Heal, Berry (Mirzasalimov 77), Russell, Jarvis, Stokes (McGill 65), McKinley (Rae 65), Maciver-Redwood