Stirling ship Clydebank out of South Challenge Cup

By John Turnbull at Holm Park

The University of Stirling beat Clydebank 2-1 on Saturday to progress into the quarter-finals of the South Challenge Cup.

An early strike from Cameron McKinley forced an own goal from Nicky Low before James Berry doubled the Uni lead in the second half.

The West of Scotland side pulled one back through Adam Hodge, but Stirling managed the dying stages well and comfortably held off the hosts.

Head coach Chris Geddes said: “it was a good cup tie for the fans. I thought we played well, Clydebank played well, and thankfully we came out as the winners.

“In the first half, we played some good stuff but didn’t get the chances. We got a bit fortunate with the first goal, and it was definitely a penalty [the second goal].

“We started the second half great and should’ve gone three nil up. Ciaran [McAninch] had a great chance which came off the bar, and then a minute later, Clydebank scored.

“Let’s be honest, hostile crowd away from home, it was always going to be tough, but I thought we defended it excellently, and Yan didn’t have any real saves to make after the goal.

“It’s the type of game where in the last ten to 15 minutes, there isn’t much I can do, you just have to get on with it.

“It’s not physical it’s just mental – can you work a bit harder to stop someone crossing the ball or close someone down.

“We could’ve killed it off with a few half chances at the end, but it’s a win, and I can’t complain.

Having reached 50 games played for the season on Monday, Stirling travelled to Clydebank with hopes of reaching a third quarter-final.

The Uni got off to the perfect start when McKinley found space to shoot, but Jamie Donnelly’s save deflected off Low and back into the Clydebank goal.

Stirling’s striker could’ve got himself on the scoresheet, but for another save from Donnelly two minutes later.

It was a first half of chances for strikers, as Nicky Little almost headed in from a corner before Ben Maciver-Redwood pulled a shot inches wide of the post.

The second goal came from a goalscoring midfielder, though, as Maciver-Redwood was fouled in the box, and Berry proved his reliability from the spot.

Yan Gromov Godik was kept busy in the Stirling goal and made a fine save to set up a counter-attack which saw Ciaran McAninch smash the crossbar.

A phase of play displaying the end-to-end nature of a highly competitive tie, as on 70 minutes, Clydebank went forward, and Hodge struck cleanly into the corner.

Fuel was added to the fire when Godik kicked the ball out as Finlay Bainbridge went down injured, only for Clydebank to steal possession and attempt to score.

But, the students subdued late pressure from the hosts, and defended well to set up an exciting quarter-final clash with The Spartans.

The win means Stirling go ten games unbeaten since January’s trip to Tannadice, with nine wins in that time. 

Geddes added: “we’re in there talking about how well we are doing – and the boys deserve it, but there’s a lot more games to go, we’ll play 63 games minimum, that was 51 today.

“I’ve only got good things to say about the players recently, we haven’t been beaten since Dundee United on the 21st of January.”

Clydebank: Donnelly, Hodge, McHugh, Niven, C. Little, McMahon (Slattery 66), Gallacher, Low, McKinlay (McLernan 86), N. Little, Kelly (Higgins 66)

University of Stirling: Godik, Burrows, Service (McGill 45), Lavery, Heal, Russell, Berry, McAninch (Thompson 86), Jarvis, Maciver-Redwood, McKinley (Bainbridge 74)

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