By John Turnbull at Central Park
Cammy McKinley inspired a Lowland League Cup comeback on Saturday as the University of Stirling reached the last four with a 4-2 win over Cowdenbeath.
The Blue Brazil went ahead on 31 minutes through David Struthers, but McKinley equalised five minutes later before the game took another turn after the break.
In lashing rain, the floodgates opened, and within 14 minutes, Stirling were three goals clear thanks to James Berry and Euan McGill before Mackenzie Williamson’s own goal, while Scott Sinclair pulled one back for the hosts soon after.
Head coach Chris Geddes said: “There wasn’t much quality in the first half, but Cowdenbeath battled and made it hard for us.
“Second half we were excellent, we showed the quality… and if it wasn’t for their goalkeeper, it would’ve been five, six, or seven.
“We had Adam [Buttigieg] making his debut today, and I thought he was excellent in everything he had to do, so credit my players, and we keep going.
“We changed shape and brought on some subs, and the two up front caused mayhem. The goals were excellent, and it was a really good performance to get into another semi-final.
“I’m delighted for him [McKinley], we wanted two goals for him to get to 20, but he got one and worked so hard.
“If you think Calum [Rae] and Jason [Jarvis] weren’t here today, to come to Cowdenbeath and win 4-2, pretty comfortable in the end, we are really happy.”
Stirling had to find a way to overturn the fortunes of January’s trip to Central Park, and despite the two sides now meeting with vastly different confidence levels, Cowdenbeath scored first again.
There was little to write home about in the opening half an hour, but that soon changed as Struthers showed his desire to reach a well-placed cross and head his side in front.
But for his tireless work up front, McKinley was deserving of a goal and gave Stirling a lift as he slid the ball into the net from close range.
Looking for a sixth goal in the Uni’s last eight games, Berry almost put Stirling in front before the break, but did so on the other side of half-time.
Following persistent play by McGill, the skipper snuck around the Cowdenbeath defense at the back post to head in on 48 minutes.
Suddenly, Stirling had put the Fife side to the sword and had a comfortable lead to show for the quality on display.
From a Cowdenbeath corner, Ben Heal shot off on the counter and eventually set up McGill, who showed composure to finish off a ruthless Stirling attack.
Then, Calum Elliot’s side scored at both ends, first to extend Stirling’s lead as Williamson turned the ball into his own net from a cross before Sinclair cut the deficit when he found the far corner with a low strike.
A competent showing from Daniel Farrell in the Cowdenbeath goal kept the margin of victory respectable, as Maciver-Redwood and McKinley were denied late on.
The damage had been done, though, and Stirling progressed into another semi-final, with a trip to K-Park on the cards next Saturday to face East Kilbride.
Cowdenbeath: Farrell, Young, Newman, Robinson, Lemon, Walker, Struthers, Love, Sinclair, Garrad, Berry
University of Stirling: Buttigieg, Thompson (Stokes 68), Burrows, Service, Lavery, Berry, Russell, Munro (Maciver-Redwood 39), McKinley (Malcolm 87), McGill (McAninch 68), Heal (Robertson 87)