The University of Stirling men’s first team bowed out of the SPFL Trust Trophy in the third round following a 3-2 defeat to championship side Airdrieonians.
Airdrieonians winger Liam McStravick’s second half finish proved to be the decider, despite a valiant effort from the Uni, with Ciaran McAninch scoring both goals for the home side.
Head coach Chris Geddes said: “We gave as good as we got, especially in the second half where we had a lot of chances. We’re disappointed to lose but there’s a lot of positives to take from the game.”
“It’s been an excellent run. I’m really proud of the team, to get two goals against a championship team is a great achievement for us”.
The Uni capitalised on a strong start to the game in the 21st minute, as defender Alex Jeanes found himself in the box after a good switch of play, hitting a low cross to McAninch who had an easy tap in from a few yards out for 1-0.
However, the away side would go level in the 35th minute after a through ball broke the Uni defence and O’Connor slotted past Gromov Godik into the bottom left corner.
Only a few minutes later, Airdrieonians would take the lead after a free-kick from player-coach Rhys McCabe rifled into the top right corner from 35 yards out.
The home side started the second half as well as the first, with high energy and good workrate off the ball, making it difficult for Airdrieonians.
Half-time substitute Maciver-Redwood made a great run down the right hand side to the byline, his pass finding McKinley who was chopped down in the box for a penalty.
The spot kick was coolly dispatched by McAninch with his left foot into the bottom right corner, scoring his second of the match.
Airdrieonians, however, would regain the lead only minutes after. Youngster McStravick found himself in space after good work on the left hand side, his cross-turned-shot hitting the far post and in for 3-2.
The Uni would respond well again, and weren’t without their chances in the second half.
In the 75th minute, second half substitute James Stokes dribbled past three Airdrieonians players and got himself into the box, his curled left footed effort deflected behind for a Uni corner.
84 minutes in, after a great switch of play from Jeanes, the Airdrieonians keeper spilled the second ball, and a cross was whipped into substitute striker Vonk who was unable to pull off the acrobatic volley.
The defeat brings to an end an impressive cup run for the University, beating both Livingston B and league two opposition Clyde.
See the full gallery for the match on the George Vekic website.
University of Stirling: Gromov Godik, Lavery, Southern(Wolosyzn), Aslanoglu, Jeanes, Scally, Russell (Vonk 77), Heal (Stokes 67), McAninch(Manomey 87), McKinley, Malcolm(Maciver-Redwood 45).
Featured image credit: George Vekic photography.