Saturday proved to be a day of mixed emotions for Stirling University FC, as a fantastic gala day put on by the University for their Scottish Cup second round tie against Queen’s Park was not matched with a result. Paul Wood’s two goals were enough to put the away side through at Forthbank Stadium, as the hosts failed to better their previous performances in the competition.
Indeed, it was the Spiders who started the match the stronger of the two sides, as number 10 Joe Bradley sprung the offside trap after less than a quarter of an hour, only to put the shot wide.
Despite Stirling threatening with a close range effort of their own from experienced striker Paul Sludden, it was the away side who took the lead over their Lowland League opponents as wide man Paul Wood cut inside and slotted a well-placed shot into the bottom right hand corner to put Queens Park 1-0 up after 25 minutes.
The students replied strongly, with the experience of both Sludden and Chris Geddes causing the SPFL League 2 outfit a number of problems. However, the home side had to call upon their goalkeeper Ryan Marshall to ensure the deficit remained only one, as the keeper saved not one but two efforts from point blank range after a period of sustained Queen’s Park pressure.
The half time entertainment from the Doune Pipe band proved not to be the break Shelley Kerr’s men needed. Once again, it was the away side who came out of the blocks the sharper and with barely ten minutes of the second half gone it was once again Wood who doubled Queen’s Park lead with a well guided header into the back of the net.
Despite a number of efforts for Geddes, and the support of a 394-strong crowd, the students were unable to claw back the two goal deficit, as the League 2 side held out for a 2-0 win.
Stirling will no doubt be proud of their valiant efforts, as they competed well and were by no means outclassed by higher ranked opposition on an otherwise excellent afternoon for the University. The students can now focus on improving their position in the Lowland League, as they look to bounce back against Vale of Leithen this weekend; however, it is Queen’s Park who march on in the Cup, with the prospect of a tie against the likes of Falkirk or Livingston waiting for them in the next round.
Stirling University: Marshall, Burns, Ashe (Duah-Kessie), Cuff, Nixon, Leigh, Gillen, Faulds (Pahlevan), Geddes, McCafferty (Bonar), Sludden. Subs (unused): Fitzpatrick.
Queens Park F.C.: Muir, Ralston, Burns, Berry, McGeever, Gibson, Wood, McKernon, Carter (Batey), Bradley (McElroy), Galt (Marlow). Subs (unused): O’Boyle, McLeish, Wharton, McVey.