An overcast sky and light wind joined Stirling Men’s 2’s as they hosted the season opener against Strathclyde 1’s.
The first half of the game was slow, with new manager Alan Morgan instilling a “play from the back” philosophy. The first attempt on goal came from new team captain Malcolm Burgess, who struck a half-volley from just inside the Strathclyde half which fell slightly over the bar.
The first real chance, however, was when Stirling was awarded a penalty after right midfielder, David Beaton, was brought down in the box. Despite the keeper going the right way, Burgess managed to dispatch the penalty into the top right corner.
Strathclyde’s only first half opportunity came from a free-kick, which curled dangerously close to goal but was cleared by a centre back. At half-time, Stirling held a slender one goal lead but seemed to be in full control of the match.
Strathclyde started pressing higher in the second half, and the chances on goal quickly shot up. They dominated the opening 15 minutes and had the Stirling defence pinned to their box.
It wasn’t enough though as they failed to truly test the Stirling keeper and only looked threatening from set pieces.
After weathering the storm, Stirling adapted well to the high press and regained majority posession. Now it was their turn.
It took every effort from the Strathclyde keeper to deny a shot from Burgess, who latched on to a high through ball that split the defence. Left back Arron Gunn then struck the post after a corner scramble.
Tensions heightened as Strathclyde netted the ball following a set piece from deep, but it was chalked off in an offside call. Then came the dagger blow.
After some nifty footwork, Gunn played a high ball down the left flank to winger Mike Maclean, who unleashed a thunderbolt on the half volley that flashed past the keeper, clipped the underside of the bar, and erupted into the net and in. Absolute screamer.
The match quitened down after this 75th minute goal, as Stirling parked the bus to stop Strathclyde retaliating.
Man of the match goes to Dale Corrin. In centre back, he commanded the back line and never lost a header all game.
The team faces a long journey to Robert Gordon University next week, where they will hope to maintain their perfect start.