Sport University

Stirling men’s football second team get off to perfect start

Stirling begin the year with a home win over Strathclyde

The first half of this game was a slow burner. With new manager Alan Morgan instilling a ‘play from the back’ philosophy with the team, the tempo of the game was very slow to start with. The first attempt on goal was a speculative effort from new team captain Malcolm Burgess, who struck a half-volley from just inside the Strathclyde half slightly over the bar.

The first real chance of the game fell to Stirling when the referee awarded a penalty after right midfielder David Beaton was brought down just inside the area. Despite the keeper going the right way, Burgess managed to dispatch the penalty into the top right corner.

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Burgess steps up for his penalty. Credit – Harry McArthur

With chances few and far between in the first half, the only chance at goal for Strathclyde came from a free-kick, which was curled into the area but was headed over from close range by a centre back. At half-time, Stirling held a slender one goal lead but seemed to be in full control of the match.

In the second half Strathclyde started pressing higher and the chances started flowing from there. The Glasgow-based side dominated the opening 15 minutes of the second half and had the Stirling defence pinned back to their box. Despite this spell of attack they failed to test the Stirling keeper and only really looked threatening from set pieces.

After weathering the storm, Stirling adapted well to the high press and started retaining possession again. Then came Stirling’s spell of attack. First, it took a great save from the Strathclyde keeper to deny Burgess who latched on to a high through ball that split the defence. Then left back Arron Gunn struck the post after finding the ball at his feet after a scramble in the box following a corner.

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Strathclyde prepare for a set piece. Credit – Harry McArthur

Strathclyde then thought they had levelled the match when they had the ball in the back of the net following a set piece from deep, but it was chalked off as it was deemed to be offside. 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 off the underside of the bar and in; an absolute screamer.

The second goal was scored around the 75th minute and the last 15 never saw much action. Stirling set up to hold out and Strathclyde couldn’t break down the defence.

Alan Morgan can be very pleased with his BUCS debut, a solid performance and a clean sheet to boot. My man of the match goes to Dale Corrin; the centre back commanded the back line and never lost a header all game. The team face a long trip to Robert Gordon University where they will be looking to maintain their perfect start.

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