The University of Stirling’s men’s first football team has reached the final of the BUCS National Championships, after a hard-fought 3-2 win over Nottingham University.
The home side raced to a 2-0 lead within 20 minutes but two goals in as many minutes from Nottingham levelled the score at the break.
However, Stirling restored their lead early in the second half with a Ben Maciver-Redwood header. Nottingham pushed for an equalizer but a late red card all but ended a competitive semi-final.
Head coach Chris Geddes said: “Obviously I am delighted for the players.
“They had to work really hard today against a good, strong side who had a very good BUCS season, but again we showed our quality in the second half.
“It’s our first BUCS final in a long time so we’re looking forward to it.”
After tense opening exchanges, Stirling took the lead through Cameron McKinley. Following clever hold-up play the ball was slipped through to Ben Heal, who took it to the by-line and cut it back for McKinley. The striker made no mistake from six yards out.
Stirling doubled their lead soon after. Following a long throw the referee adjudged that McAninch was fouled in the box. Berry stepped up and coolly dispatched to make it 2-0.
However, this was not to be a repeat of the quarter-final. Nottingham first scored from a long throw of their own. Miscommunication at the back resulted in Maciver-Redwood’s attempted clearance looping over Fry in goal.
Two minutes later Nottingham equalised. Winning the ball high up the pitch the midfielders’ shot from the edge of the box clipped the post on its way in.
The Uni retook the lead six minutes into the second half. Ciaran McAninch’s inswinging corner was met by Maciver-Redwood at the near post.
Nottingham had a chance to equalise moments later, but their effort came back off the post following a breakaway.
Both sides had chances, but Nottingham’s hopes of an equaliser faded ten minutes from time when they were reduced to ten men.
Stirling will face fellow Premier North side Durham University in the BUCS National Championship Final in two weeks’ time. Geddes’ side previously clinched the Premier North league title against Durham in January.
University of Stirling: Fry, Burrows, Service, Lavery, Heal, Russell, Berry, Jarvis, McAninch (88’ McGill), McKinley, Maciver-Redwood
Featured Image Credit: Jonathan Boomer