The University of Stirling men’s football team triumphed in a top-of-the-table clash with Nottingham Trent in the BUCS League, beating the visitors 3-2.
An own goal and a brace for Ciaran McAninch saw Stirling race into a three-goal lead, but two quick goals for Nottingham saw the game firmly up for grabs at halftime.
The hosts were able to hold on in the second half though for a crucial three points in the hunt for the title.
Head Coach Chris Geddes said: “It was a big game considering the positions in the table but we started strongly.”
“Trent showed their quality to get back into it but we could’ve scored more in the second half. In the end though we saw the game out really well.”
Stirling opened the scoring after 12 minutes in bizarre circumstances. A long ball forward from the defence was aimed for Ben Maciver-Redwood in the box, but instead, it cannoned off a Nottingham defender and flew into the bottom corner.
Whilst there was a hint of good fortune about the opener, the same can’t be said about the second goal five minutes later. McAninch stepped up from 20 yards out and expertly curled a free kick past the helpless goalkeeper.
Two quickly became three for Stirling as Cameron McKinley was fouled inside the box. McAninch was again intrusted and made no mistake, placing the ball into the bottom left corner.
Trent fight back against Stirling to set up exciting second half
Nottingham refused to cave in however and found themselves back in the game after half an hour. Some neat passing opened up the space for a powerful strike into the roof of the net past Jay Maxwell Davila.
McAninch nearly cancelled out the goal three minutes later from another free kick. After being fouled slightly further out this time, he was only denied his hat trick by the crossbar.
The visitors were able to add another goal before the break. A dangerous corner was headed in over Davila to set up a thrilling second half.
Stirling had the opportunity to regain a cushion to their lead on the hour mark. The Nottingham goalkeeper was caught out of his box but was able to recover brilliantly to save Ben Heal’s near-post shot.
McAninch was again denied a hat trick as he ran through one-on-one, his low shot being tipped around the post.
It was only until deep into stoppage time that Nottingham created an opportunity to level. A similar corner which saw them score in the first half was whipped in, but this time the centre-back could only head wide.
Geddes’ side saw out the final minute to earn a crucial three points. They will now hope to replicate this when they travel to Broomhill FC on Sunday in the Lowland League.