|CB||5||Andy Ward (c)|
|70||CM||7||Ross Ballantyne (vc)|
With heavy rain last week seeing the game called off at the first attempt on Saturday the Forthbank groundsman had done some sterling work, the surface in surprisingly excellent condition for this rearranged William Hill Scottish Cup third round tie.
The Colts travelled to Stirling on a nine match unbeaten run in all competitions, extending as far back as early September, nearly three months. Making more history by facing higher league opposition for the first time though, extending that run and setting up a fourth round tie against cup holders Inverness CT was always going to take an excellent performance by the men in yellow. Unfortunately on the night the Colts never reached the levels they have in previous games during their run.
As the game kicked off with the same starting eleven there was visible apprehension about the visitors and this led to an early penalty for the hosts as Duncan was slow to react to a ball across goal, fouling Doris in his attempt to clear. That was on 3 minutes. Doris picked himself up and took the spot kick, rattling the bar and finally finding the gloves of Doohan via the rebounded header.
As the Colts usual assuredness in possession deserted them under sustained pressure from the Albion further chances came for Doris from a header and McKinlay from distance before Doris gave the home side the lead on 15 minutes. A corner from the Colts left wasn't dealt with at the front post and the striker was afforded plenty of space to pick up the loose ball inside the 6 yard box and slot home after taking a couple of touches.
It was two on 23 minutes as Stirling played their way through the Colts lines, finding Lamont free on the right. His Cross was met by Dickson who rose above Ward to head powerfully past Doohan in goal from six yards.
The Colts were struggling to get out of their own half, unable to play out from the back as usual and getting nothing from long balls forward, Ballantyne having their only shot at goal in the first half, his 25 yard effort skimming wide off the slick surface.
Further chances came for the home side as first Doohan failed to deal with a back pass, seeing his clearance bounce off Doris and head for goal. Fortunately for Colts, Ward was alive to the danger and got in well to clear off the line. Doohan made saves from Doris, McKinlay and Verlaque and watched as efforts from Doris and Smith sailed wide.
2-0 to the hosts at half time which given their dominance was certainly deserved.
Into the second half and any hopes of a fightback were killed as a poorly defended cross into the box bounced around without being cleared before Doris took charge and slotted past Doohan for his second, Albion's third.
The Colts made a couple of changes, Black replacing Munn and Tilley replacing Broadfoot as they altered shape in an effort to stem the flow, but their hosts remained well on top with Doohan in goal making a number of saves as Stirling continued to press.
Cumbernauld did have a few chances through Kirwan, Selkirk and Black to grab a consolation, but didn't manage to force a save from the home keeper, Kirwan coming closest but seeing his effort blocked away at the last by McGeachie before his stopper was called into action.
On 69 minutes the impressive Doris was replaced by ex-Scotland international Craig Beattie returning from injury and it didn't take the striker long to add a fourth as he swept a right foot finish into the bottom right hand corner of the net on 73 minutes.
Lander added a fifth for the home side on 83 minutes as he latched onto a rebound from a Lamont effort before Beattie made it six on 90 minutes with a powerful finish underneath Doohan from close range.
6-0 to Stirling Albion who everyone at Colts thanks for their hospitality and wish the best of luck in the next round, a home tie with holders Inverness, as well as the rest of their league season.
For Colts a disappointing night no doubt, but put into perspective after less than five months as a Senior club their achievement's thus far will not be overshadowed by this single result against an established and well run Senior club with some very experienced players. Getting to the third round at the first time of asking and in such a short timescale has been a huge bonus for the club and a fine reward for all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes as well as the players efforts thus far.
Back to league business on Saturday away to Whitehill Welfare where the squad will look to bounce back. It's six games unbeaten in the Lowland League, for which as high a finish as possible remains the priority.