GK1Jordan Bell (Trialist)    
 RB2Michael Oliver   
 LB3Richard Kirwan   
 CB4Alan Benton   
 CB5Andy Ward (c)   
 CM6Ross Ballantyne (vc)   
Off62RM7Robbie Duncan   
Off65CM8Jamie Barclay Yellow Card 
 CF9Andy SelkirkScorer  
Off78CM10Jamie Broadfoot   
 LM11Stephen O'NeillScorer  
On65 12Robbie Burns   
  13Derek Moore (Trialist)    
On78 14Jonathan Black   
  15Dom O’Halloran   
On62 16Ian McIntyre   
  17Sean Brown   

Want More?

Pictures on Flickr

12/08/2015  |  League

University of Stirling   1  v  2  Cumbernauld Colts

The opening two fixtures of their debut season had given Colts fans plenty of encouragement, despite losing out to a late goal against Whitehill before the heartbreak of losing a stoppage time winner to Champions Edinburgh City. Performing well in both games the squad, put together less than a month before these opening fixtures, will certainly feel they deserved to take something from both games, but despite a lack of points their performances must have given them great confidence ahead of the trip to Forthbank to take on the University of Stirling.

On a warm, sunny evening in Stirling there was one change in the Colts lineup, Selkirk moving to centre forward in place of Espener (whose wife had gone into labour - congratulations Gary on the birth of your daughter!) with Broadfoot coming into the starting lineup.

From the off Cumbernauld, playing in their change black strip, were positive, working it well down the right side through Ballantyne, Duncan, Oliver and into Selkirk to release Barclay in behind, the midfielder winning a corner in the first minute. As the visitors kept the pressure on, pinning their hosts back in the opening stages, Stirling struggled to get out through long balls towards striker Geddes mopped up comfortably by the Colts defence.

In the fourth minute the away side got the reward they deserved for their fine start, taking the lead through the impressive Selkirk. Ballantyne and Broadfoot linked with Barclay in midfield who found Oliver on the right. Oliver, working the 2v1 fed Duncan on his outside who crossed towards Selkirk. The forward showed great strength to hold off the defender with his back to goal, pulling the ball down on his chest and firing into the bottom corner after one bounce on the turn.

Player PhotoPlayer Photo
(click to enlarge)(click to enlarge)

A nice move and an excellent finish by the frontman who was to go on to cause problems all night for the Stirling defence.

Indeed Selkirk linked with Oliver and Ballantyne again moments after the restart, taking the ball into feet and finding Broadfoot who played in Barclay. The midfielder drove infield forcing a save from the home keeper with his left from 18 yards.

The Colts nearly extended their lead from a set play, Selkirk and Duncan linking on the right to win a foul. O'Neill came across to take and picked out skipper Ward 12 yards out, the defender seeing his header spin narrowly over the top.

As the game ticked towards15 minutes the young hosts, full of running, started to enjoy a period of pressure in the game and only a wonderful save from Bell in the Colts goal kept the Colts ahead. The keeper, diving full stretch to his left, turned a Sludden drive from 18 yards onto the post before reacting quickly to get up for the rebound as Geddes looked to sneak in.

Ward made an equally important intervention moments later as Stirling broke down the right, getting behind the Colts defence and pulling the ball back along 6 yards, the defenders toe taking the ball away from the onrushing Ashe looking to shoot at goal.

Despite conceding a lot of possession to their hosts during the period the Colts rear-guard were resolute, defending well individually and as a unit and limiting Bell in goal to only making 2 saves of any real note, albeit one of them an excellent one.

Having weathered the storm the Colts made a few more chances of their own, Ballantyne collecting the ball in midfield before driving forward and shooting narrowly wide from 25 yards before O'Neill had a chance to pull the trigger just inside the box but couldn’t quite get the ball to sit before the covering defender smothered his advances.

It was only a matter of time for the wide man though and he made it 2-0 with his third of the season on 28 minutes. Ballantyne took the ball from Ward and played to Selkirk who protected and dropped to Barclay. Barclay played in Duncan behind the Stirling fullback on the Colts right, Duncan racing onto the pass to pull back to Broadfoot supporting on 12 yards. As the ball sat up nicely for the attacker everyone expected a shot at goal, including the Stirling right fullback who came in from the far side to attempt a block. Broadfoot though fooled everyone, squaring across goal to O'Neill who, completely free centrally on 8 yards, turned into the net with his right.

Further chances came for O'Neill and Selkirk, both asking the keeper to make saves before what could have been a moment of controversy on 35 minutes. More good football through midfield found Selkirk in the area with his back to goal. The forward took a fine touch and rolled his marker, looking to turn and get a shot on goal. As he moved away from the defender he was tripped, stumbling but trying to keep his feet to get the strike. A clear foul and penalty, the official putting the whistle to his mouth but appearing to play advantage, Selkirk seeing his eventual shot blocked out for the corner.

Player PhotoPlayer Photo
(click to enlarge)(click to enlarge)

That could have made it 3-0, but not to be, the Colts not having much in the way of fortune with penalty calls thus far, but it was a rare point of contention in a game where the officials mostly had a good night.

Approaching half time Stirling really started to push for a foothold in the game, throwing everything forward and asking questions of the Colts defence who stood firm, Ward in particular making a number of key blocks/interventions as the defensive unit commanded their area, taking their two goal lead in at the break.

Into the second half and a change for the home side, Munn replaced in midfield in an attempt to gain an attacking advantage that in truth never really came, Cumbernauld standing firm to a series of long diagonals and high crosses with Bell in goal collecting whatever Benton, Ward, Oliver and Kirwin in front of him didn’t.

The Colts were still playing some decent football of their own when they got the ball down through midfield but squandered a few decent openings where a different pass selection may have created a chance, but neither side in truth looked like finding the net in the opening stages of the half.

More work for the match officials on 58 minutes as Bell in the Colts goal came to comfortably gather a long diagonal from the right, finding himself the victim of a particularly late and needless challenge from a home player well after he had gathered the ball. With the keeper on the turf his teammates were incensed and a melee ensued involving multiple players that led to the offender and 2 of his Stirling teammates finding themselves in the book, one fortunate to only see yellow, along with Barclay who himself could count himself fortunate not to have been shown a different colour.

As the game settled down Cumbernauld felt they had added a third as poor communication between home goalkeeper and defender led to the centre back heading past his stopper from 18 yards and towards an empty net. With Duncan chasing in the fullback got round to clear, the Colts wide man celebrating a goal and adamant the ball had crossed the line.

Player PhotoPlayer Photo
(click to enlarge)(click to enlarge)

On 65 minutes Barclay, having committed another couple of fouls since picking up a yellow was starting to tire given his excellent workload and was replaced by Burns, McIntyre having already come on for Duncan on the right. And Burns was straight into the action taking a good touch to win a foul centrally before firing an effort over the top from distance.

The visitors had another chance to extend their lead on 77 minutes, Ballantyne switching the play to O'Neill isolated against his fullback, the tricky wide man turning his marker both ways before driving into the box on his left and drilling towards goal, the home keeper making a save to equal Bell from the first half clawing what looked a clear goal high into the air. Selkirk retrieved the ball but on the turn couldn’t recreate his first half strike, hooking wide with his left.

Broadfoot, suffering from cramp, was replaced by Burns on 78 and the home side grabbed themselves a lifeline on 84 as a Cumbernauld tackle fell fortunately for Geddes on the edge of the area, the attacker getting there before his marker to finish well into the bottom corner.

The visitors, having lost out to late goals in their opening two fixtures, weren’t phased and could have extended their lead on 88, McIntyre breaking forward with Selkirk and playing into O'Neill through on goal, the pass over hit though and in hindsight keeping the ball via Oliver on the right the better option.

As Stirling threw everything forward in search of the equaliser the Colts stood firm, limiting their hosts to nothing that could be described as a clear chance, the official blowing for full time having played 50 minutes as a result of stoppages. A well-deserved 3 points on the board, hopefully the first of many to come!

Next up is a trip to BSC Glasgow on Saturday 15/08, kick off 15:00.

Player PhotoPlayer Photo
(click to enlarge)(click to enlarge)