|14||Ryan Milne (u20)|
RICHIE KIRWAN rescued a point for Colts with a dramatic injury time equaliser in a game where the Cumbernauld outfit should have taken all three points.
Daniel MacFarlane opened the scoring for Colts in the first period and the visitors could have been three or four goals to the good before Lewis Bonar and Sam Jamieson turned the game on its head late in the second half.
But Kirwan's leveler at the death ensured James Orr and Craig McKinlay's men took something from an entertaining game on Friday evening at the Falkirk Stadium.
The Cumbernauld side started the game brightly and Jonathan Black should have opened the scoring in 15 minutes when he was sent clean through on goal by Jordan Pirie but Black pulled his shot across the face of goal.
Chris Geddes was then clean through for the hosts at the other end in a similar position to Black moments earlier, but Colts keeper Chris Fahey narrowed the angle well and Geddes shot wide.
Colts went close again midway through the first period when Sean Brown got onto the end of a great flowing move but his close range header from Jamie Broadfoot's cross was straight at Stirling Uni keeper Ryan Marshall.
The men from Broadwood then made the breakthrough with a deserved opener just before the half hour.
Broadfoot picked out MacFarlane in the penalty box with a great free kick from the right wing area and the defender bulleted his header low past Marshall from about eight yards to give the visitors a deserved lead.
The Cumbernauld side continued to press and had good chances to extend their advantage when both Brown and Stephen O'Neil went close.
But Colts were dealt a blow shortly before half time when their talisman O'Neil was forced to leave the action early as the result of a terrible challenge from Bonar, with an X-Ray later revealing the winger suffered ligament damage to his right ankle.
O'Neil was replaced by Barclay just before the break and as the game entered the second period Colts were hoping to kick on and make more of their chances in front of goal as light mist began to descend on the Falkirk Stadium.
However Stirling Uni went close to grabbing an equaliser 5 minutes after the restart when Kyle Faulds found space on the edge of the box before curling a low effort towards goal which clipped the outside of Fahey's left hand post.
As the second half progressed the game became stretched and Colts twice should have doubled their advantage when Black and Brown both should have done better when presented with good chances inside the box.
But Colts were made to pay for their numerous missed opportunities with twelve minutes remaining.
Stirling Uni's Paul McAfferty found space on the right and swung a dangerous cross towards the far post which Fahey could only palm away from goal line, but Bonar anticipated the situation by following up to head into the unguarded net with Fahey stranded.
Matters then turned from bad to worse for Colts with only two minutes remaining when the hosts claimed what they thought was to be an undeserved late winner.
Geddes broke free on the right after a swift counter attack and showed great composure to lay the ball into the path of Jamieson who coolly slotted the ball past Fahey from the edge of the box to send the Stirling Uni players wild.
But Colts showed great character in the short time remaining by digging deep to salvage a point from an entertaining game with a dramatic injury time equaliser.
Broadfoot whipped a deep free kick into the Stirling Uni box which MacFarlane headed back across goal and the ball broke kindly to defender Kirwan who slammed a shot low past Marshall from 12 yards to ensure a share of the points.
Colts now look forward to hosting the same opponents at Broadwood next week in the reverse fixture.
University of Stirling; Marshall, Jones, Cuff, Ashe, Nixon, Leigh, Faulds, Bonar, Geddes, McAfferty, Kellock. Subs; McAnespie, Jamieson, McEwan, Moyes, Mailer, Hunter.
Cumbernauld Colts; Fahey, Murray, Fergus, MacFarlane, Kirwan, Pirrie, O'Neill, Ronald, Black, Brown, Broadfoot. Subs; Milne, Brady, Hunter, Sheridan, Barclay.