Young Shire fan Joel Blackwood is not one to miss a game if it can be helped.
So when Joel was given the option of spending a Saturday afternoon at the Etihad Stadium watching Manchester City take on Everton in the English Premier League the first thing he asked dad, Stuart was, “Are the Shire playing that day ? ”
As soon as Joel found out that Shire were playing on the same day at the same time there was no hesitation – he told his East Stirlingshire Galaxy team mates, who were thrilled to be heading to see Sergio Aguero and the other top stars, that he wasn’t going to be with them.
Instead Joel would be cheering on Shire against Mid Annandale in the SFA South Region Challenge Cup at Lockerbie.
When word of this got back to the players there was no question of Joel’s loyalty to the cause being acknowledged. But what happened next was special.
Striker David Grant had just received his match ball signed by all the players and staff after his hat-trick against Gretna 2008 in a recent Lowland League game. Granty decided he’d reward the 8 year-old Shire fan by giving him his hat-trick ball.
David made the presentation to a surprised and delighted Joel at Saturday’s Scottish Cup game against Annan Athletic at Galabank.
Needless to say this superb act of generosity has been the talk of the club since Saturday on Facebook and Twitter.
The reward for the winners of our William Hill Scottish Cup second round replay is not quite as clear cut as either Shire or Annan Athletic might have imagined.
In the third round draw, made in Greenock on Tuesday evening, the winners of Saturday’s Ochilview game will be on their travels either to Highland League Formartine United or Aberdeen junior side Banks O’Dee. The third round matches are due on Saturday 26th November.
While Shire and Annan Athletic were failing to produce a winner at Galabank last weekend, drawing 0-0, there was no winner either at Spain Park in Aberdeen as Banks O’Dee and Formartine United fought out a 2-2 draw.
All of the four potential teams in the tie will sort out the permutations when they play in Saturday’s replays.
Shire face Annan Athletic at Ochilview and we would love to see as many of the faithful as possible there to help the team, who played so well on Saturday.
If you can make it please come along and get behind the players. Admission is £10 adults and £5 concessions.
When Shire face Annan Athletic on Saturday in the William Hill Scottish Cup second round replay it will be exactly five years to the day since the last time the club was involved in a replayed Scottish tie.
That game was at Buckie Thistle’s Victoria Park on Saturday 29th October 2011 and followed a dramatic drawn game between Shire and the Highland League side played the previous Sunday at Ochilview.
The original game was switched 24 hours due to a fixture clash with Stenhousemuir and paired Shire, who had lost eight in a row going into the cup clash, against a Buckie team who were the reigning Highland League champions.
The first half of the Ochilview game was goalless but the second period burst into life just three minutes in when Andy Stirling gave Shire the lead.
Unfortunately for Shire, the lead only lasted about three minutes when the visitors brought the scores level.
The game then appeared to be heading for a 1-1 draw when, deep into injury-time, Shire’s Ryan Frances was judged to have fouled Buckie’s Zander Sutherland in the box. Referee Barry Cook awarded a penalty and sent the Shire man off. Sutherland stepped up to take the spot kick against Shire keeper Callum Antell. It was certain to be the last kick of the game.
All of which meant a replay at Victoria Park on 29th October. Shire made the perfect start and goals from Andy Stirling and Bradley Coyne had Shire 2-0 up at half-time.
But Buckie’s Craig McMillan pulled one back early in the second half and after an hour Mark Chisholm scored to make it 2-2. Neither side even looked as though they would find the net in the last half hour and the game went to extra-time.
Four minutes into the first extra period Nico Gibson stabbed home Fraser Team’s cross to give Shire a 3-2 lead and they never were in danger after that with Team scoring a fourth late on to give Shire a 4-2 win and a third round trip to East Fife.
Here are the goals from the last Shire cup replay :
Here’s hoping Saturday’s encounter with Annan Athletic is every bit as exciting. Prices for Saturday’s game have been set at £10.00 for adults and £5.00 concessions. We’d really appreciate your support.
Shire will be in the draw for the third round of this season’s William Hill Scottish Cup by virtue of Saturday’s draw against Annan Athletic at Galabank.
The third round draw will be made tomorrow (Tuesday) at Morton FC’s Cappielow Park at 6:00pm, before Saturday’s Ochilview replay, thus making sure that both teams will know who they will meet should they win at the weekend.
It’s Shire’s first Scottish Cup replay since 2011/12 season when we needed two matches and extra-time to overcome Highland League Buckie Thistle.
Our last Scottish Cup home replay date was also against Highland League opponents, Forres Mechanics, in 2010/11 at Ochilview. Shire won that one as well to set up a third round meeting with Spartans.
Annan Athletic also have good experiences of Scottish Cup replays recently; last season they drew their third round-tie with Inverurie Loco Works before winning at Galabank at the second time of asking.
However, they weren’t so fortunate in 2014/15 when Brechin City knocked them out after a replay.
Admission to the game has been set at £10.00 for adults and £5.00 concessions. The players and coaches would appreciate everyone with the club at heart to make the effort to get to Saturday’s game at Ochilview.
Connor Greene admits the Shire players are “disappointed” not to have clinched a place in the third round of the William Hill Scottish Cup already – but he’s looking forward to next Saturday’s replay against Annan Athletic at Ochilview as a fresh opportunity.
The two teams will fight it out again this coming weekend after a 0-0 draw at Galabank and Connor says it would be great to get as many Shire fans out to the game to help the team achieve its goal of getting past the League 2 team.
Despite having some great chances Shire just couldn’t find the back of the net at Annan, something which Connor says the team have some regret about. But they’re not letting that get in the way of a sense of anticipation at trying to do it all again in the second match.
“Of course we are disappointed,” he said of the missed opportunities to win at the first attempt. “But we’ve got next week and we can put that right next week. We are all looking forward to the game. We can bring them back to our park and get all the Shire fans behind us and it should be another good game.”
As well as the disappointment at not winning, and the anticipation of a second chance, there is also a satisfaction at once again managing to shut Shire’s opponents out.
Saturday at Galabank was the fourth successive game that Greene and the defence have stopped the opposition scoring; in their last five games the only goal they have conceded has been from the penalty spot.
It’s all a far cry from the early part of the season when Shire had problems keeping opponents out, even in matches they ended up winning comfortably.
“It’s good,” said Connor. We’ve sorted the balance. Maybe we were a bit too attacking and at the start of the season we were just trying to out-score teams. But we know now that we’ve got boys up front who can win games and it’s up to us at the back to keep other teams out.”
You can listen to Connor’s post-game thoughts after the Annan Athletic match by clicking on the link below :
You can Read a full match report on Shire’s Scottish Cup trip to Annan Athletic here .
Coach John Sludden is asking his players to “go that step further” and book their place in the next round of this season’s William Hill Scottish Cup at Ochilview on Saturday.
Shire have another chance to get the better of League 2 Annan Athletic after the weekend 0-0 draw at Galabank which forced the tie into a replay. Now John says they need to show the same application and effort in the second match if they are going to oust their opponents from the competition.
He feels they should have nothing to fear playing at a venue where Shire have won five and drawn one of their last six matches.
“It’s a place where we like playing,” he said. “We have to be pleased with our performance (in the first game) but let’s not be happy that we got a draw against them. Let’s go that step further and take us into the next round of the cup.”
The coach, while delighted with the effort of the players, admitted to being a little disappointed they hadn’t managed to build up a half-time lead after creating a number of scoring opportunities in the opening period.
“We hit the post and, if we had gone in at half-time 2-0 up then no-one could say we didn’t deserve it,” said John. “But we knew Annan would come at us in the second half and we would have to defend as a team and every one of them was outstanding.”
Another aim which the coach had outlined before was to prove that Shire, although in the Lowland League, could compete properly with a side from the SPFL. John says they achieved that at Galabank on Saturday.
“Annan play in the league that we are trying to get into,” he said. “We said to the players that we believe they are good enough to play in that league, so go out and show that. We did that in spells and the questions we asked of them they answered in a positive way.”
Shire’s William Hill Scottish Cup second round replay against Annan Athletic will go ahead at Ochilview on Saturday 29th October with a 3:00pm kick-off. Admission prices will be announced soon.
Listen to John’s full post-game interview after our Scottish Cup draw at Annan Athletic by clicking on the link below :
You can also read our full match report from Galabank here .
The club will enter the 2016/17 William Hill Scottish Cup this weekend when Shire travel to face League 2 Annan Athletic at Galabank.
Although the two clubs do not meet in league action this season, this weekend will be the second time they have faced each other this term; the first game was in the Betfred Cup in July, a fixture Annan Athletic won 2-0.
MATCH : Shire approach the game in good form – the team has won its last three matches, and four of its last five. Goalkeeper Jamie Barclay has not conceded goal in 271 minutes of play and the only goal Shire have let in over the last four games was from the penalty spot.
Over the same four games the team has scored ten times, three of them last weekend not far from where tomorrow’s match will be played at Lockerbie against Mid Annandale in the SFA South Region Challenge Cup.
Annan Athletic have been something of the draw specialists over the past few weeks; three of their last four outings have ended all-square including last weekend’s trip to Cowdenbeath which ended 2-2 despite Annan holding a 2-0 interval lead.
If tomorrow’s game also ends in a draw the replay will go ahead at Ochilview on Saturday 29th October with a 3:00pm kick-off. The referee for the Galabank clash is Alan Newlands. Shire will wear their traditional black and white hoops with Annan Athletic in gold and black. Kick-off is 3:00pm and admission is £12.00 for adults and £6.00 for concessions.
TEAMS : Shire coach John Sludden is hoping to welcome winger Jamie Glasgow and central defender Andy Grant back from injury. Glasgow has missed the last three games with a hamstring problem while Grant’s leg injury caused him to miss the win at Mid Annandale.
If both are able to come through this week’s training sessions unscathed then it’s likely they will be added to the travelling party.
Drew Ramsay’s broken wrist means he is probably isn’t going to be able to make a return this weekend. That being the case, Liam Allison, who made his debut last week deputising in Ramsay’s left-back position, will continue there.
Shire have no suspension worries for tomorrow’s game.
PAST : The Scottish Cup meeting between the teams will be a first – Annan Athletic and Shire have never before been drawn together in the competition. But the match will be the 35th time the teams have met since 2008, when Annan Athletic joined the Scottish Football League.
Tomorrow’s hosts hold a 19-11 advantage in wins with the four remaining games ending in draws. The last match was on 30th July 2016 in the Betfred Cup at Ochilview with Annan Athletic winning 2-0.
The last time the teams met at Galabank, the venue for this weekend’s game, it was Shire who were the victors by 3-1 on 16th April 2016 with goals from Max Wright, Kris Faulds and Gavin McMillan. The hosts goal was scored by Smart Osadolor.
VIEWPOINT : Shire head coach John Sludden is in no doubt that getting past Annan Athletic and into the next round of the Scottish Cup amounts to one of the most difficult missions his team has faced all season.
“It will be a hard ask,” he said. “But we think we are capable. We have added to our squad since the last time we played them. This game is a wee bit different; normally every game we play is one we are expected to win so we can go there in a more relaxed mood. But we will also go there with the confidence we have gained from our performances over the last few weeks.”
Listen to the Shire head coach talk in more length about the difficult game which awaits the team at Annan Athletic by clicking on the link below :
Striker Paul Sludden says it’s a game everyone at the club should be looking forward to. He has experienced similar Scottish Cup occasions playing for Lowland League clubs against SPFL League 2 opposition in the past and would relish causing a shock.
Although Paul doesn’t think of the tie in the normal giant killing terms.
“East Stirlingshire have always been a league club,” he said. “We want to be on par with these teams and we have to show that we can be from our performance on Saturday.”
To listen to Paul’s pre-game thoughts click on the link below :
Paul Sludden has pinpointed how important the travelling Shire support will be in helping the team in the weekend William Hill Scottish Cup clash against Annan Athletic at Galabank.
The striker says he wasn’t the only one to be impressed by the size of the following the team attracted to last week’s game against Mid Annandale at Lockerbie and he thinks a similar show of numbers could be an important factor in the objective of getting the team through to the next round of the Scottish Cup.
The Shire man says the depth of feeling the fans have for the club has been an eye-opener and does help the players during games.
“I think we’re lucky as a club,” said Paul. “The fans have been huge. They’ve been coming to the games and supporting us – it’s certainly been important for me getting to know some of the fans and seeing how passionate they are about their club.
“To have them behind you gives you a confidence. You want to do well, not just for yourself but for them because they’re a big part of it.”
The former Stirling University striker, who joined Shire in the summer, says Saturday’s cup trip to Galabank is an occasion everyone at the club should be looking forward to. He knows it will be a tough ask to go to the League 2 team and win, but Paul says they must believe it is a task they are capable of.
Shire will be the underdogs for the game by virtue of playing in the Lowland League. Paul says it’s far from the traditional David versus Goliath cup-tie because of Shire’s history but accepts it will be a good test for the team.
“East Stirlingshire have always been a league club,” he said. “If we want to reclaim our place in the league then we have to see ourselves as on par with these teams and we have the chance to do that in our performance on Saturday.”
As a player with plenty of experience in the Lowland League and, before that, the East of Scotland League, Paul is in a good position to offer a viewpoint on the difference between the top sides in Shire’s current division and in League 2. He says there can be a quality gap but not one that can’t be bridged in a one-off cup game.
“I’ve played in the Lowland League for a few years and there’s not a huge difference in the standard,” he said. “At Stirling University we played Queen’s Park and it was a competitive match. You need a wee bit of quality to shine through, but we’ve got guys in our team with experience who can score goals.
“We’ve got Jamie Barclay at one end and Andy Rodgers at the other end and the guys in between trying to achieve what we’re setting out to achieve. It will be good to get an idea to see where we are at and see if that bridge has been met.”
Paul has been among the goals Shire have scored this season and would love to be on the score sheet this weekend. But, over and above that, he says the team will be determined to give it a go.
“We’ve won our last three games, we’ve kept three clean sheets and scored ten goals. So there’s definitely confidence there,” he said.
Shire have been drawn at home to South of Scotland League Newton Stewart in the third round of the SFA South Region Challenge Cup.
The draw was made earlier on Thursday and follows Shire’s 3-0 win over Mid Annandale in the second round of the competition last Saturday.
Newton Stewart, nicknamed The Creesiders, are currently sixth in the fourteen team South of Scotland League, having won six and lost six of their twelve games played.We look forward to welcoming them to Ochilview. The details of this fixture will be confirmed at a later date.
Saturday’s William Hill Scottish Cup visit to Annan Athletic will be the second meeting of the clubs this season.
Shire faced Jim Chapman’s team in Group F of the Betfred Cup in July, losing 2-0 at Ochilview and that defeat has been on the mind of coach John Sludden in the run-up to this weekend’s game at Galabank.
Both teams went into July’s match having lost all of their three Group F ties and both were keen to win to avoid finishing bottom. For Shire, newly-demoted to the Lowland League, it was also a chance to find out if they could match the standard of the league they were so keen to try to get back into.
The outcome, decided by a long-range strike midway through the second half and confirmed by an injury-time second goal from the penalty spot, was a real disappointment for Shire.
But this weekend’s encounter will not only be a chance to try and make up for that but will also serve as another yardstick to see how far Shire have come since July.
“This is another benchmark,” said the Shire head coach. “It’s a benchmark not only in terms of what happened in the League Cup match, but also for the players as individuals and everyone as a club.
“It is still our aim to get back up to the level Annan are at and we will look at the game on Saturday as a measure of how close we are to it.”
By his own admission the coach feels the performance in the July game against Saturday’s opponents “didn’t do justice” to his team. He now wants to try and put that right.
“I just felt we were a wee bit flat in that game,” said John. “We didn’t play at the tempo we were hoping to play at and we didn’t create the scoring chances we were hoping to create.
” We didn’t really deserve anything out of that game and this is our chance to change that. So we will go there on Saturday certainly hoping to create the scoring chances we have been doing over the past few weeks.
“It will be a hard ask but we have the players to do it,” said the Shire coach.
Watch match highlights of the July meeting of the teams below :