|19th November 2016||15:00||Ferrari Packaging Lowland League||2016-17|
|Team||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|
|Preston Athletic FC||1||1||2||Loss|
EAST STIRLINGSHIRE 6 PRESTON ATHLETIC 2
Shire continued on their goal scoring ways with a welcome 6-2 home Lowland League victory over bottom side Preston Athletic at Ochilview.
The team followed on from a 9-0 victory a week earlier although this time it was David Grant who was the man of the moment. The striker ended a run of four matches without a goal by hitting the back of the net four times against the visitors from Prestonpans to take his season tally to 19.
Coach John Sludden had to make one enforced change due to the suspension of club captain Derek Ure and that saw the welcome return of Simon White to the starting eleven. Graeme MacGregor again missed out after making a return to training from injury earlier in the week.
The coach had asked his players to start the game well and they took him at his word by opening the scoring just 45 seconds after kick-off. The ball was played out to David Grant wide on the left and he aimed for the near post only to see it elude the reach of the in-rushing Andy Rodgers, bounce awkwardly in front of the visiting keeper and end up in the back of the net.
That settled Shire and they were unlucky not to add further goals inside the opening ten minutes. First Rodgers tried to curl one in at the top corner from the left angle of the penalty box only for it to fly just wide.
Then, eight minutes in, Rodgers’ powerful header at the near post from Paul Sludden’s corner rippled the side net.
But the visitors had to be taken seriously. After 14 minutes Preston striker Stuart Ritchie nipped in but, luckily for Shire, his shot went across the face of goal and hit the far post before bouncing to safety.
After 18 minutes a great run and cross from Jamie Glasgow found Rodgers at the back post but the striker got the ball tangled up in his feet and the clear scoring chance was gone and six minutes later David Grant found time and space for a shot but the keeper saved.
After 26 minutes Shire did go 2-0 up. Sludden got two bites at getting a left-wing cross into the centre and his second attempt was met perfectly by David Grant who side-footed home from six yards.
But instead of putting Shire on easy street the goal marked an improved passage of play from the visitors and they took advantage after 33 minutes when Ritchie did find the back of the net, turning a low right-wing cross into the net from six yards despite the attentions of Connor Greene.
The response from Shire was immediate and emphatic. Within a minute Sludden’s 20 yarder went just over the bar and after 36 minutes the visiting keeper produced a stunning reflex save to deny Rogers, whose powerful header looked a goal all the way.
Shire’s third goal wasn’t long in coming. After 40 minutes Sludden’s corner was poorly cleared by the visiting defence and the ball was recycled back to him for another left-wing cross which Allison headed past the exposed keeper into the net.
A minute before the break Grant forced the keeper into a save and just seconds after the start of the second half he was put clean through on goal by Rodgers but shot over when he looked certain to score Shire’s fourth.
There was more nervousness after 53 minutes when a great cross from the left was headed home by Ritchie for the visitors’ second goal. But that was dispelled straight from the re-start when Rodgers chased a lost caused, stopped the ball before it went behind and crossed for David Grant to roll home Shire’s fourth and his third of the match.
Five minutes later Glasgow set up an even better chance for the striker to score but somehow he managed to shoot wide with only the keeper to beat from the edge of the penalty box.
After 61 minutes Rodgers flashed a great header just wide of target but Shire only had to wait two more minutes for a fifth goal. Sludden fired in a superb strike from fully 30 yards out that cannoned off the crossbar with the keeper beaten. David Grant was first to react to the rebound and he steered it into the empty net from inside the penalty box.
The game went through a lull as both teams made multiple substitutions but, after 76 minutes, one of those replacements, Connor Hogg, charged down the right and crossed for Rodgers to collect the loose ball to score Shire’s sixth goal.
In the closing few minutes the game picked up pace rather than simply dawdle to a finish. Glasgow was sent clean through, lobbed the keeper from the edge of the box but saw his effort hacked off the line by a desperate Preston Athletic defender.
Then the visiting keeper made a superb diving save to keep Allison’s header from a Sludden corner kick out of the net. Preston Athletic, always game, kept going and might have pulled one back later on but a back post header at a corner hit the bar and came back out.
SHIRE : Barclay, A. Grant, Allison, Oliver, Greene, White(Ramsay 67), Rodgers, Faulds, D. Grant(Hogg 71), Sludden(McGuigan 77), Glasgow.
PRESTON ATHLETIC : Baines, Cowan, Cochrane, Colquhoun, McLeod, Innes(Law 74), Shave(Neto 65), O’Rourke, Murray, Ritchie, Lawson(Graham 46).
REFEREE : A. Taylor.
|East Stirlingshire Home Ground|
|55 Gladstone Rd, Stenhousemuir, Larbert FK5, UK|