|21st January 2017||15:00||Ferrari Packaging Lowland League||2016-17|
|Team||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|
|Edinburgh University Assoc FC||0||0||0||Loss|
EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY 0 SHIRE 1
It may be have been Shire’s lowest-scoring victory so far but it was still one of the most important three point hauls of the season as the team overcame a dogged Edinburgh University team at East Peffermill.
David Grant’s 12th minute goal, his 27th of the season, was all that divided the teams at full-time although Shire had other chances and, on another day, would have run up a more convincing win.
But that was almost beside the point. After dropping two points to the Edinburgh students just two weeks earlier, what was more relevance was making sure there was no repeat.
Shire accomplished the feat with more comfort than the simple scoreline suggests but still found it hard against a set of committed, fit and well-organised opponents who thwarted them constantly.
Coach John Sludden was forced to leave out skipper Derek Ure, who was serving a one match suspension, and that allowed Liam Allison the chance to come back into the eleven. Otherwise, the team was the same one that had beaten Stirling University 2-0 the previous week.
Shire knew their best hope lay in an early breakthrough and they were on the front foot from the start. Within a couple of minutes Andy Rodgers found space for a shot inside the box but his effort was blocked and the rebound landed at Paul Sludden’s feet but he sent his effort just over the crossbar.
Two minutes later David Grant’s pass across the face of goal found Rodgers but he hit his powerful shot just wide of the target.
It was a promising start for Shire but not long after they got a warning when Jamie Barclay had to dive across the face of goal to turn Rafa Cabacho’s shot round the post for a corner.
But after 12 minutes there was reward for a bright opening. Graeme MacGregor’s ball into the box was only half headed clear and Allison fed the loose ball to Sludden whose delightful chip in behind the home defence was swept into the net first time by David Grant.
The Shire striker was left with his head in his hands two minutes later when his clear run in on goal was brought to a halt by the stand side linesman’s offside flag and, after 25 minutes, Allison looked set to increase Shire’s lead but he sidefooted his effort and home goalie Mark Tait was able to make a comfortable save.
Ten minutes before the break Sludden sent in a low cross and Rodgers attempt to backheel the ball over the line was cleared by a desperate home defender.
Ten minutes into the second half Rodgers was incredulous at not having extended the advantage when he fired Drew Ramsay’s cross towards goal but was denied by Tait’s stunning reflex save.
A few minutes later Rodgers played Sludden clean through on goal only for Tait to race off his line and make a superb blocking save as the Shire man prepared to celebrate a goal.
Tait’s heroics were not over and he then made another brilliant point-blank save, this time from Connor Greene’s diving header at the back post after Sludden had fired over a cross from the right.
Sludden was then just a fraction away from scoring after a low cross from David Grant just eluded the in-rushing Shire player when the slightest of touches in the middle would have brought a certain goal.
The Rodgers had a go with a powerful, swerving shot from just outside the box that just went the wrong side of the post with Tait scrambling desperately across his goal.
The home team, who had defended in depth with nine men behind the ball when not in possession, did make a late surge to try and press for an equalising goal but the Shire defence held its own and Barclay was never really called upon to make a save as the visitors saw out the closing few minutes safely to record fifth straight away win in the Lowland League :
EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY : Tait, Murray, McMillan, Smith, Verkaik, Irvine, Matthew, Ritchie, Guthrie, McCrory-Irving, Calbacho.
SHIRE : Barclay, MacGregor, Ramsay, Greene, A.Grant, Faulds, Rodgers, Allison, D.Grant(White 90), Sludden, Glasgow(Brisbane 80).
|Edinburgh University Association FC|
|42 Peffermill Rd, Edinburgh EH16, UK|