|10th September 2016||15:00||Ferrari Packaging Lowland League||2016-17|
Shire bounced back from the previous week’s disappointment at East Kilbride with a resounding victory over second-top Cumbernauld Colts at Ochilview.
First half goals from David Grant, his eighth of the season, and Andy Rodgers had Shire 2-0 up at the interval and although Colts fought their corner hard after the break, John Sludden’s team eased to victory with two more second half strikes.
The Shire boss responded to the disappointing news of a serious injury to keeper Darren Dolan by bringing back former Shire favourite Jamie Barclay between the sticks as a trialist. But that was the only change to the side which faced the league leaders seven days earlier, with trialist Drew Ramsay continuing at left-back.
Almost straight from the kick-off Shire might have taken the lead when Kris Faulds got in behind the defence but his effort from just inside the box was blocked for a corner kick which came to nothing.
After seven minutes, though, Shire did take the lead with Barclay playing a major role. The keeper’s huge clearance downfield took a bounce which deceived the Colts defence and David Grant collected the ball and rounded Chris Fahey before placing it in the empty net.
Five minutes later Grant might have made it 2-0. Some dazzling skill from Jamie Glasgow took him clear and his cross was met first time by Grant but his effort went wide.
After 17 minutes Derek Ure’s chipped pass was sent goalwards by Grant but the shot just slipped wide of the far post.
Barclay was called into action for the first time after 25 minutes. Colts’ danger man Stephen O’Neil set himself up nicely for a shot and tried to beat the keeper at the near post but Barclay beat the ball behind for a coner.
Then, on the half hour, a lovely, flowing passing move sent Faulds clear on the right and his perfectly-judged cross was met by Rodgers at the back post, his delightful first-time touch sending the ball into the back of the net for Shire’s second goal.
Two minutes from the break Fahey’s superb, sprawling save from Glasgow’s point-blank shot following Rodgers’ delivery into the box stopped Shire taking a three goal lead into the dressing room at half-time.
The visitors freshened their line-up at the start of the second period with two interval substitutions and they made a lively opening to the half.
That paid dividends just two minutes in when Owen Ronald crossed to the back post for the unmarked O’Neil to hit a close-range shot high into the roof of the net.
Shire responded and, after 51 minutes, Rodgers had a sight of goal but sent his shot into the side netting.
The game settled into a midfield tussle with Colts always willing to try and find their way back into the game while Shire contained them and launched counter attacks.
After 62 minutes, though, Shire scored their third. Connor Greene rose unmarked at the back post to head Paul Sludden’s free-kick goalward, Fahey came to catch but couldn’t collect the ball and Greene hooked the loose ball into the net from a yard out.
Not that Shire were on easy street after the third goal. Barclay had to earn his keep by making a fine save from Ronald’s shot after the Colts man glanced a free-kick from wide on the right towards goal.
Tempers flared after 79 minutes when Shire reacted badly to a poor challenge on Adam Murray and in the ensuing pushing and shoving Sludden was shown a straight red card.
But within seconds of that setback David Grant was pulled down inside the box after a typical mazy run and Rodgers hit Shire’s fourth goal of the afternoon from the penalty spot.
SHIRE : Barclay, MacGregor, Ramsay, Greene Murray, Faulds, Rodgers, Ure, D. Grant, Sludden, Glasgow(McGuigan 70).
CUMBERNAULD COLTS : Fahey, Batchelor, Kirwan, McFarlane, Ward, Pirrie, Ronald, Barclay, Kavanagh(Selkirk 46), Black(Murray 46), O’Neil.
REFEREE: S. Luke.
|East Stirlingshire Home Ground|
|55 Gladstone Rd, Stenhousemuir, Larbert FK5, UK|