|26th November 2016||15:00||Ferrari Packaging Lowland League||2016-17|
|Team||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|
SHIRE 5 SELKIRK 0
Shire rounded off a run of five home games with a comprehensive 5-0 Lowland League victory over Selkirk at Ochilview to hoist themselves into second place in the table.
After hat-tricks in the last two games for Andy Rodgers and David Grant, it was the turn of Paul Sludden to take the match ball home after a great three goal performance from the striker.
But it was another day in which the rewards were reserved for another positive team display with Shire piling on the pressure in the second half after a game Selkirk team ran out of steam following a highly promising start.
The visitors set out their stall from kick-off to get after Shire. It was a policy that had paid dividends the last time the teams had met, at Yarrow Park in September, when Selkirk found themselves 3-0 up after 15 minutes.
But, despite their early probing, there was to be no repeat this time round. Shire’s defensive unit is much-changed from that match and they closed down all avenues to goal for the visitors early on.
The only real threat was a long-range effort from Ricky Miller after 15 minutes but Jamie Barclay was equal to it with a great diving save.
Moments before that, though, Shire might have had the lead when David Grant’s header from Liam Allison’s cross came crashing back off the bar. Sludden collected the rebound but shot just wide of the far post.
A goal for Shire was always going to settle the team down and would, most likely, have halted the Selkirk insurgency too. And that’s how things worked out after 24 minutes when a Kris Faulds flick sent David Grant racing clear and he unselfishly passed to Sludden to finish well from just inside the box.
Shire then had to upper hand and tried to use it to their advantage. But a series of half-chances came and went without putting visiting keeper Gregor Amos under too much pressure. The only exception was a David Grant shot after 28 minutes that just shaved the top of the crossbar.
All that changed, though, after the interval when a fired-up Shire wrestled control of the game from Selkirk within six minutes of the start of the second half.
After 48 minutes Andy Rodgers chased a wayward David Grant shot rather than simply let it drift out for a goal kick and his perseverance paid off as he caught the ball before it went out of play and crossed it back in.
Grant collected but couldn’t find the angle for a shot and simply squared the ball to the better-placed Jamie Glasgow who fired Shire 2-0 in front.
Rodgers created the third goal after 51 minutes as well. His superb cross from wide on the right touchline neutralised the entire Selkirk defence and allowed Sludden to race in unmarked at the back post to simply guide the ball over the line.
After being the goal creator, Rodgers then had chances to be the goal taker and twice he was thwarted by good save from Amos, but he was not to be denied and he put Shire 4-0 up after 64 minutes.
Some good wing play down the right sent Andy Grant clear and the full-back crossed perfectly for Rodgers to meet the centre with a first-time finish that left the keeper with no chance. It was Shire’s 50th league goal of the season in just their 14th game.
The 51st goal always looked likely but Shire were having trouble getting there. Only three minutes after getting on the score sheet Rodgers might have made it 5-0 but he dragged his shot across the face of goal and wide.
The introduction of Connor Hogg as a substitute after 70 minutes only added to Selkirk’s problems and he proved a real threat with his runs and crosses down the right-hand side. But Selkirk hung on although after 86 minutes Amos made a great save from a Rodgers shot and Allison headed just over the bar from the resulting corner kick.
But in the final minute of regulation time Hogg’s persistence paid off. The winger again threw over a cross from the right and this time the defensive clearance went straight to Sludden, who accepted the chance to complete his hat-trick and shot home Shire’s fifth from close-range.
SHIRE : Barclay, A.Grant, Allison, Oliver, Greene, Faulds, Rodgers, Ure, D.Grant, Sludden, Glasgow.
SELKIRK, Amos, Docharty(McGrath 67), Christie, Harley, Fleming, Miller, Doyle, Nicholson(Scott 57), Addison, Koroma, Baxter(King 62).
|East Stirlingshire Home Ground|
|55 Gladstone Rd, Stenhousemuir, Larbert FK5, UK|