|10th December 2016||15:00||Ferrari Packaging Lowland League||2016-17|
|Team||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|
|Civil Service Strollers FC||1||2||3||Draw|
SHIRE 3 CIVIL SERVICE STROLLERS 3
Andy Rodgers broke a 70 year-old club record by becoming the fifth Shire player in as many matches to score a hat-trick, but his three goals were not enough to deliver a sixth straight victory.
Shire could not quell a second half comeback from Civil Service Strollers who scored two goals in the space of exactly 90 seconds midway through the second period to level the scores after the visitors had trailed 3-1 at the half-time interval.
After equalising the Edinburgh team will consider themselves unfortunate not to have become the first team to win a Lowland League match at Ochilview this season, squandering two late opportunities to score a fourth goal.
The second period was a complete contrast for Shire who recovered after making a slow start to the game and by half-time they seemed comfortably in control.
Not surprisingly, coach John Sludden left the starting eleven unchanged from the one which had beaten Gala Fairydean Rovers 10-1 the previous Saturday but there was no same whirlwind start from Shire.
Instead it was Strollers who made the running straight from kick-off and Steven Froude saw an early net-bound effort clip the heels of a Shire defender and loop harmlessly into the arms of keeper Jamie Barclay.
But after three minutes Russell McLean was left unmarked at the back post and he was given all the time and space he required to float a shot into the far corner of the net to give Strollers a very early advantage.
Froude had another chance not long after but he shot over the bar when well-placed. Seconds later the ball went to the other end of the pitch and Jamie Glasgow was brought down inside the box. Rodgers brought the scores level from the penalty spot after just six minutes had been played.
Although McLean hit a powerful drive just past Barclay’s far post only a minute or so later, the momentum of the game had swung Shire’s way. After 15 minutes Paul Sludden played a free-kick from wide on the left to the near post and Rodgers ghosted in to guide the ball into the net from close-range to give Shire the lead.
After 20 minutes David Grant fired in a shot which flew across the face of goal and just shaved the outside of the far post on its way past and a minute later he fired over the bar from inside the box when it seemed he would increase the advantage.
However, after 24 minutes Shire did go 3-1 ahead. Rodgers blasted a free-kick on the edge of the box straight into the defensive wall and then half-volleyed the rebound so powerfully into the net that the visiting keeper hardly had time to react.
Glasgow then forced Burnside into two good saves from long-range efforts before Sludden’s cross from the right caused panic for the visiting defence although David Grant just failed to get the all-important touch which would have made it 4-1.
A short pass back by Milligan then let Sludden clean through on goal. The Shire striker took the ball round the keeper and fired for goal but his net-bound effort was blocked on the line by a desperate Strollers defender.
Glasgow started the second half with a great shot from the edge of the box that just cleared the crossbar and ended up on the roof of the net. But then Shire lost their way, the pace dropped and the game entered a period of stalemate.
That was broken after 61 minutes. Strollers won a corner on the left and Ballantyne’s flag kick saw Cunningham’s header crash off the post with Barclay beaten. The visitors took heart and set about trying to get themselves back into the game.
They started to apply more pressure but the home defence looked comfortable until 69 minutes when Jack Downie’s corner was headed into the path of McLean, who shielded the ball with his back to goal to allow Shaun Turnbull to run onto his flick and shoot home from six yards out.
Ninety seconds later McLean’s shot from a tight angle flew across goal and hit the inside of the far post and landed at the feet of Churchill who shot into an empty net to level the scores.
The goal forced Shire to be more urgent. But every cross seemed to be blocked or was caught by Burnside and every shot was either delayed too long or a visiting leg got in the way.
In the closing few minutes Strollers twice had chances to win the game outright. McLean took advantage of Oliver’s slip to race in on goal but his attempted lob over Barclay’s head was just too high. In injury-time Cunningham’s rasping shot from long-range looked destined for the top corner but in the end was just too high and wide of the target.
SHIRE : Barclay, A.Grant, Allison, Oliver, Greene, Faulds, Rodgers, Ure, D.Grant, Sludden, Glasgow.
CIVIL SERVICE STROLLERS : Burnside, Milligan(Boyle 63), Brown, Newall, Turnbull, Cunningham(Downie 63), Ballantyne, Clapperton, Froude, McLean, Churchill(Campbell 80).
|East Stirlingshire Home Ground|
|55 Gladstone Rd, Stenhousemuir, Larbert FK5, UK|