|7th January 2017||15:00||Ferrari Packaging Lowland League||2016-17|
|Team||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|
|Edinburgh University Assoc FC||0||1||1||Draw|
SHIRE 1 EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY 1
Shire maintained their unbeaten home record in Lowland League matches this season and created a new league scoring record but found nothing to celebrate in a 1-1 draw against Edinburgh University.
A free-scoring team, as a record of 75 goals in 19 games indicates, found themselves unable to break down the visitors’ defensive barrier which often consisted of funnelling all ten outfield players behind the ball.
One goal might have been enough to win the game after Connor Greene rose at the back post to head Shire into a 1-0 lead after 43 minutes. But, instead, Shire allowed Edinburgh University back into things with an equaliser four minutes after the break and, despite plenty of effort, they could not do the job all over again.
Coach John Sludden stuck to the same team which had won 6-0 against BSC Glasgow which again meant no place in the starting eleven for top league scorer David Grant.
But Shire might have gone ahead straight from the kick-off. A cross from the left found Kris Faulds inside the box but his effort flew across the face of goal and just wide of the far post.
At the other end Edinburgh University moved the ball well and Jack Guthrie strung Jamie Barclay’s fingertips with a low effort.
But, after four minutes, Jamie Glasgow got in behind the visitors’ defence and looked set to open the scoring only for him to hook his shot horribly high and wide of goal.
The miss set a pattern with both Paul Sludden and Steven Brisbane coming close but not close enough. After ten minutes, though, Shire were almost gifted the lead when Edinburgh University’s Luke Murray misjudged his header back to the keeper and only a desperate, scrambling save stopped the ball crossing the line for the opening goal.
Two minutes later Glasgow was unlucky to see his looping header from Derek Ure’s corner land on the roof of the net.
The longer the half wore on the more Shire tried to tighten the screw. Another Glasgow header went just over and then an outrageous Andy Rodgers shot from 35 yards skimmed the top of the crossbar.
The goal eventually arrived two minutes before the break. Paul Sludden swung over a free-kick from wide on the left and Connor Greene rose at the back post to head his fifth goal of the season and create a new league scoring record for the team.
But Shire, instead of building on the advantage, could not even hold on to it. A free-kick hit to the front edge of the box was flicked on by Guthrie and appeared to pose no problem but the ball came free from Barclay’s attempt to clutch it safely and somehow ended up in the net for the equaliser.
Shire’s response was almost immediate and Derek Ure came close with a long-range shot but Shire should have been back in front after 61 minutes when Sludden found Rodgers unmarked at the back post but the striker got the ball trapped under his foot and he shot wide from point-blank range.
David Grant replaced Faulds after 66 minutes but he, like every other Shire player, was struggling to find space and time to play against a well-disciplined group of visitors.
After 71 minutes the ball landed at Glasgow’s feet and his net-bound shot was cleared off the line. Not long after David Grant went down inside the box after having his jersey pulled but the match officials waved aside Shire’s strong appeals for a penalty kick.
Glasgow fired a low cross into the box but, when a simple touch in the middle would have brought a goal, no-one could turn it into the gaping net.
After 81 minutes Greene looked as though he would repeat his first half scoring feat but instead powered a header from Sludden’s cross straight at the keeper.
Shire’s play increased in urgency and in injury-time there were again appeals for a penalty when Rodgers’ free-kick was handled inside the box by one of the defensive wall trying to guard it. But again the referee chose to wave play on.
SHIRE : Barclay, MacGregor, Ramsay, A.Grant, Greene, Faulds(D.Grant 66), Rodgers, Ure, Brisbane, Sludden, Glasgow.
|East Stirlingshire Home Ground|
|55 Gladstone Rd, Stenhousemuir, Larbert FK5, UK|