|3rd March 2017||19:45||Ferrari Packaging Lowland League||2016-17|
|Team||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|
CUMBERNAULD COLTS 3 SHIRE 3
A poor first half hour against a well-organised and highly-motivated set of opponents cost Shire as they failed to record a fourth successive Lowland League victory in their latest outing against Cumbernauld Colts at Broadwood Stadium.
Shire were sluggish from the outset and found themselves 2-0 down after 30 minutes and even though they fought back well to take a 3-2 lead with 12 minutes to go they could not close out the game against Colts, who finished strongly and fired home an equaliser with three minutes left to play. It was hard to deny that they had deserved something from the match as the home side overcame poor recent form to raise their performance levels.
Shire coach John Sludden decided to make some tactical changes after the 3-0 victory over Gala Fairydean Rovers six days earlier. Connor Greene was re-introduced with Steven Brisbane making way.
That meant Andy Grant taking over at right-back, Graeme MacGregor moving into midfield beside Derek Ure as a two-man defensive shield and Kris Faulds adopting a more attacking role.
Shire did begin on the front foot and in the opening five minutes Ure and Andy Rodgers tried their luck from distance but their efforts were wayward.
Colts, though, showed they were in no mood to let Shire dominate. After 10 minutes Craig Murray tried his luck from distance but his shot went over the bar, and barely a minute later Andy Hunter had his head in his hands as he sent a free header wide of target after being left unmarked at the back post.
Shire then had an Andy Rodgers free-kick go just over the bar and, after 17 minutes, were just a fraction away from taking the lead when Graeme MacGregor’s shot from 20 yards rattled the Colts crossbar with the rebound being hacked clear.
A minute later Rodgers saw his initial shot blocked but the ball fell nicely for Jamie Glasgow, whose rasping half-volley shaved the outside of the post before going behind for a goal-kick.
But Colts were able to exert pressure of their own and after 21 minutes they were given too much space in midfield which allowed Stephen O’Neil to open the scoring with a lovely finish from the edge of the box after a neat exchange of passes.
The home team had their tails up and Jamie Barclay in the Shire goal then had to make a sharp near-post save from Sean Brown’s shot. The warnings were not heeded, though, and on the half-hour Colts sprung a counter-attack as Shire carelessly gave the ball away on halfway.
The home side flooded players forward and Brown was able to give them a 2-0 lead with a low shot past Barclay from a tight angle.
With the next action Shire might have pulled a goal back but home keeper Chris Fahey dived to save a David Grant shot on the turn at his near post. But after 34 minutes Colts failed to clear a free-kick delivered into their box and Rodgers pounced with a powerful half-volley to score his 30th goal of the season and reduce the leeway.
Before the break Faulds had the chance to equalise but he his shot too close to Fahey who was able to beat the ball away with his hands.
After 51 minutes Rodgers cross was almost turned into his own net at the back post by Lewis Wilson, with the Colts man looking more than a bit relieved to see the ball go behind for a corner kick.
By this time Shire were going all-out for the levelling goal. Fahey made a great diving save at the feet of David Grant to prevent him turning Rodgers’ cross into the net, then Glasgow somehow sent a free header from a Faulds centre over the bar from six yards out.
Not long after Ure’s pass sent David Grant clear and the Shire man had his jersey pulled as he sent a near post shot just over. Shire’s strong claims for a penalty were ignored by the referee.
Not much later Glasgow’s cross was almost turned in at the near post by David Grant but his effort went just over the bar and Colts escaped once more.
After 69 minutes Ramsay sent in a low centre from the left to the near post and as Rodgers tried to reach the ball he was brought to the ground by the keeper. This time the official did award the spot kick and Rodgers beat Fahey to bring the scores level.
Substitute Paul Sludden then had a clear sight of goal but his near-post effort was well-saved by Fahey before David Grant sent a looping head from a Faulds cross just over the bar and onto the roof of the net.
But Grant did get his goal after 78 minutes when he sent a header from Sludden’s left-wing cross past the keeper from six yards out to give Shire a 3-2 lead.
Sludden sent a long-range effort just over the bar but Colts were not prepared to accept defeat and they piled forward forcing a couple of corners which Shire dealt with.
However, with three minutes left to go they worked the ball to the unmarked substitute Jamie Barclay who fired an angled drive past his namesake in the Shire goal for the equaliser.
CUMBERNAULD COLTS : Fahey, Kirwan, Wilson, McFarlane, Marshall, Lachlan, O’Neill, Murray, Brown, Broadfoot(Black 74), Hunter(Barclay 74).
SHIRE : Barclay, A.Grant, Ramsay, Greene, Oliver, MacGregor, Rodgers, Ure, D.Grant, Faulds, Glasgow(Sludden 65).
|1 Ardgoil Dr, Cumbernauld, Glasgow G68 9NE, UK|