|20th August 2017||15:00||GeoSonic Lowland League||2017-18|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|
|Civil Service Strollers FC||0||2||2||Draw|
Paul Sludden’s 72nd minute header which gave Shire a 2-1 advantage in the clash with Civil Service Strollers looked like it would be enough for all three points.
But they hadn’t reckoned with a determined fight back from the Edinburgh side who grabbed a point with a goal five minutes from time.
Sludden, who knows the Lowland League better than most of his team mates after spells with rival sides University of Stirling and The Spartans, says it should have come as no surprise.
“Teams aren’t going to lie down to us so we need to work harder to make sure we put games to bed,” he said. “I’ve played in this league for a few years and I’ve learned that if you give teams something to hang onto they will try their hardest to get back into a game or hold onto a lead.”
But the worrying thing for Sludden, and everyone else at the club, is that this performance was no one off.
A fortnight earlier Shire had been 2-1 ahead at Dalbeattie Star and ended up having to score in injury-time just to salvage a 3-3 draw.
The dropped points, even after just five games, have allowed a gap to develop between Shire and the sides at the top of the league and already the club’s long-suffering fans are carrying worried expressions.
They had expected their team to be title challengers like last season but on this form that looks some way off.
“We need to get this club back to where it deserves to be,” said Sludden of the ultimate aim of regaining their lost SPFL League 2 place. “We need to be able to rise to that pressure and cope with it. That can be demanding for such a young team but we will work on that and try to get back to winning ways because that’s where we all want to be.”
And even if Shire never really hit the heights there seemed little danger after Andy Rodgers had given them a ninth minute lead, that the end result would be anything other than a home win.
Rodgers had wasted little time getting his first strike of the season, racing clear of the defence and rounding the keeper to score.
Sludden then forced two great saves from the keeper and Rodgers flashed a free-kick wide. The misses didn’t seem important at the time but they told in the end.
There was nothing in the visitors’ play for more than a hour to suggest Shire, fitful and stuttering as their own performance was, wouldn’t be able to see it out.
But visiting substitute David Churchill was starting to be a handful. He hadn’t been on the pitch long before he missed what looked to be a simple chance. And, after 71 minutes he accepted a low cross to sweep the ball into the net.
Strollers celebrations could not have been any more short-lived. Straight from the re-start Jamie McCormack’s deep cross to the far post was nodded back by Liam Allison for Sludden to head Shire back in front off the underside of the bar.
That should have been that. But the defensive slackness which brought the first leveller was the Shire undoing again with this time Andrew Main lurking at the back post to score from point-blank range.
Even after that Shire should still have won. Sludden was bundled over inside the penalty box deep into injury-time but incredibly the referee chose not to award a penalty kick and a chance of atonement.
East Stirlingshire: 1. Barclay 2. McCormack 3. Ramsay 4. Greene 5. Tapping 6. MacGregor 7. Rodgers 8. D. Ure (captain) 9. Brisbane 10. Sludden 11. Allison. subs – 12. Grant (for Tapping 62 mins) 14. White (not used) 15. Peddie (not used) 16. Trialist (Aiden McKeown) (not used) 17. I. Ure (sub gk – not used) 18. Trialist (Chris McLaughlin) (not used)
Ht 1-0 Ft 2-2
East Stirlingshire Scorers: Andy Rodgers (9 mins), Paul Sludden (71 mins)
Civil Service Strollers Scorers: David Churchill (75 mins), Andy Mair (85 mins)
East Stirlingshire bookings: McCormack, MacGregor, Rodgers
Referee: Garry Doherty
Assistants: Daniel McFarlane, Euan Donaldson
|East Stirlingshire (Ochilview Park)|
|55 Gladstone Rd, Stenhousemuir, Larbert FK5, UK|
|#||Player||Position||Goals||Assists||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|5||Jordan Tapping 12||Defender||0||0||0||0|
|12||Andy Grant 5||Defender||0||0||0||0|