|1st October 2016||15:00||Scottish Lowland Football League||2016-17|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|
|Gretna FC 2008||0||0||0||Loss|
The task for Shire was not only to get back to winning ways after an agonising last-gasp defeat at Spartans the previous Saturday. Just as important was to merge the team’s recently improved defensive displays with the attacking potency that had made them the Lowland League’s top goalscorers.
It was very much a case of mission accomplished on both counts as Shire ran in five goals without reply against Gretna 2008 at Ochilview. There was another hat-trick for David Grant, taking his league tally for the season to 14 and goals for fellow strikers Andy Rodgers and Paul Sludden.
But every bit as significant was the shut out recorded by keeper Jamie Barclay and his defence who have often struggled to keep the opposition at bay even in games they have won with relative comfort.
Shire have certainly been more consistent at Ochilview than on their travels so far this term and part of the reason for that has been a solid start which has pushed the opposition onto the back foot almost straight from kick-off.
This game was no exception. Barely 90 seconds in the ball was fed to Kris Faulds, whose measured shot looked destined for the back of the net only for it to smack off the far post and bounce back into play .
After seven minutes Derek Ure’s corner found David Grant unmarked at the back post and the striker met the ball with a spectacular volley which was headed clear on the goal line by a hard-pressed Gretna defence.
After ten minutes the early Shire pressure told. Derek Ure’s quickly taken free-kick found David Grant on the edge of the box and the striker turned his man before unleashing a curling shot into the far top corner of the net.
But Gretna were not about to become lambs to the slaughter. The next 20 minutes saw the visitors gain a foothold in the game and they did pose problems for Shire especially down the flanks. The defence stayed resolute in the face of the visitors’ probing, though, and for all Gretna’s enterprise and enthusiasm they found it hard to get a clear shot on target.
Jamie Barclay in the Shire goal helped out his defensive team mates by making some crucial takes from dangerous-looking cross balls.
But as the half wore on Shire started to re-establish some control. After 27 minutes an Andy Rodgers shot went just wide and on 36 minutes some great football set up Simon White for what looked as though it would be a net-bursting finish. But the youngster, in his eagerness, blazed over the bar from six yards.
Three minutes later Rodgers somehow engineered a shot from a tight angle that flew across the face of goal and smacked the far post with the Shire fans ready to celebrate a goal.
After the break Ure fired a long-range shot into keeper Danny Armstrong’s midriff and Rodgers slid a great 25 yarder just wide. But the lead was only 1-0 and Shire might have been vulnerable.
Gretna tried to pick up the pace and David Reynard attempted to beat Barclay at his near post but shot wide.
Then, after 52 minutes, a sigh of relief. Ure’s free-kick played David Grant in down the right wing and he went on a mazy run into the box which ended with a cut-back for Paul Sludden to fire the ball into the back of the net for Shire’s second goal.
Shire then went about exerting complete control over the game. After taking a few minutes to consolidate their advantage they added two more goals in the space of two minutes midway through the half.
After 66 minutes Faulds ran from half way to penalty box before slipping a pass in behind the defence for David Grant to run on to and score with an angled shot into the far corner of the net.
Then a wonderful piece of Andy Rodgers magic had the Shire fans out of their seats after 68 minutes. He took a pass from David Grant 20 yards out and, with almost no back lift at all, powered home a shot which flew past the keeper before he had time to react.
Three minutes later a great move set up Simon White but his dipping half-volley cannoned back off the crossbar with the keeper beaten. A minute later Armstrong came to Gretna’s rescue with a great diving save from Sludden’s shot.
The pace did not slacken. Graeme MacGregor tried to get in on the scoring act but was beaten by a brave save from Armstrong, while Rodgers tried a cheeky attempt to beat the keeper at his near post but hit the side netting.
After 83 minutes Drew Ramsay’s pinpoint cross from the left was swept into the net to give David Grant his hat-trick and end the scoring at 5-0.
SHIRE : Barclay, MacGregor, Ramsay, A. Grant, Greene, White(Peddie 75), Rodgers, Ure(Murray 71), D. Grant, Sludden, Faulds(McGuigan 79).
GRETNA 2008 : Armstrong, Brannan, Wood, Simpson, Inglis, B. Murray, Reynard(Casey 71), Studholme, McCartney, C. Murray, Wadge.
|East Stirlingshire (Ochilview Park)|
|55 Gladstone Rd, Stenhousemuir, Larbert FK5, UK|
|#||Player||Position||Goals||Assists||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|6||Simon White 16||Midfielder||0||0||0||0|
|8||Derek Ure 14||Midfielder||0||1||0||0|
|9||David Grant 12||Forward||3||2||0||0|
|12||Dylan McGuigan 9||Midfielder||0||0||0||0|
|14||Adam Murray 8||Defender||0||0||0||0|
|16||Lewis Peddie 6||Midfielder||0||0||0||0|