Having missed the three goal defeat at Falkirk in the League Challenge, RedWeb was back in full match report action for today’s trip to Gayfield. With the league opener looming against Annan at Forthbank next weekend it was vital for the Beanos to up their game against our old foes from the Angus coast. In their competitive opener Paul Sheerin’s men rattled seven past Elgin in a Borough Briggs twelve goal jamboree. On paper then it seemed unlikely that the game would finish goalless. Team lines for Stirling showed four changes from the match at the Falkirk Stadium. Out went the suspended Sam Filler along with the mysteriously absent Gary Thom, Stephen Day and Daly McSorley. Into the starting XI came new signing keeper David Crawford, youngster Jamie Clark, former Lichtie Kieran McAnespie and Scott Davidson.
On a day when the sunshine was steadily replaced by a thick seaside har the match kicked off with the Beanos attacking the goals to the right of the main stand. It was the visitors who made the quicker start and it took the woodwork to deny them in the opening moments. Kieran McAnespie and Mark Ferry combined down the Stirling left and it was Ferry who steered in a first time sidefoot which Darren Hill did well to palm onto his left hand post. A decent cross then picked out Scott Davidson whose close range header was comfortably held by Hill in the home goal. The first threat from Arbroath came when last week’s hattrick hero Lee Sibanda drilled a low effort into the gloves of David Crawford.
After a sluggish start the Division Two side eventually began to push Stirling back. Steven Doris scuffed a weak strike past Crawford’s right hand post. The Arbroath fans then began to celebrate a goal only to be disappointed as Darren Gribben’s well struck shot skimmed into the side netting. Former Beano Gribben then came within inches of giving his new side the lead. The ball was collected on the left hand edge of the Albion box and Gribben’s curling effort clattered off Crawford’s right hand post before rebounding into the grateful gloves of the Stirling keeper.
After this flurry of activity around the Albion box it was the visitors who began to look the stronger in the closing stages of the first period. Kieran McAnespie did well to drive into the box and commit former Albion man Scott Robertson whose clumsy tackle had referee Paul Robertson pointing to the spot. Was it a penalty ? Soft but as ever you’ve seen them given. From the spot MARK FERRY drilled the ball down the centre of the goal to give his side the lead. This proved to be the last noteworthy incident of the first 45 and so as the teams trooped off for the half-time Maryland crab cakes it was the visitors who held sway.
Half-TimeArbroath 0 Stirling Albion 1
Ex-Beano Scott Roberson seemed to take a knock in the first half and so was replaced by Michael Travis as the match restarted. Slow start to the second half and Paul Sheerin clearly wasn’t impressed as he decided on a second change with Darren Gribben making way for big Derek Holmes. The first yellow card of the day arrived when Kieran McAnespie was carded for a late tackle near the left touchline. It then took a great tip over from David Crawford to deny the home side a leveller following a good delivery into the Albion box. No idea who headed it (it was misty !) but it was a good stop none the less.
With still plenty of time to play the home side then took a bit of a gamble as they used their third and last replacement. Off went Lee Sibanda and on came Daniel Rennie. At this stage Stirling were still to make any of their changes. As the crowd of 579 was being announced a trundler from recent arrival Daniel Rennie was easily saved by David Crawford. To be honest the second half wasn’t the best. Stirling had some good positions but on too many occasions simply lost possession or played in a poor cross. At the other end Arbroath weren’t doing much better as chances dried up completely.
With time winding down it almost looked like the home side were out of ideas. However, just as soon as that thought entered Albion heads the inevitable happened. A poor clearance was collected and shuttled out to the Arbroath right from where a deep cross was met by PAUL CURRIE who buried the ball past David Crawford. A goal out of nothing. Arbroath maybe deserved a leveller for their efforts but you couldn’t really see it coming. Ah well. As an aside, another later goal, something we seem to specialise in.
A couple of late changes for the Beanos as Gary Brass and Ross McGeachie replaced Bradley Coyne and Kieran McAnespie respectively. Have to admit to being disappointed in Coyne. Offered very little and struggled to get into the game at all. Paul Sheerin blazed over as Arbroath looked for a winner. They should have got it in the dying seconds of the 90 as Steven Doris broke clear only to dink the ball past David Crawford and the post with Paul Currie screaming for a pass.
Time was soon up and so it was off into extra time.
Full TimeArbroath 1 Stirling Albion 1
Daly McSorley came on for Gavin Macpherson as extra time got underway. Macpherson had an OK first half but in the second returned to some of his old bad habits with sloppy possession and stray passes. The big lad has something but seems to struggle to put it together for long periods. Worth noting that Arbroath were now down to 10 men. Having used all three subs they were now having to play a man light after Daniel Rennie went off after a clash of heads with Kieran McAnespie. The man advantage made a huge difference to the balance of play with Arbroath now looking content to take the game to spot kicks. The question was could the visitors take advantage ?
With Arbroath firmly on the back foot Gary Brass and Graham Weir did well to set up Mark Ferry who blasted the ball over from only 10 yards out. Great chance wasted. Steven Doris got on the end of a right wing cross for the hosts but his shot was wild and ended up out of the ground. A man up the Beanos continued to monopolise possession but were being extremely wasteful with it. A lack of width wasn’t helping the cause and time after time the ball was gifted back to Arbroath.
The second period of extra time followed that of the first with Stirling controlling play. A good run from Ross McGeachie ended with Gary Brass teeing up Graham Weir for a snapshot which flew high and wide. A scramble in the Arbroath box saw Mark Ferry have two bites at the cherry but Darren Hill was on the spot to block the first before diverting the second for a corner. Home defender David Banjo then dawdled in possession and Mark Ferry nipped in only pull his shot wide.
With extra time almost up Arbroath’s 10 men had just about reached their goal of penalties. Plenty of effort from Stirling but not enough guile to break down the home defence. Slightly worrying at this early stage that the Albion attack does look a tad powder puff. With only seconds to go Daniel Rennie reappeared. Not sure why. Can only imagine he can take a penalty. A last gasp shot from Danny Ashe was tugged miles wide and his team mates were not slow to tell him about it.
Time for penalties.
Penalty 1 – Stirling (Graham Weir) MISS ; Arbroath (Steven Doris) SCORE ; 0-1
Penalty 2 – Stirling (Scott Davidson) SCORE ; Arbroath (Derek Holmes) SCORE ; 1-2
Penalty 3 – Stirling (Daly McSorley) SCORE ; Arbroath (Paul Sheerin) MISS ; 2-2
Penalty 4 – Stirling (Mark Ferry) MISS ; Arbroath (Paul Currie) SCORE ; 2-3
Penalty 5 – Stirling (Danny Ashe) MISS
Arbroath win 3-2 on penalties.
Ach well. Not to be. Not overly disappointed with the result, more the display which left more questions than answers. We really should have had enough about us to get a goal against the 10 man hosts in extra time. More than enough of the ball. Sadly not enough football smarts to get the job done. Still plenty of work to do for the coaching staff if this squad is to be a threat to the top teams in Division Three next season.