Five star performance from new look Shippy.
The new era for the Shipyard under the leadership of Grant Brough got off to winning start as the Shippy beat Stirling University 5-3 at Recreation Park on Saturday. New fewer than six players made their debuts for the Shippy as Brough quickly stamped his mark on the squad. Sandy Strang, Callum McAulay, Rab Kinnaird and Tam Graham pulled on a Shipyard strip for the first time while Ben Saunders and Pete Bell debuted for the second time.
The new management team did not have to wait long to celebrate their first goal as the Shipyard took the lead in the 5th minute. A corner from the left was played into the six-yard box and Brodie Hamilton was on hand to knock the ball home. Stirling’s first chance came in the tenth minute but Sean Malpas produced a fine save to deny the visitors. Both teams were intent on attacking and the Shippy went close when Brian Breen’s header was excellently saved by John Allan in the student’s goal. At the other end Saunders reacted quickly to clear the ball off his own line. A McAulay pass sent Hamilton clear in the 23rd minute but the striker was denied by another good save from Allan. However, Hamilton did not have to wait long for another chance and this time he lobbed the advancing keeper after latching onto Breen’s through ball to find the net. The University started to put the Shippy defence under sustained pressure and the home team were grateful to scramble the ball clear as the ball ricocheted around the box. The students got a reward for their efforts and goals in the 35th and 38th from Malcolm Burgess had them level. The Shippy were doing well to keep Stirling at bay with Malpas twice denying Burgess his hat-trick but it was the Shippy who had the final say in the first half as fine build up play between Strang and Breen set up McAulay who made no mistake from close range.
The Shipyard started the second half on the front foot and went close twice in as many minutes. First Breen saw his 22yard free-kick go narrowly wide and then Hamilton dragged his shot wide from inside the box. Malpas produced a smart save to thwart Keir Whitefield when he was put through on goal in the 54th minute. 60 seconds later the Shipyard restored their two-goal lead when Breen’s cross was dummied by Hamilton allowing Kinnaird the easiest of chances as he notched a debut goal. Ten minutes later Stirling were back in it as Burgess completed his hat-trick from the centre of the box. Strang then became the third Shippy player to score on his debut as he coolly converted sub Owen Ferry’s cross. Burgess who was by far Stirling’s best player showed he was still a major threat as he hit the post in the 76th minute but the Shippy were able to contain the students in the closing stages and Malpas was only called into action once more as he saved in the 93rd minute.
New Manager Grant Brough shared his first post match thoughts when he said ” I have to say I’m absolutely delighted with the win today in our first match in charge. Most pleasing was how the team played and how they reacted after blowing a two goal lead, it was even more impressive given the fact we started six new players. The way they worked together as a unit was brilliant and testament to the hard work and commitment the players have shown on the training ground in the last two weeks”. Grant was quick to post a note of caution when he added “We’re not getting too carried away as although we scored five fantastic goals we conceded three, which I feel with a bit organisation and discipline could had been avoided. Another really pleasing thing for me was our u20’s won on Friday night yet again. The start they have made has been fantastic and it’s very encouraging, as it’s going to provide us a source of young talent to call on and bring through to the first team in the years to come”. Grant then spoke of the next challenge for himself, Stuart, Ryan and the squad saying “Next week, away to Preston Athletic is going to provide us with a real tough test. We can get out on the training park, get two good sessions under our belts and go to Pennypit with real confidence. And who knows we might have been able to add another player or two to the squad by then”.
Burntisland Shipyard: S. Malpas, S. Powrie, B. Saunders (K. Ford), P. Bell, C. McAleavey, S. Strang, R. Kinnaird (O. Ferry), A. Trialist, B. Hamilton, C. McAulay, B. Breen (T. Graham). Subs: S. Cusick, D. Ginc, C. Lambie.
Stirling University: J. Allan, J. Clubb, A. Gunn, S. Siegel, D. Carrin, H. Ball, D. Collins, K. Whitefield, M. Burgess, A. MacDonald, A. Dey. Subs: M. Shiells, M. MacLean, D. Beaton, M. Baber.
Referee: J. Stewart.