Poor finishing hands the Shippy another defeat.
Although the final score indicates otherwise, this was a game the Shipyard could and should have had wrapped up by half time. Several gilt edge chances, including a penalty, were missed and the Shippy were punished for this poor finishing as the students scored three unanswered goals in the second half to take the points.
The hosts started on the front foot and Jordan Mushet saved low to his right from Neil Shave as early as the second minute. The Shippy responded in the 5th minute when Dale Robertson shot wide with an angled drive and the same player went close again after taking a great pass from Brendan Napier. The Shipyard should have taken the lead in the 15th minute when a Robertson cross was headed back across the goal by John Paul McPhail but Napier could only hit the keeper’s legs from around six yards. The visitor’s pressure paid off four minutes later when Robertson crossed for Craig Lowe to head home from close range. A minute later McPhail saw his strike pushed away by keeper Kerr Baptie though he did rather make a meal of it. From the resultant corner Ben Couper saw his effort from ten yards cleared off the line. The students came back into things as Rory MacEwan ballooned over from 16yards and then Mushet gathered a Malcolm Burgess free-kick at the second attempt. Stirling were level in the 31st minute courtesy of a penalty after Couper fouled Shave as he burst into the box. Burgess made no mistake sending Mushet the wrong way. Just two minutes later the Shipyard were awarded a penalty of their own when keeper Baptie brought down McPhail as he latched on to a Napier pass. Baptie redeemed himself when he dived to his right to push away Napier’s kick. David McCaughie volleyed over for Stirling before the Shipyard had another penalty shout as again Baptie dived at the feet of a player, this time Napier, however, the refereed chose to ignore the loud appeals. The Shipyard had another golden chance in the 42nd minute when Napier tricked his way past his man on the by-line to set up McPhail only for the youngster to not get his shot away quickly or powerfully enough and Baptie was able to block with his legs.
For as good as the Shipyard were in the first forty five the second was a different story as the students dominated. Shave saw a shot deflected for a corner in the 49th minute and five minutes later the University took the lead. The Shipyard lost possession from a short corner and when Stirling broke up the park McCaughie produced a fine finish from the edge of the box with the ball going in off the post. Lowe had a shot saved as the Shippy tried to equalise and their cause wasn’t helped when the referee twice needlessly pulled play back after quick free-kicks were taken to set up good attacking opportunities. The students scored a third in the 70th minute when the Shipyard defence stood still appealing for offside though Shave sensibly played on and slotted the ball into the net. Stirling scored a fourth in the 74th minute and almost added a fifth with two minutes remaining when Mushet rushed yards outside his box, tried to bring the player down without success and was fortunate to see the ball drift wide of his goal and not pick up a card for his challenge.
A clearly unhappy Alex Lowe was brief when he said after the game “After a good first half performance where we should have went in at least two goals up and had the game won, we let ourselves down with a very poor second half performance where our passing, energy, drive and application was not good enough”.
Stirling University: K. Baptie; J. Greig; M. McAnespie; J. Mooney; G. Monro (J. Halley); H. Ball; D. McCaughie; R. MacEwan (D. Collins); N. Shave; M. Burgess (M. Shiells); L. Allison.
Burntisland Shipyard: J. Mushet; B. Saunders; P. Bell; G. Haywood; B. Couper; E. Fotheringham (A. Doig); M. James; C. Lowe; JP. McPhail; B. Napier; D. Robertson.
Referee: C. Wilson.