Sneaky Stirling Steal a point
City again missing stalwarts Fleming, Green jnr and Rintoul had a squad of 15 available for the visit of Stirling Wanderers on Saturday.
Miller took skipperage in Fleming’s absence with McInally and Rintoul running the side-lines.
City started off with:
Brown in goals, Buchanan at RB, Maxl at sweeper, Cunniffe at CB and K Buttercase LB. Midfield was Ben Buttercase and Gareth Edwards in the Middle with Campbell wide left and Luff wide right. Spreng and Kinnear started up front.
This left Miller, Green, Coles and Murray on the bench.
Stirling with no first team game on the day fielded a strong line up – which included ex City player Deon Du Preez.
City through some excellent stick work by James Spreng created the first major chance – Spreng holding the ball up on the right before playing in Kinnear through on goal.
Kinnear was tackled hard by a Stirling defender which probably warranted a short corner – but recovered to strike the ball home to put City one goal up. However to everyone’s amazement – including the Stirling players the Stirling umpire chopped the goal off sighting a stick tackle on a Wanderers defender – even though this was clearly impossible as Donald had control of the ball until he was harshly tackled.
Spreng asked the umpire what was wrong with the goal and was Green carded for asking then Yellowed for telling the umpire that he must have been joking.
It was clear from this moment that we were not going to get many decisions in our favour.
When Miller was interjected into play – this quickly brought about a first goal that could not be chopped off. Man Mountain Edwards won the ball in midfield – fed Miller who played the ball to Spreng inside the D – Spreng first timed the ball to Miller who ran into the D and Miller carried the ball a yard before stroking the ball past the goalkeeper.
City dominated the majority of the first half and should have had numerous short corners but none were awarded.
City led 1.0 at the break but deserved on balance of play to be further ahead.
City dominated a lot of play again in the second half with most of the pressure – but no clear cut chances.
Stirling did equalise however on the break when an attacker was allowed too much time on the left hand side of the d where he reverse stick shot past the helpless Brown in goal.
Stirling then made in 2.1 as the Stirling umpire allowed the attacker to kick the ball twice in front of goal before he shot home.
To compound things Stirling through another attack were allowed an advantage in the D – this went on and the striker shot well past the post – however the umpire decided that a clear shot at goal was not a good enough advantage so a short corner was awarded from which Stirling scored. When asked about the decision it was cited that as the shot was being taken Edwards tackled the man which was not the case.
City kept plugging away and never let their spirits go down – in prior seasons this could have been a catalyst for the heads going down – and many goals against – but not this year – we fought as a team to try and get back into the game.
This looked a lost cause however with less than 15 minutes on the clock to go.
City took the game to Stirling – however Stirling proved stubborn at the back.
Two off the ball incidents went unspotted as the Stirling keeper hit both Spreng and Miller with his stick intentionally off the ball.
City finally got a goal back through a short corner with 12 minutes to go – Miller pushed out to Spreng who weighed up his options before playing it back to Miller who deflected it home.
City continued to press – Kinnear then played Edwards through on the keeper with a sublime pass. Edwards defied gravity as he shimmed past the keeper and just when he was going to score was taken out by a violent lunge from the keeper midrift high sending him tumbling to the ground. The keeper was Yellow carded and sent off the park for 10 mins which was the very least he deserved – Edwards picked himself up – and Spreng was given the task of scoring the penalty flick which he did with ease.
City had ten minutes to try win the game but found Stirling just putting numbers behind the ball.
With a minute left on the clock City had their final opportunity – a short corner – unfortunately for City the keeper was invited back on for the short corner – Spreng received the ball from Miller – again weighed up his options before unleashing a flick which rattled the post.
The final whistle blew and City were left feeling gutted that they had not won – and felt robbed for obviously reasons of the 3 points. Had that last minute flick gone in justice would have been done.
This was a good solid City display – which merited a different outcome – however we never throughout the game let our heads go down – fighting for each other.
Some good performances on show from all with no weak links. Buchanan did well for the second week in a row at right back which Cunniffe and Maxl in the centre of defence went around their work well.
Edwards and Ben Buttercase are forming a good understanding in the middle of the park – Ben doing a lot of tackling running up and down the pitch all day – letting Stirling danger man Deon have very little opportunity to get into the game. Edwards and his late surging runs proved vital in getting the equaliser.
Spreng up from with various combinations did well holding the ball up and feeding the ball to those around him. There was one occasion he held onto the ball too well for Stirling as he was stick tackled multiple times before a Stirling player received his marching orders with a Green card.
All in this was 2 points stolen and a good all round performance. Hopefully more of the same next week minus the unfortunate goals against.