Andy Rodgers reckons if East Stirlingshire can keep the back door shut their strike force will be too hot for the Lowland League to live with.
The team proved his point with Wednesday night’s 4-1 victory over Stirling University. Rodgers helped himself to two more goals making it six in six starts for the veteran front man.
David Grant scored his eleventh league goal in just eight games and Jamie Glasgow bagged his sixth of the season as Shire eased to victory at Ochilview.
In all it’s already 30 for the season and the campaign isn’t even a third of the way through. But Rodgers rightly recognises that it’s defensive frailties, like the inexplicable 7-4 loss last Saturday at Selkirk, that will cost Shire unless they sort it out.
“There’s no doubt that we will score goals in this league,” he said. “David Grant is a quality player to play alongside but we need to get things sorted out at the back. If we can do that then I don’t think there will be many teams in the league who can live with the quality we have up front.
“The back four stood up well, which was important after what happened at Selkirk,” said Rodgers. “Stirling University are a decent side who, I think, train three or four times a week so we knew they were going to pose us problems.
“The performance as a whole was everything we wanted so we just need to kick on from here.”
It was clear straight from the start that what happened at Selkirk had stung Shire badly. Within a minute of kicking-off against the students, Kris Faulds had seen his near post shot blocked for a corner and Rodgers shaved the outside of the post with an effort from the edge of the box.
Their opponents did their best to test Shire; they had pace and passed with precision but, thankfully, there was no sign of the chaos which had prevailed in the Borders. It was difficult to recall Jamie Barclay in the Shire goal having a save to make.
Shire took the lead after 20 minutes when Rodgers’ powerful header from the six yard line found the back of the net, although Faulds’ pinpoint cross from the right helped make the job a straightforward one.
But within a minute a failure to cut out a cross from the left gave Ross Kellock, unmarked at the back post, an opportunity to equalise which he took. Shire fans worried about what might happen next in the end had nothing to fear. Within seconds of the re-start Simon White played David Grant through on goal and he was tripped by the advancing keeper as the striker tried to take the ball round him. Rodgers scored from the penalty spot and Shire just went for the killer third goal.
It arrived on the stroke of half-time. A cute flick from Rodgers played Glasgow in 20 yards from goal and he finished off a great move with a delightful curling finish in at the far post.
Four minutes after the break it was 4-1. Faulds crossed the ball in to Glasgow at the near post and the winger back heeled it across the face of goal for David Grant to score.
With the game won Shire could afford to withdraw Rodgers and Glasgow early with an important game against Spartans coming up.
They were happy from there on in to keep Stirling at arms length, a job made easier when the visitors’ Angus Mailer was shown a straight red card for a late lunge at White.