Cumbernauld Colts 1 East Stirlingshire 4: Title aspirations alive but unlikely
A second half goal blitz from East Stirlingshire secured a 4-1 victory against Cumbernauld Colts on Saturday at a windy Broadwood Stadium.
Goals from Nicky Low, Sean Brown, Jordan Tapping and Andy Rodgers ensured Shire bounced back from last week’s damaging defeat to Spartans. However, Kelty Hearts’ emphatic 11-0 win on Saturday further underlined the seemingly impossible task that awaits Shire if they are to keep their title aspirations alive.
Playing directly into strong gusts in the first half stifled much of Shire’s attempts to open the scoring, but the difficult conditions didn’t stop Shire looking the more likely of the two sides. The hosts struggled to cope with an energetic Bobby Barr, but the tricky winger couldn’t turn his clear threat into a vital opener.
That almost proved costly for the visitors with Reis Peggie’s goal saving intervention on the stroke of half time keeping his side level.
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Peggie’s defensive heroics proved pivotal moments later. Low, who has cemented himself as Shire’s second top scorer, netted his sixth goal of the season when he fired home from inside the Colts’ box to finally break the home side’s resistance.
Having the wind onside in the second half fuelled a Shire attacking onslaught. Efforts from Low, Barr and Peggie went begging as the away side looked to extend their advantage. Shire’s pressure paid off when Brown doubled the lead. The influential Barr found Matty Flynn who
cushioned the ball back into the path of the former Colts’ man to finish off a fine attacking move and put Shire firmly in control.
Colts, who had largely been on the defensive, looked bereft of ideas. However, Derek Ure was left frustrated when Richard Kirwan tucked Max Ashmore’s corner away with ease to give the hosts hope of a second half revival.
Shire’s response was almost instant. From the restart, Flynn’s audacious attempt from the halfway line cracked the frame of Jonathan Grier’s goal before going out for a goal kick – much to the keeper’s relief.
Shire’s dominant response was rewarded with a crucial third goal. Barr’s teasing delivery from a corner was met emphatically by Tapping who thundered a header into the back of the net to give Shire some much needed breathing space.
Evan Horne’s dismissal did little to stem the tide of Shire’s dominance. And, in a calamitous turn of events for the hosts, they gifted Ure’s side a penalty. Rodgers, fresh off the bench, stepped up to fire past Grier and round off a solid day’s work for the visitors.