East Stirlingshire secured a comfortable win against the ten men of Dalbeattie Star on Saturday thanks to goals from Andy Rodgers and Ross Allum.
Shire were hoping to make it four wins on the bounce for the first time this season against a Star side without a win in 12 Lowland League matches; a run that made Derek Ure’s side clear favourites.
The expected Shire onslaught was stifled early on by a Star side content to sit in and soak up the pressure, much to the frustration of the misfiring Shire attack.
However, despite being largely limited by a wall of black and red shirts, Shire should have taken the lead through Ross Allum but the usually clinical front man failed to connect with David McCaughie’s fine cutback.
Allum’s effort seemed to spark the hosts into life as they again went close to opening the scoring through Andy Rodgers.
However, Shire’s talisman couldn’t direct his effort on target after being played through by Paul McCafferty.
Rodger’s, well versed in scoring spectacular goals for Shire, atoned for his earlier miss by opening the scoring in superb fashion. McCafferty, spotting the run of Rodgers down the left wing, played a fine long ball into the Shire front man who expertly took the ball down before firing an unstoppable half-volley into the back of the net.
Star’s job got even harder when Lewis Todd let his frustrations show by gesturing to the home support; an offence that forced the referee to brandish a straight red card.
It very nearly got worse for Star after the interval when Rodgers’ precise cross met the head of Allum. However, Allum’s glancing header evaded the goal by a matter of inches.
A combination of luck and fine last-ditch Star defending denied Rodgers and Allum from doubling their side’s advantage after a scrap in the six-yard box.
Shire’s attacking endeavours finally paid off after a mix up in the Star backline allowed Ross Allum to run through on goal before providing a delicate lobbed finish to give Shire breathing space.
Allum’s strike was his 16 th in the league so far which puts him just two goals behind East Kilbride’s Craig Malcolm in the race to become the season’s top goal scorer.
Shire could have filled their boots were it not for some profligate finishing, but the result was never in doubt as they cruised to a victory that moves them above Cumbernauld Colts into sixth place.
Meanwhile, Star remain just five points clear of last placed Whitehill Welfare.