Shire 3 Cumbernauld 0: Sludden's men end year with fine win

Andy Rodgers fires home East Stirlingshire's opener against Cumbernauld Colts (pic by Craig Halkett)
Andy Rodgers fires home East Stirlingshire's opener against Cumbernauld Colts (pic by Craig Halkett)

A brace from Andy Rodgers and a goal from Connor Greene saw East Stirlingshire to an impressive 3-0 victory over Cumbernauld Colts, and moved four points ahead of their visitors in the process.

Colts were looking to leapfrog Shire into fourth place, but the home side started like a team who knew the importance of the fixture.

And after Andy Rodgers and Stephen Brisbane both missed excellent chances in the first ten minutes, the former made amends when he raced through on goal and beat Max Currie at his near post.

Colts were well and truly on the ropes, and seconds later found themselves 2-0 down when a lapse of concentration at the back allowed Connor Greene to head in unchallenged at the back post from Derek Ure's corner.

The visitors had Currie to thank for keeping the deficit at two, making an excellent save at point blank range from Paul Sludden's effort.

Currie's counterpart Jamie Barclay was called into action for the first time on 20 minutes, when Gavin Lachlan's free kick from the left after Greene had brought down Stephen O'Neill looked dangerous, but the keeper was able to scramble it behind for a corner after initially fumbling.

Shire's Jamie McCormack was lucky to escape with just a yellow card after a malicious challenge from behind left O'Neill requiring medical attention, and sparked fury from the Colts players who were clearly growing in frustration as the first half progressed.

Cumbernauld's Sean Brown came within a fingertip of halfing Shire's lead minutes before the break, meeting a corner from the right with a good header, but Barclay made a terrific save diving to his left to turn it away.

And the match was ended as a contest seven minutes after the break when Richard Kirwan was caught in no man's land, allowing Rodgers to slot in his second from close range.