Shire 6 Preston 2: Goals galore yet again

Scoring four goals in a game for David Grant was no big deal. The East Stirlingshire striker was naturally pleased to have broken a four game personal goal drought in the team’s important Lowland League victory over Preston Athletic.

But in terms of personal records it paled into insignificance compared with previous goal scoring exploits earlier in his football career.

“I once scored ten in one amateur game,” he said afterwards. “I think we won that game 22-0, but this is the best I have managed at this grade of the game.”

A week after fellow striker Andy Rodgers notched five in the 9-0 victory over Newton Stewart , Grant admitted he could have surpassed the former Falkirk man’s tally, especially in the second half when he missed two straightforward chances. But the important achievements were team ones, he claimed, and not personal milestones.

“It seems like he’s getting a few one week and I’m getting a few the next,” said Grant, who now has 19 goals for the season. “But as long as we keep on winning then it doesn’t matter who is scoring. We just need to keep on going, picking up three points and grinding out results. We just need to go out and try to win every single game and I think we are starting to pick that up. As long as we can keep on winning we can put pressure on (league leaders) East Kilbride.”

News of the top team’s first defeat of the season filtered through after full-time and gave everyone an extra bounce in their step as they left Ochilview but catching East Kilbride remains a long-off goal.

First Shire have to concentrate on getting things right in their own house. This was their seventh straight home league win and was achieved with relative comfort but not without the odd worry.

They really should have been on easy street after Grant opened the scoring just 45 seconds after kick-off and when he side-footed home a perfectly-judged cross from Paul Sludden after 26 minutes it looked as though the home team might settle down.

But Preston did not roll over easily. A poor pass back allowed Stuart Ritchie in after 33 minutes. Seven minutes later, though, Shire redeemed themselves by taking a 3-1 advantage into the break when Liam Allison headed home another great Sludden cross.

Ritchie’s 53 rd minute header from six yards made it 3-2 and the Shire faithful exchanged nervous glances but straight from the re-start a Rodgers cross found Grant, who beat his man before shooting home his third and Shire’s fourth goal. After 63 minutes he got his fourth, firing home after waiting for the rebound when Sludden’s rasping 25 yarder hit the crossbar.

With 14 minutes left Rodgers completed the scoring when he collected Connor Hogg’s half-blocked cross to shoot home from six yards.