East Stirlingshire completed yet another dramatic turnaround as they progressed to the final of the Lowland League Cup with a 2-1 win against Spartans at Ainslie Park on Saturday.
Two successive comebacks against Civil Service Strollers and Cumbernauld Colts have kept Shire’s league cup aspirations alive. However, facing a Spartans side looking to redeem their own shortcomings posed a tricky proposition for Derek Ure’s side.
Shire have struggled to find their feet early in games for most of the season and, unfortunately for Derek Ure, that was on full display yet again. Stand in Spartans’ skipper Adam Corbett rose highest to thunder an unstoppable header into the roof of the net to quickly dampen Shire’s feel good factor.
Shire, while visibly disappointed by yet another slow start, could take heart in the fact that they had fallen behind in their two previous matches only to turn it around in the second half. However, any sense of a comeback looked remote with Spartans well on top in the first half.
Blair Atkinson, having looked in menacing form from the off, should have put daylight between the two sides when he found himself one on one with Jamie Barclay, but the reliable stopper came out on top to deny the Spartans front man a fifth goal in three games against Shire.
The second half brought no changes in personnel, but the difference in Shire was clear as they probed for an equaliser that had looked unlikely in the first half. They very nearly had it when Liam Allison’s cross found Andy Grant, but the Shire defender couldn’t direct his effort on target. Allison was involved again shortly after when his effort on goal smashed off the crossbar to the dismay of the travelling support. However, Connor Greene reacted quickest to prod in the rebound ahead of a sluggish Spartans defence to level the score line.
Having survived an attacking onslaught from the hosts in the first half, Shire looked to sustain their own period of attacking pressure with Andy Rodgers denied what looked to be a certain decider by Blair Carswell in the Spartans goal.
Carswell’s heroics were in vain, however, with Steven Brisbane making Shire’s second half pressure count and sending Shire fans into delirium at the thought of ending a sub-par campaign with silverware.
Shire will play BSC Glasgow in the final at East Peffermill this Sunday.