Warriors lose despite early dominance against Stirling Albion

Stenhousemuir lost their first match of 2022 despite taking the lead against a toiling Stirling Albion side who had lost seven cinch League 2 matches in a row.

By Ben Kearney
Sunday, 2nd January 2022, 4:56 pm
Orr after scoring the early goal
Orr after scoring the early goal

Thomas Orr’s opener had the Warriors in complete control of the first half, but recently appointed manager Darren Young picked up his first win as Binos boss after a Jordan Tapping own goal and a stunning winner from Nathan Flanagan.

The first real moment of quality came ten minutes into the match at Ochilview, with Stenny talisman Euan O’Reilly feeding in Darren Christie with a deft reverse pass. The veteran looked to be one on one with goalkeeper Blair Currie but he was called offside.

Winger Daniel Scally had the visitors first attempt on goal with a venomous long range drive narrowly flying wide of David Wilson’s near post after a throw-in caught out a sleeping Stenny backline.

Stenhousemuir manager Stephen Swift speaks to the match referee

Nathan Flanagan was next to have an effort at the Warriors goal with a weak strike as both sides struggled to take control of a cagey affair.

Ross Forbes tested Currie with a 25-year free kick but the goalkeeper was equal to the driven effort as Stenny looked for the opener.

Moments later they had it. Christie’s quick reactions saw him burst past Kyle Banner to cross into the box and striker Orr was positioned perfectly to score on 25 minutes.

Flanagan looked to respond quickly with an overhead kick from an acute area in the box, but the tame effort hit the side netting.

Euan O'Reilly celebrates with goalscorer Thomas Orr after his first half strike (Pics: Michael Gillen)

Banner nearly grabbed an equaliser on 35 minutes when he peeled away from his marker in the box to force Wilson into a smart save down low.

Just before the half time whistle Ray Grant went close again for the visitors firing just over after Albion’s best passing move of the match saw them force Stenny to defend deep.

Young’s Albion came out with more intent after the break and pinned Stenny back for the opening period. A dangerous free kick from Scally should have been met by a visiting head but his tantalising ball evaded everyone in the box on 52 minutes.

Grant had another decent in the same area just outside the box when he was found by Scally, but he fired well over to the displeasure of the travelling support behind the goal.

It should have been two for the Warriors on the hour mark when Tapping rose highest at a corner and fired a header goalward. Currie made an outstanding reflex save to deny the centre back.

Albion had a claim for a penalty on 63 minutes when Michael Miller challenged Scally in the box but the referee waved away the protests. The young winger quickly recovered and moments later should have scored in the box when found by Grant amongst a sea of Stenhousemuir bodies.

Adam Corbett somehow managed to miss from yards out for the Warriors on 71 minutes when it looked easier to score. O’Reilly’s trickery out wide was superb and his low cross should have been finished off.

Stenny were punished for not grabbing the second when Tapping put the ball into his own net with a comical own goal. The centre back powered an attempted clearance from a free kick into his own net to level the scoring.

The match then turned on its head with Albion taking the lead through a stunning goal from Flanagan with ten minutes to go. The lob from way outside the box was perfectly executed after a defence splitting pass found the midfielder.

Things went from bad to worse for Stephen Swift’s side when O’Reilly was sent off for a second bookable offence after putting in a strong challenge in the middle of the park in the final moments.

Teams

Stenhousemuir: David Wilson, Ross Lyon, Adam Corbett, Sean Crighton, Jordan Tapping, Nat Wedderburn, Ross Forbes, Euan O’Reilly, Michael Miller, Darren Christie, Thomas Orr.

Subs: Adam Brown, BJ Coll, Cammy Graham, Spencer Moreland, Nicky Jamieson, Graeme Smith.

Stirling Albion: Blair Currie, Ross McGeachie, Leo Watson, Kyle Banner, Jordan McGregor, James Creaney, Daniel Scally, Kurtis Roberts, Dale Carrick, Ray Grant, Nathan Flanagan.

Subs: Callum Law, Kieran Moore, Will Greenhorn, Robb Dryden, Sean Heaver, Dylan Bikey.