SFL v Stirling Albion


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division

Attendance: 944, Kick Off: 7:30pm.

Referee: Steve Conroy

After a soaking wet day in Central Scotland during which snow covered the surrounding hills it was a relief that the Doubletree Hilton Stadium had a lush green pitch that was very playable. Jim McIntyre made two changes from the starting eleven that defeated Falkirk on Tuesday; Martin Hardie was ill so David Graham came in and Trialist Graham Bayne took the place of Alex Burke.

For Stirling Scott Buist was suspended and both Jonathan Brown, Gordon Smith dropped out of Jocky Scott`s line up against Cowdenbeath meaning Ryan Borris, Chris Aitken and Tom Brighton were in the team. The home side were late out to warm up and the kick off was just after 7.30pm.

The visitors kicked off and within 20 seconds won the first corner of the game. Joe Cardle sent that over from the right but the effort was easily cleared. The Pars pushed up and after Mason and Graham exchanged passes midway inside the Albion half, Austin McCann and then Cardle swung over crosses to no avail but when Calum Woods sent one over from the right in five minutes the opener arrived. Cardle received, took a touch inside and fired low at the far post. KIRK stepped in to place the deflected shot past Scott Christie. 1-0

McCann was getting plenty of room down the left and in nine minutes played in Steven McDougall to Cardle and another cross went in but the keeper held. Stirling won their first corner three minutes later and that led to Chris Smith getting his first touch of the game. Next McCann sent at neet pass through the middle for Cardle to run on to. His shot from 25 yards went wide right.

A 16th minute Cardle corner from the left was knocked by Bayne at the back post but there were no takers. Play continued towards Christie with Cardle firing another cross through the box and then McDougall forced a great save out of Christie from a useful Graham cross. In 19 minutes Cardle`s corner travelled to Graham 25 yards out whose chip was met by Kirk but his header from seven yards landed on the roof of the net.

An injury to Chris Aitken meant that Stephen Stirling was the first sub of the night in 21 minutes. Andy Kirk mopped up a defensive clearance on a McCann cross and smashed it across the six yard box where Bayne turned it over the bar. Then in 25 minutes the Pars fans were on their feet as Cardle`s cross was headed on by Kirk but the ball escaped around the right post.

Dunfermline were well on top but Tom Brighton managed to hit the Binos` first shot of the game two minutes later but that was aimed at the Wallace Monument. Cardle had two pops on target; the first was turned behind for a corner, the next a dipping shot from 25 yards was held by Christie.

Stirling took their chance in 32 minutes when Ryan BORRIS was not closed out on the edge of the area. He hit a spectacular shot in off the left goalpost. 1-1.

Two minutes later a Kirk cross was turned back into the path of McDougall and his rocket of a shot from 25 yards was deflected over the bar.

Cardle sent over a fierce cross in 37 minutes but the central defence intercepted that as it was about to be turned in by Kirk. A McCann cross was then sent over the bar but Stirling kept the defence alert when Scott Robertson broke through to shoot wildly high and wide.

After an off the ball incident Michael Doyle was red carded just two minutes before the interval after having a go at Cardle. The Pars finished the half strongly but at the interval at least on goals scored the teams were level.

Half Time: Stirling Albion 1 Dunfermline 1

The Pars were sent out early for the second period no doubt to show their eagerness to score a goal to get their led back. Calum Woods sent the first attempt over the bar in 47 minutes. The ten men got a grip of the midfield for a spell with Welsh having to be closed out by McCann and then Robertson blocked out by the central defence.

A Cardle run in 55 minutes brought a save out of the Stirling keeper but it was Stirling who forced a corner on the left. A right footed inswinger was easily cleared but the travelling support were growing impatient. Pat Clarke replaced Graham Bayne in 57 minutes and almost immediately produced a shot for Christie to save at the near post.

On the hour Keddie headed down a free kick that McDougall thrashed on target but again the shot was blotted out. There was dismay as Graham`s 65th minute cross evaded Kirk and Cardle turned the ball past the left goalpost. Another chance then came McDougall`s way but his rising shot from 15 yards cleared the bar.

A Higgins free kick from half way found Keddie in the Stirling box but his header went wide right. The ten men in red were doing remarkably well and scarcely missing their man in the stand.

Liam Buchanan entered the fray in 73 minutes in preference to Steven McDougall but it was Stirling who came forward with a spare man on the right - it was McHale and fortunately his low shot travelled across the face of goal and past the far post. Back at the other end Graham fired a shot from 30 yards that sailed narrowly over the top and the same outcome came about from a Buchanan shot in 78 minutes.

A McCann cross was lofty but it dropped out to Mason who smacked in a shot but he was wide of target and Buchanan just missed the touch that would have converted it. Cardle`s two corners didn`t alter things but the Pars were nearly caught on the counter. McCann`s pass back from wide left let Michael Mullen speed away one on one with Smith but the keeper did really well to touch the ball wide although it was a shocking miss by the Stirling striker.

McCann then tested Christie with a good long range effort but the orange shirted keeper saved again. Cardle spun and shot but missed wide right and next Cardle hit a low one that again Christie held. Buchanan`s shot on the turn from a Kirk cut back was deflected over the bar and Keddie`s shot from the subsequent corner was blasted at the keeper.

Try as they might Dunfermline could not find the net and it ended all square. Every forward in the squad had an opportunity to snatch a goal but only Kirk`s 5th minute goal was all the Fifers could manage.

STIRLING ALBION: Scott Christie; Michael Doyle, Brian Allison, Martyn Corrigan, Ryan Borris, Chris Aitken (Stephen Stirling 21), Paul McHale, Scott Robertson, Sean Welsh, Michael Mullen (John Kane 85), Tom Brighton (Gordon Smith 76).
SUBS NOT USED: Andy Gibson, Murray Jackson (GK)
SCORER: Borris (32)
RED CARD: Doyle (43)

DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith; Calum Woods, Chris Higgins, Alex Keddie, Austin McCann (c); David Graham, Gary Mason, Steven McDougall (Liam Buchanan 73); Trialist (Pat Clarke 57), Andy Kirk, Joe Cardle,
SUBS NOT USED: Ryan Thomson, Alex Burke, Greg Paterson (GK).
SCORER: Kirk (5)


NEXT MATCH: (home) SFL First Division v Stirling Albion
Saturday 19th March 2011, kick off 3.00pm

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