Stirling Albion v Stenhousemuir at Forthbank Stadium on 03.03.10
Irn Bru Scottish Second Division Att 473
Stirling Albion 1 [Aitken 6] Stenhousemuir 1 [Thom 40]
Stenhousemuir made one change to the starting eleven in this game from that fielded on Saturday with Stephen Thomson returning after suspension and this meant that the team saw several other players feature in their more regular positions.
Stirling have played few games recently but were able to go with the same side that demolished Dumbarton in their last outing that was felt by meant to be the best that they had played all season ,so the Warriors knew that if the home side played to that potential that they could be in for a torrid time.
Stirling Albion took only six minutes to get onto the score sheet when Chris Aitken blasted a 25 yard freekick into the top corner of the net with Chris McCluskey rooted to the spot. The foul conceded had been a soft one at best and this was definitely a case of the punishment not fitting the crime.
There was a hint of controversy in the // minute when Chris McLeod was cautioned for an aerial challenge with Stephen McKenna with the Albion forward going to the ground. With their supporters roaring for a dismissal the referee chose the wrong card for them producing yellow rather than red. The fact that McKenna did not need any treatment for his injury seemed to indicate that Mr Law would have been harsh in his judgement if McLeod had been sent off.
Stenhousemuir were struggling to get going at all on a cold night and looked as if they needed to thaw out and the home side were well on top and good value for their lead as the game progressed and always seemed the most likely team to get another goal. It then came as a surprise when the Warriors equalised against the run of play. Not for the first time this season the breakthrough was from a corner kick. It was still a shock though as the delivery of set pieces up to that point in the game had been abject. The scorer was Gary Thom who stooped to head home a Kevin Motion corner at the back post after 40 minutes.
This goal gave the Warriors some belief in themselves and they began to get more to the pace of the game and to look more threatening throughout as the lift that they got was palpable.
The second half started with the Warriors taking the play to Stirling as they strived to get a second goal and as the game progressed they looked as if they would make the breakthrough. The closest that they came in the early stages was another Motion corner that struck the crossbar with Scott Christie beaten.
Stirling were reduced in numbers in the 62nd minute when ex-Warrior’s favourite Paul Murphy was dismissed after an altercation with Iain Thomson when Thomson was struck by Murphy’s head and the referee had no hesitation in sending the Albion player off for violent conduct in a move that was very much against his nature.
Boosted with the extra man advantage the Warriors pushed forwards as they strived to get the winning goal but despite having a number of openings they rarely tested Christie thanks to a combination of a well drilled Stirling defence allied to the fact that it always seemed to be the wrong option that was taken when the opportunity arose and indeed it was Stirling that almost snatched the lead when a Stuart Elliot freekick was picked up late by McCluskey and he was grateful to scramble th ball just wide.
Referee Anthony Law eventually brought proceedings to an end with the teams still level. For Stenhousemuir this would have felt like two points dropped rather than a point gained but after the way that they had started a point looked out of the equation as well.
Stirling Albion – Christie, Graham, Forsyth, Allison, Murphy [so 63], Aitken, Taggart [Gibson 56], Robertson, McKenna [Elliot 53], Byrne [O’Neil 74] and O’Brien [b16]. Subs not used – Page and Hogarth
Stenhousemuir – McCluskey, Lyle, S.Thomson, Gibb, McLeod [b35], Thom, Love, I.Thomson, Dalziel, D.Smith [Diack 75], and Motion. Subs not used – Quinn, Scullion, Hunter and Bennett
Referee – Anthony Law Assistants – Steven Craven and David McKenzie
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