Played at Cliftonhill Stdium, Coatbridge on Tuesday, 6th March 2012 at 19:45
Albion Rovers v Stenhousemuir at Cliftonhill, Coatbridge on 6.3.12
Irn Bru Scottish Second Division Att 268
Albion Rovers 1 [Werndly 83] Stenhousemuir 0
The Warriors went into this midweek game at Cliftonhill on a wet and miserable night with several changes to the side that had beaten Forfar on the Saturday. Willie Lyle was suspended so Eric Paton filled the right back spot, Kevin McKinlay moved to centre half from left back and Alan Lawson moved from midfield to left back. Iain Thomson moved to midfield to replace the injured Brown Ferguson and Andy Rodgers took up a left midfield role as the pack was reshuffled.
The surroundings may have been miserable but somehow Stenhousemuir made them seem even worse with a dismal performance that saw few if any positives come out of the game. Stenhousemuir had almost snatched the lead in the third minute when they went route one and a kick out by Ally Brown was met by Stewart Kean who made room for himself before firing a decent effort that Derek Gaston saved but without conviction.
After this the home side took over and Danny Ferry and Chris Boyle both had attempts at goal before they should have taken the lead in the 8th minute. Jack Werndly beat the offside trap and advanced on goal. Ally Brown made himself big and did well to half block the shot before it was scrambled clear. Another Boyle effort whistled just over the bar shortly afterwards. Stenhousemuir were playing little constructive football with a punt up the park being the preferred method of play, but in the brief spells that they did actually pass the ball positively they created chances with Sean Fitzharris and Stewart Kean setting up a chance for Kenny Deuchar in the 20th minute but the striker failed to get on the end of the cross. A total miss hit by Andy Rodgers and a Paul McHale shot that went just wide were the only times that the home defence were exerted for the rest of the half though.
A change was made at half time with Fitzharris who had taken a heavy knock in the first half being replaced by Stevie Murray. There was a scare for Rovers in the 56th minute when a Murray shot was going well wide of the target was almost diverted into his own net by a Rovers defender. This was followed by a Rodgers header from a Paton cross being saved by Gaston. The home side were more threatening however and Ally Brown had to make a great save to deny Robert Love after he had got behind the Stenhousemuir defence. The ex-Warrior should have scored when he picked up a long ball but despite having plenty of time to pick his spot he took long and Ross McMillan made a crucial tackle to prevent a goal. A minute later Love saw a header just miss the target before Brown was called into action to make another superb stop this time from John Gemmell as the home side applied pressure.
Eventually they made the breakthough though they were given a helping hand through a loose Paton pass that left Brown stranded and although the keeper did his best was able to prevent Werndly tucking the ball into the net.
Stenhousemuir were given an unexpected lifeline in the 90th minute when Derek Gaston rought Andy Rodgers down in the box. A penalty was awarded and the keeper cautioned but he redeemed the situation by saving Eric Paton’s spot kick.
On paper Stenhousemuir man for man look to be better than their Coatbridge counterparts but football is a team game and Albion Rovers played stronger as a unit and looked the hungrier team throughout. The Rovers deserved their victory and could have won by more than the solitary goal.
This is the third time in 2012 that Stenhousemuir have played the team who were occupying bottom of the league and in all three games, Stirling Albion, Forfar Athletic and now Albion Rovers, the bottom team has won. If Stenhousemuir fail to make the play-offs it will be largely down to the problems that have been highlighted in these games that will be their downfall.
Albion Rovers – Gaston [b90], Reid, Russell, McStay [b35], O’Byrne, Marriott, Werndly, Ferry [Stevenson 71], Gemmell, McKay [Love 62] and Boyle. Subs not used – Chaplain, Halsman and Barnes
Stenhousemuir – Brown, Paton, Lawson, McKinlay, McMillan, McHale [b71][Smith 71], Fitzharris [Murray h/t], Thomson, Deuchar, Kean and Rodgers. Subs not used – J.Hamilton, Campbell and Diamond
Referee – Charlie Richmond Assistants – Gavin Duncan and Gavin Thomson