Stenhousemuir v Albion Rovers at Ochilview Park, Stenhousemuir on 3.8.19
SPFL Ladbrokes League Two Att 423
Stenhousemuir 2 [Hopkirk 50, Cook 78] Albion Rovers 3 [Fotheringham 33, East 46, Byrne 84]
Stenhousemuir – G.Smith, McIlduff [Anderson 89], McKernon [M.Munro 62], Marsh, Dykes [b72], McGuigan, Hopkirk, Cook, McLaughlin [b84], Scullion [Watters 70] and A.Munro. Subs – Marley, Gibbons, Halleran and Luke
Albion Rovers – C.Smith, Lynas, Clarke, Wilson, Fagan, Morena [Graham 79], Roberts [b65], Fotheringham [b38][Paterson 74], East [b50][Osadolor 62][b89], Byrne and Stewart. Subs – Goodfellow, Phillips, Scally and Wharton
Referee – Matthew McDermid Assistants – Drew Kirkland and Andy Taylor.
For many the League Cup is just a pre-amble to the real stuff ie the start of the League campaign and this is a day where most supporters look forward to more than most.
By the end of the first match which was like a curates egg , good in parts, it was the visiting support and players who would have been the happier of the two sides.
Albion Rovers have in the main done well against the Warriors in recent years apart from their League Cup outing last season and it was a well organised performance by Kevin Harper’s team that saw all three points go back to Cliftonhill.
Albion Rovers were to come closest to opening the scoring after only nine minutes when a drilled shot by Jordan Stewart struck the base of the post with Graeme Smith rooted to the spot. Gradually though the home side began to create chances and Andy Munro was in the thick of it. In the 16th minute he met an Alan Cook free-kick but his header lacked power and was easily saved by youngster Chris Smith in the Rovers goal. If that had been a routine stop the Rovers keeper showed his mettle four minutes later when he saved a Munro strike at close range after the Warriors captain had seen an initial shot blocked. The keeper then denied Mark McGuigan saving with his foot to deny the striker.
These saves proved to be vital as Rovers survived and shortly after Stewart volleyed wide they took the lead in the 33rd minute. Ex-Warrior Gregor Fotheringham pounced on a loose ball to curl an effort into the net.
There was to be no further scoring before half time with the closest to a goal coming in the 40th minute when David Hopkirk dispossessed Ross Clarke but shot over the bar. The resumption proved to be disastrous for Stenhousemuir as they found themselves further behind within seconds of the restart when Euan East took full advantage of slack play to score from close range. A couple of minutes later there was controversy when following a superb save by Graeme Smith, East went down in a challenge from the keeper only a couple of yards away from the goal. The referee blew his whistle and everyone expected a penalty and possible dismissal but instead East was cautioned for simulation.
That gave Stenhousemuir a lifeline and they duly took it scoring in the 50th minute when Cook whipped a cross into the danger area for Hopkirk to fire home. Scott Roberts hit a volley into the side net in the 63rd minute for Rovers but the next goal came for the Warriors. There was a touch of good fortune though the intent was clear when Cook shot across goal and Aron Lynas partly blocked but his efforts meant the ball bounced awkwardly for the already diving Chris Smith and the ball went into the net.
That was not to be the end of the drama though as the visitors scored the winner from the penalty spot through Declan Byrne after Scott McLaughlin had fouled in the box. This meant an opening day loss for Stenhousemuir on their return to League Two.
|August 3, 2019||3:00 pm||SPFL Ladbrokes League 2||2019/20||90'|