Match Report - By Steven Mew
City’s hopes of building on last weekend’s victory were emphatically dashed by a clinical Stirling Albion side at Glebe Park yesterday afternoon.
Although the visitors ran out comfortable winners, there was very little between the sides during the opening 45 up until City suffered a double blow on the stroke of half time which they were simply unable to recover from.
Unsurprisingly, newly appointed Player/Manager Michael Paton opted to go with the same side that put in a great performance at Albion Rovers last weekend. There was also the welcome sight of Connor Coupe amongst the substitutes for the first time since sustaining a knee injury against Arbroath in pre-season.
A Stirling side, unbeaten in their opening three league matches, were the first to threaten with Scott Roberts dragging a shot wide of the near post.
City’s first opportunity arrived on 16 minutes when a great run by Makovora down the left hand side saw the Hearts loanee deliver a cross into the box for Currie who was unable to keep his effort down.
Despite looking fairly comfortable, City found themselves behind on 21 minutes. JACK LEITCH received the ball on the edge of the penalty area and his low left-footed strike found the net via in the inside of the post.
Five minutes later Andy Ryan, pinpointed as Stirling’s danger-man by Michael Paton prior to the game, did well to turn away from his marker but he couldn’t connect properly with his shot which sailed wide of goal.
City created a number of openings but were unable to test Cammy Binnie in the Stirling goal. Jimmy Scott had an effort from the edge of the box which flew wide and shortly after, Michael Paton found Matty Todd similar position but he couldn’t keep his shot down.
Just as City looked to be heading in at the break with the game very much in the balance, they suffered a real setback on the stroke of half time when defender Gregor Jordan was giving his marching orders after he was adjudged to have denied a clear goal scoring opportunity.
To add insult to injury, DAVID WILSON doubled Stirling’s advantage from the resulting free kick. His strike deflected off the unfortunate Connor Barron and into the net despite the best efforts of McMinn in the City goal.
Now a man down, Leeroy Makovora was sacrificed at the interval with Sean McIntosh coming on at right back, resulting in Ross Brown moving in alongside Luc Bollan at centre half.
City already had a mountain to climb, and their task would be prove to be even more arduous three minutes after the restart as the visitors added a third goal. An inviting cross whipped in by Ross McGeachie from the right hand side found the advancing ANDY RYAN who powered a header past McMinn from close range.
Jimmy Scott did well to win a free kick in a dangerous position 20 yards from goal as City looked to get back into the game, however the set-piece from Michael Paton was inches over.
With the numerical advantage Stirling started to take full control with McGeachie, Byrne and Ryan all coming close before they notched a fourth shortly before the hour mark. Again City failed to deal with a McGeachie cross and the ball fell kindly for SCOTT ROBERTS at the back post who stroked into the far corner.
Kevin Rutkiewicz’s side were threatening to run riot as they made it 5-0 on 66 minutes. Andy Ryan wriggled clear of Ross Brown down the left hand side before providing a cutback for DECLAN BYRNE to slam the ball home.
A long range effort from former City man Dylan Mackin was comfortably gathered by McMinn in the City goal and the same player would threaten again shortly after but his strike from the edge of the area ended in the David H Will stand behind the goal.
City rallied briefly through the diminutive Connor Barron. The on-loan Aberdeen midfielder shot wide on 78 minutes and shortly after, his 20-yard effort wasn't quite enough to trouble Cammy Binnie.
A consolation goal should have arrived for the hosts four minutes from time. Dave McKay’s free kick found substitute Kieran Inglis free at the back post but he was unable to connect properly with a header, much to the relief of Binnie whose clean sheet would remain intact.
City have a break from league action next weekend as we host Lowland League side Kelty Hearts in the final Betfred Cup group stage fixture.