Stirling University 3
EoS PREMIER DIVISION
KENNY PATERSON reports from Yarrow Park
AS IT did across the whole of the Borders on Saturday afternoon, the sun shone on Yarrow Park.
But judging by the players’ and supporters’ reactions to Selkirk’s defeat to a slick Stirling University side, you could have been forgiven for believing they had been drenched for 90 minutes.
It was a brave showing from the Souters, who named assistant manager Davie Main as their only substitute, and had to field a couple of less than fully-fit players in their starting line-up.
However, the bare facts are that, ahead of their game at Whitehill Welfare last night, Bryan Templeton’s side have not won a league match since October 30, 2010, and are heading for the First Division on present form.
It was John Dodds versus Stirling in the first half, as the former Ayr United man repelled attack after attack.
Dodds saved from Liam Corr on 15 minutes before Robert Pearson was denied by a great challenge from Jason Cockburn, who had returned to defence in the absence of Euan Pritchard.
However, Cockburn failed to time a tackle on Corr after 30 minutes and referee Peter Stuart had little option but to award a penalty.
Thankfully for the veteran utility player, Dodds saved a poorly-hit spot kick by Abraham Keller, the former FC Basel striker.
Selkirk’s only effort of the first period was a Grant Gass long-range effort that was nearer the corner flag than goal. Yet, it was the hosts who took the lead 11 minutes into the second half.
A long punt downfield by Dodds evaded the Stirling defence, allowing Des Sutherland to produce the perfect chip over Kevin Walker from 20 yards.
It looked like bottom-of-the-table Selkirk might gain a vital win against all the odds, as they battled with renewed vigour.
But not for long. Keller delivered a fantastic free kick on 65 minutes which evaded everyone bar Jason Atkins, who tapped home.
And then substitute Craig Mason finished off Corr’s cross by rounding Dodds for number two on 76 minutes.
Selkirk hopes of claiming even a draw were dented further as Jay Wilson was sent off by whistler Stuart for foul and abusive language with 10 minutes to go.
Then six minutes from time, Daniel Denholm sprinted past a tiring home rearguard to score a fine goal and clinch a Stirling win.
Assistant boss Main said: “It was another very disappointing game. The game plan worked for the first 55 minutes, but we struggled after that.
“John [Dodds] has been outstanding all season and made several amazing saves in the first half.
“He lost a silly goal for the equaliser, but you cannot knock the guy because he has kept us in games all season.”
Selkirk: J. Dodds, L. Stephen, J. Inglis, Ryan McManus, J. Cockburn, G. Gass, J. Wilson, T. Craggs, D. Sutherland, J. Gibson and S. Hardie.