Stirling University (EOS) 1 Kelso United 1
United got the season started with a good display to earn a point in the first match of The East of Scotland Qualifying League.
It was a game that went with the weather fairly drab in the first half played in torrential rain but brightened up considerably in the second period with glorious sunshine.
United were first to have an effort on goal as new signing Josh Stewart just fired wide from 20 yards. The home side replied quickly and United keeper Willie Stewart was seen to good effect diving to his left to stop a shot from University striker David McCaughie.
A good run down the right by Shane Bonnington midway through the half saw the wing man weave past a couple of defenders before delivering a cross to the back post where the ball just went over the head of Daniel Gillie.
The students were awarded a free kick after 35 minutes and winger Liam Allison stepped up to fire the ball past the wall but keeper Stewart was able to thwart the attempt on goal. United defender Ben Herdman then rattled the bar with a header but was adjudged off side by Denny referee David Williams.
United started brightly in the second half and a snap shot from 35 yards by striker Jordan Hopkinson saw University keeper Tim Hughes at full stretch to fingertip the shot round the post. Five minutes later a shot from Stewart was goal bound until it deflected off the back of student Allison and away to safety.
United keeper Stewart then was called into action diving to his right to halt a shot from Allison. The visitors could have gone in front after 70 minutes when the ball was worked from the right touchline to the left wing where Gillie was left in space. The youngster ran through on goal and found himself one on one with the keeper however the new signing pulled his shot wide.
The home side took the lead with twelve minutes of the game remaining. University midfielder Rory MacEwan picked up the ball on the half way line and drove forward before shooting from just inside the box and although keeper Stewart got a hand to the shot it settled in the bottom corner of the net.
Instead of heads dropping from the visitors it seemed to spur United into greater effort and got their reward after 85 minutes. A long throw from the left touchline by Herdman was flicked on by the head of Darren Bowie and Hopkinson supplied the finishing touch with a neat lofted shot over the head of the keeper.
Kelso almost took the honours in the penultimate minute as Bonnington lifted a free kick from the right touchline into the box where Bowie rose above the home defence and it was only a great save from Hughes clawing the ball away which prevented the goal.