Gala Fairydean Rovers 1 Stirling University 3
Stirling’s slick strike pair Chris Geddes and Paul Sludden provided a lesson in finishing to ten man Gala Fairydean Rovers at Netherdale last night.
Geddes and ex-Stenhousemuir man Sludden scored all three goals between them for the Students as Gala suffered their first defeat of the season.
However, there were encouraging signs from the homesters, who passed the ball well at times and created chances against the dark horses for the Lowland League title.
Gala boss Stevie Noble said: “Geddes and Sludden are among the best strikers in the Lowland League and they will punish you for any mistakes.
“We had mistakes for the second and third goals but I can’t fault the efforts of the players. We made some good chances but didn’t take them, which was the difference in the end.”
In a frantic first 13 minutes, Stirling took the lead through a Geddes lob on five minutes before Jamie Gibson equalised with a fine 10th minute header from a Ross Aitchison cross.
But Geddes made it 2-1 when he fired home a rebound from an Andrew Gillen long range shot which came back off the bar.
There were few chances in the remainder of the half, until Sludden was played clean through after a mistake by Colin Galbraith, but his effort was saved by Mark Wilson.
Sludden was not to be denied, however, and all but finished the contest with an emphatic finish ten minutes into the second half.
Gala substitute Stuart Noble provided Gala with a fresh threat up front, and almost pulled one back after shaking off his marker George Leigh, only to hit the side netting from an acute angle.
Galbraith hit the post with a header from a Dean McColm corner but Sean Guiney’s straight red card for a high tackle on Gillen ended any Gala chances of a comeback.
Gala Fairydean Rovers: M. Wilson, L. Stephen, D. Thomson (R. Grant 75), C. Galbraith, S. Guiney, D. Bonnar, D. McColm, D. Burdett (B. Miller 64), J. Gibson, C. Jardine (S. Noble 53), R. Aitchison.