The University of Stirling First XI suffered a blow to their BUCS hopes as they fell 1-0 to a well structured Manchester University side.
Stirling welcomed Manchester University’s 1st team to the Gannochy as 3rd faced 4th in the BUCS Premier Division. Stirling headed into the game having played one more match than their opponents and with a five point advantage, with the last time the sides met, away at Manchester, throwing up a 1-1 draw.
It was a cagey start as neither side wanted to give away the early initiative. The first positive attacking move came from Stirling’s left side when a whipped in free kick was headed narrowly over the bar. From then on Stirling began to dominate proceedings with Manchester only looking dangerous on the counter attack. Stirling carved out more and more opportunities, with Mason glancing a header agonizingly past the post from a throw in whilst Lee Nicholl’s low drive from the edge of the area was parried by the keeper.
Against the run of play however, Manchester broke the deadlock just before half-time when a quick breakaway ended Manchester’s winger scoring a well placed shot from the right hand corner of the box.
Halftime: Stirling 0-1 Manchester
Stirling made a bright start to the second half, again having the majority of possession and attacking prowess. However, as the game was so tight Stirling struggled to create any real clear cut chances. Challenges became stronger as the second half progressed as both sets of players fought hard for the valuable three points.
Stirling changed to a 3-4-3 formation as they pressed for the equalising goal, although this tactic almost resulted in them conceding a second goal as Manchester’s now lone striker fired a left foot volley just past the left hand post. Stirling’s efforts ultimately proved to be in vain though as the referee blew his whistle for full time with Manchester the victors.
This result means that Manchester move up to ten points with a game in hand over Stirling, with the home side remaining on twelve points.