Stirling Observer

Challenge Cup

Much-altered side struggle to find goal chances


MONTROSE .................................... 1 STIRLING ALBION ......................... 0

Stirling were knocked out of the SPFL Trust Trophy at Links Park on Saturday as Montrose edged through to set up a last 16 meeting with Morton.

A fourth-minute penalty from Graham Webster proved the difference between the teams as Stewart Petrie’s men progressed against a much-changed Stirling side.

There wasn’t much in the game but the Binos failed to score for only the second time in 10 outings this season – the other was against Hearts in the Premier Sports Cup.

It was Albion’s first appearance in this competitio­n since a shock defeat to St Mirren Colts two years ago. They had been due to play Ross County’s youngsters in the first round in August but the Dingwall club withdrew due to a lack of available U21 players.

Binos boss Kevin Rutkiewicz made no fewer than eight alteration­s to the team that beat Albion Rovers the previous week, with defenders Ross McGeachie, Jordan McGregor, Paul McLean and Martin McNiff all ruled out. Midfielder Rabin Omar was suspended and others were carrying knocks.

There was a debut in goal for Callum Law while teenagers Robb

Dryden and Sandy Carey also made their first-team bows as late substitute­s. Rutkiewicz had even registered himself as a player at the age of 41 in case of an emergency but wasn’t required to come off the bench.

There was a rare appearance for player/assistant James Creaney at left-back, with Ciaran Summers having left the club during the week to take up a job down south, and young Will Greenhorn made his first start at right-back.

Montrose, who had been knocked off top spot in League 1 at the end of August, made half a dozen changes themselves but it was still a strong and recognisab­le line-up fielded by Stewart Petrie.

Dylan Bikey threatened inside the first 60 seconds but it was Montrose who went ahead after being awarded a penalty inside three minutes. Captain for the day Kyle Banner got caught on the wrong side of Craig Johnston, who went down under a challenge and referee

Chris Fordyce pointed to the spot.

Webster converted the kick emphatical­ly into the bottom righthand corner – it was the sixth game in a row in which he has scored, five of them penalties. The midfielder should have netted again right on half-time but his downward header bounced off the artificial surface and over the bar.

In between times, Stirling played some good football and had more of the attacking threat but they couldn’t find a way to goal. Bikey should probably have profited after doing well to get beyond a defender – he tried to guide the ball low into the corner but Aaron Lennox made a smart save.

The keeper also did well to tip over a header from Banner after an excellent delivery from Daniel Scally. The former Forfar Athletic winger came closest to an equaliser in the second half after being picked out by Kieran Moore but Lennox made a good save to block his shot.

Montrose had an effort cleared off the line following a corner and Law was alert to a couple of shots from distance. He wasn’t overly busy on his debut but at the other end Albion were unable to exert any concerted late pressure on the hosts as it finished 1-0.

Stirling Albion – Law, Greenhorn (Dryden 80), Creaney, Cummins, Banner, Laird, Moore, Roberts (Grant 80), Bikey, Heaver (Carey 86), Scally. Sub (not used): Rutkiewicz. Crowd – 491

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 ??  ?? Youngsters Albion academy players Robb Dryden, top left, and Sandy Carey, above, made their senior debut. Photos by Graham Hamilton
Youngsters Albion academy players Robb Dryden, top left, and Sandy Carey, above, made their senior debut. Photos by Graham Hamilton

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