|12th August 2017||15:00||GeoSonic Lowland League||2017-18|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|
|Gala Fairydean Rovers FC||0||0||0||Draw|
Both Shire coach and players admitted the 0-0 home Lowland League draw against Gala Fairydean Rovers was a frustrating affair but they claim it illustrates how the league is getting better and how much harder it will be to mount a challenge.
Coach John Sludden praised his players “application and effort” on a day when they were thwarted by a fantastic display by visiting keeper Lewis Muir. The Gala Fairydean Rovers youngster, who is on loan from Rangers, excelled himself with a brilliant stop to deny Kevin Kelbie, then prevented Andy Rodgers grabbing all three points with another great save deep into stoppage time.
Paul Sludden hit the crossbar with a great effort and the home team had other chances but could not take them and the blank scoreline left Shire still looking for their first home league win of the season.
“I think you have to give him credit,” said the Shire coach. “He had three or four saves and the one from Kevin was top draw. But the good thing is we created [chances]. Paul’s one came off the bar and Andy hit the target and he keeper had another great save.”
He identified Gala striker Stuart Noble as a pre-game threat and was glad the defence gave the visiting target man a quiet afternoon.
“When you are having one of those days when nothing is going for you in front of goal then you make sure you don’t give anything away,” said John. “We did that. We concentrated some of our effort on getting a clean sheet and we got it. You are not going to score every week so it’s important we shut up shop in our own half.”
The sending-off of Kevin Kelbie with 17 minutes left was a blow to Shire at a time when the striker might have been just what the Shire needed to get the vital breakthrough. Kevin was shown a straight red card for directing some comments at the referee.
“It certainly didn’t help us, “said the coach. “At that point we were looking to change things but the sending-off meant we couldn’t do that. We just had to stay compact and retain our shape and even after going down to ten men we still created chances.”
The coach understands supporters will look at the league table and worry that Shire aren’t among the pacesetters but he says this is a different kind of league to the one Shire took by storm last year.
“This is the way it’s going to be all season,“ said John. “You also have to give other teams credit. Maybe they’re looked at how we played last season and have taken note of that and they are certainly well-organised now.”
It was a point emphasised by Shire striker Andy Rodgers, who helped himself to more than 30 goals in the league last term but is finding it harder this time round, again not for the want of trying.
“It’s going to be more difficult,” said Andy. “The teams we were brushing aside last season have maybe had a year or two to get themselves in too. They are all improving although our aim is still the same as last season and we just need to work hard and see where we go.”
The Shire striker thought he had won the game late on with a great shot but he was denied by another fine stop by the Gala keeper, who again gained top marks from a player who has certainly found his way to goal over the course of his career.
“Their keeper made some great saves,” said Andy. “ But we have to look on the positives and I would much rather have this home performance than our last one,” he said of the opening day 0-3 defeat at the hands of BSC Glasgow.
“It’s not the end of the word,” said the Shire striker. “We are getting there although it’s taking time. We just need to pick ourselves up to go again.”
East Stirlingshire: 1. Barclay 2. McCormack 3. Allison 4. Grant 5. Greene 6. MacGregor 7. Rodgers 8. D. Ure (captain) 9. Kelbie 10. Sludden 11. Faulds. subs – 12. Tapping (not used) 14. Brisbane (not used) 15. Ramsay (for Sludden 79 mins) 16. White (not used) 17. I. Ure (sub gk – not used) 18. Trialist (Aiden McKeown) (not used) 19. Trialist (Chris McLaughlin) (not used)
Ht 0-0 Ft 0-0
East Stirlingshire Booking/Red Card: Yellow – Andy Rodgers; Straight Red – Kevin Kelbie (73 mins)
Crowd: c. 140
Referee: Alastair Grieve
Assistants: Kylie McMullan, Jack Van Der Ster
|East Stirlingshire (Ochilview Park)|
|55 Gladstone Rd, Stenhousemuir, Larbert FK5, UK|
|#||Player||Position||Goals||Assists||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|10||Paul Sludden 15||Midfielder||0||0||0||0|
|15||Drew Ramsay 10||Midfielder||0||0||0||0|