Stirling Albion 1 – 2 Arbroath
Stirling Albion 1 – 2 Arbroath – Betfred Cup – Group D – Match 1
Forthbank Stadium, Stirling – Tuesday 6th October 2020 – 7.45pm
Arbroath took the pitch tonight to play their first competitive match in 213 days. A return to Forthbank Stadium, where Helicopter Saturday and lifting the League 2 trophy will always be the most fondest of memories.
It was a very different experience in Covid times, with no supporters and both teams located at different sides of the stadium. (unfortunately due to strict zoning areas the pitch was off limits to everyone but playing staff and coaches so there is unfortunately no GoPro action)
Arbroath Manager Dick Campbell named a strong starting line up with Gaston in goal, our back 4 of Hamilton, O’Brien, Little and Thomson then Hilson, McKenna, Virtanen, Gold and Linn in midfield with Luke Donnelly leading the line.
With the rest of the squad listed as substitutes apart from Mark Whatley who is still recovering from injury.
The players all took a knee, before Luke Donnelly kicked the game off as Arbroath attacked the South Terrace.
It didn’t take Arbroath long to pose a threat with Michael McKenna’s right footed shot from 18 yards being just being pushed past the post for a corner kick by Cammy Binnie in the Stirling goal.
The Lichtie had made a bright start but Stirling Albion were well organised and hard working as they looked to get the ball to former Lichtie Andy Ryan as quickly as possible.
David Wilson was shown a yellow card in the 12th minute after wrestling Bobby Linn to the ground as he started a run down the right wing.
Luke Donnelly continued his excellent start to the season with a stunning header in the 14th minute after connecting to a brilliant ball from Jason Thomson out on the right.
Stirling weren’t giving up and Derek Gaston saved a Dylan Mackin header in the 21st minute.
Jason Thomson almost got on the score sheet himself in the 30th minute but his shot was put out for a corner kick by Jordan McGregor.
The first corner resulted in a second corner kick and Bobby Linn’s corner kick fell to Thomas O’Brien at the back post who struck a stunning volley into the back of the net. A stunning goal which gave the Lichties a comfortable lead with just 30 minutes gone.
Again Stirling Albion came back, and Andy Ryan won a free kick in a good position just 3 minutes later. David Wilson stepped up and forced Derek Gaston into a tremendous save and he flew across his goal tipping the ball past the post for a corner kick.
As half time approached Luke Donnelly was denied his second goal from a fantastic save by Cammy Binnie
HT – Stirling Albion 0 – 2 Arbroath
The home side made a very strong start to the second half with Andy Ryan shooting just wide after being played in by Jack Leitch.
Dylan Mackin was again denied by Derek Gaston as his shot was straight at the Arbroath keeper.
Ricky Little headed a corner kick just past the post in the 54th minute before Arbroath made their first double substitution.
Michael Ruth and Scott Stewart replaced Dale Hilson and Bobby Linn as Stewart took to the left wing with Ruth heading to the right wing.
Arbroath made another double substitution just 8 minutes later taking advantage of the 5 substitutions allowed in the Betfred Cup.
Gavin Swankie replaced David Gold in midfield with Connor Smith replacing Michael McKenna in midfield.
Just seconds after coming on a nice move down the left wing by the Lichties had the ball fall into the path of Connor Smith and was incredibly unlucky not to score with his first touch on the pitch as his right footed shot was saved by Cammy Binnie.
As play raced up the pitch Derek Gaston was again Arbroath’s hero as he saved from Ryan.
Arbroath made their 5th and final change in the 71st minute with Kris Doolan replacing Luke Donnelly whilst Scott Roberts replaced Kurtis Roberts for the Binos.
Andy Ryan, as he has throughout his career scored against the Lichties to make it 1-2 in the 76th minute.
Cammy Thomson replaced Kieran Moore straight after the goal for Stirling Albion.
Just 2 minutes after his goal, Andy Ryan almost scored his second goal but was again by a great save from Gaston. There was a sense for Lichties it could have been deja-vu of the game back in November 2016 when the home side scored 2 quick goals to tie the game 2-2.
To the total surprise of the Arbroath bench, Scott Stewart was shown a yellow card in the 80th minute when it looked like he had been fouled by Jordan McGregor. Dick Campbell who was just feet away certainly didn’t hold back in letting Referee Barry Cook know what he thought of the decision.
Jack Leitch could have been the hero for the Binos but he shot high over the bar with just 4 minutes remaining on the clock.
Declan Byrne replaced Mackin with just 2 minutes remaining with Scott Stewart almost nicking a 3rd goal in the 91st minute.
After 3 more minutes of injury time, the full time whistle blew and Arbroath claimed their first win in Group D
Full Time – Stirling Albion 1 – 2 Arbroath
A return to action, and a return to winning ways. For every team outside of the Premiership right now it’s a very late start to the football season and under a very different landscape. The challenges are monumental for all clubs but it feels good to be back. A hard working Stirling Albion side pushed the Lichties all game but it was two very special goals that secured the win.
Saturday will be another tough test, but one we will again relish.
C’mon the Lichties!
Possession – Stirling Albion 50% – 50% Arbroath
Total Shots – Stirling Albion 12 – 9 Arbroath
On Target – Stirling Albion 6 – 9 Arbroath
Off Target – Stirling Albion 5 – 4 Arbroath
Blocked – Stirling Albion 1 – 0 Arbroath
Corners – Stirling Albion 3 – 5 Arbroath
Fouls Committed – Stirling Albion 7 – 15 Arbroath
1 – Cammy Binnie
2 – Kyle Banner
3 – James Creaney
4 – Paul McLean
5 – Jordan McGregor
6 – Kurtis Roberts (S. Roberts 71)
7 – Andy Ryan
8 – David Wilson
10 – Jack Leitch
11 – Kieran Moore (Thomson 77)
29 – Dylan Mackin (Byrne 88)
9 – Declan Byrne – 29; 88th
12 – Aldin El-Zubaidi
14 – Cammy Thomson – 11; 77th
15 – Will Greenhorn
16 – Sean Heaver
18 – Scott Roberts – 6; 71st
19 – Martin France
17 – Callum Law (GK)
Goal – Ryan 76
Yellow Card – Wilson 12
1 – Derek Gaston
2 – Jason Thomson
3 – Colin Hamilton
4 – Ricky Little
5 – Thomas O’Brien ©
7 – David Gold (C. Smith 67)
8 – Michael McKenna (Swankie 67)
9 – Dale Hilson (Ruth 59)
11 – Bobby Linn (Stewart 59)
15 – Luke Donnelly (Doolan 71)
22 – Miko Virtanen
10 – Gavin Swankie – 8; 67th
12 – Scott Stewart – 11; 59th
14 – Kris Doolan – 15; 71st
16 – Michael Ruth – 9; 59th
17 – Connor Smith – 7; 67th
28 – James Craigen
21 – Scott Gallacher (GK)
Goal – Donnelly 14, O’Brien 31
Yellow Card – Stewart 80
Referee – Barry Cook
Assistant Referee 1 – Graham Chambers
Assistant Referee 2 – George King