East Stirling 1-3 Caledonian Braves: Vital win for Motherwell side
Ricky Waddell’s men started the game brightly with early efforts from Ross McNeil and Neil McLaughlin causing trouble to the Shire goal.
Seventeen minutes on the clock and Braves would open the scoring.
A long ball was headed on by McNeil into the path of David Winters. The veteran showed great skill to beat his defender and slide the ball across the box, finding McLaughlin who smashed home into the net.
The goal sparked a revival from the Shire, forcing Alex Marshall into some good saves as well as Nicky Low hitting the side netting from the edge of the box.
Shire would take the game into the break level however.
A cross was beautifully met by Jonathan Brown, Marshall got a hand to the striker’s header to his right hand side, but couldn’t keep the ball out of the net.
The second half again started in lively fashion for Braves and they would grab that second goal early on.
After Serge Makofo’s darting run, he collided with the Shire keeper. The ball then landed to the feet of David Winters as the referee stopped play for the Shire keeper down on the ground.
Once play resumed from the drop ball, Winters – at the edge of the box – lofted the ball in for the oncoming McLaughlin who headed home for this and the team’s second of the afternoon.
Shire would find themselves a man down when experienced midfielder Nicky Low was shown a straight red card for dissent.
Despite a resurgence from the Shire, extra man advantage counted for the Braves.
McNeil had an effort from outside of the box easily saved by the keeper as the chances kept coming.
The third goal came from the top goalscorer McNeil with 20 minutes remaining.
A poor pass back was latched onto by McNeil and he made no mistake in slotting the ball into the opposite corner to kill off the tie.
This Saturday, Dunipace visit Alliance Park for the South Regional Challenge Cup quarter-finals, 3pm KO.