Sunday, 12 January 2014

East Stirlingshire 2 Peterhead 0

SPFL 2nd Division - Saturday 11 January 2014 - Ochilview

In search of a competitive game of  football, I passed on going to Tynecastle on Saturday and instead headed to sunny Larbert and my first visit of the season to see East Stirlingshire, my 'significant other' team in Scottish football.

The visitors to Ochilview were Second Division league leaders Peterhead, managed by former Shire manager Jim McInally. The former Dundee United player is presently banned from the dugout and so took his place among the 310 fans in the small stand. It was pleasing to see him chat not only with the Peterhead fans who made the journey south but some of the Shire fans who held him in high esteem not so long ago.

Peterhead shared, along with Celtic and Rangers, the status of being unbeaten in the league this season. However, this admirable run came to an end on Saturday thanks to a spirited showing by the home side.

It has to be said the Blue Toon dominated the game and in the opening minutes they were denied the first goal by a quite brilliant save from Shire keeper Grant Hay, who was in inspired form all afternoon. However, Shire took the lead in the 14th minute when Christopher Townsley headed home Jamie Glasgow's corner somewhat against the run of play.

Resolute defending from the home team kept Peterhead at bay and the hosts doubled their lead seven minutes into the second half when Iain Thomson's pass found David Greenhill and, despite pleas for offside from the Peterhead players and fans, the Shire man finished superbly to the joy of the loyal home support.

The second goal gave the home side the belief they could be the first team to defeat Peterhead in the league this season and, indeed, they may well have added to their lead but for former Rangers keeper Graeme Smith in the Peterhead goal. However, there was no further scoring and the Shire duly celebrated a fine win, a result which puts them back in the hunt for a promotion play-off place.

It was an enjoyable afternoon, as it always is at Ochilview.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that East Stirlingshire will still be in the hunt for promotion come the end of the season. I'll certainly be supporting them in their quest.

One thing that did bemuse me when I headed back to Larbert railway station. Not only were the Christmas lights still up in Stenhousemuir's town centre - they were switched on! Someone ought to tell the local council Christmas is over....

East Stirlingshire - Hay, Herd, Maxwell, Greenhill, Townsley, Bolochoweckyj, MacGregor, Thomsom, Miller, Glasgow, Wright

Peterhead - Smith, Sharp, McCann, Redman, Noble, Ross, Rodgers, Cowie, Gilfillan, McAllister, Strachan
Att: 310
Referee: George Salmond
Top man: Grant Hay

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