Last Friday at Solitude Stadium in Belfast, home of Cliftonville, Stirling Albion’s latest goalkeeping product from the youth academy turned in a display that included what can only be described as ‘world-class’ saves.
Unfortunately, in the cruel way that happens in football, Ronan Fallens’ five-star performance could not secure the Scottish Schools a deserved victory in their Centenary Shied match against Northern Ireland. Two late goals (in the 88th and 90th minutes) from the battling home team overcame the Scots at the death to secure a 2-1 victory.
Scotland took the lead early in the second half of a keenly-contested match. Adam Brown from Dundee scored a great goal to give the visitors a deserved lead. Keeper Fallens, a pupil at St Modan’s HS, then made a string of superb saves – two of which were absolutely stunning when he tipped close-range, powerful and net-bound efforts over the bar.
Like all his team-mates, who included other Stirling Albion youth players, Kyle Banner who captained the team, and George Stanger who on this occasion was an unused substitute, the Binos’ U20 keeper was devastated by the Irish comeback.
The three players now join up with the squad for their final game in the campaign when they meet the Republic of Ireland at Renfrew Juniors on Thursday 6 April, kick-off 7.00pm. All three are likely to feature in an SSFA team coached by St Modan’s HS teacher Craig Johnstone, who is also a coach in the Stirling Albion youth set up.