Our U20 side are through to the fourth round of the SFA Youth Cup after beating Cumbernauld Colts 4-2 on the Forthbank Astro on Monday night.
All the goals came in the second half, with Dillon Young, Reg McLaren, George Stanger and Alberto Vezza on target for Andy Todd’s side.
Report by Andrew MacDonald
The young Binos reverted to their favoured 4-2-3-1 formation as Andy Todd made two changes to the side who lost 3-1 to Berwick Rangers last week.
The first half was a fairly disappointing affair for Stirling. Despite early half chances presenting themselves to Alberto Vezza, Reg McLaren and George Stanger, the boys never really got going.
Stirling tried to play the hard pass rather than working an opening. Cumbernauld seized on this sloppiness by working the ball efficiently down the wings and winning a string of set-pieces.
Defender Dillon Young managed to dribble forward with the ball on numerous occasions and one such run won a free-kick on the edge of the box. The shot only found the keeper’s hands to the dismay of McMullan.
The keeper then proceeded to mistakenly kick the ball back to Justin Watson, who immediately broke down the left and his cross deflected for a Stirling corner. Kyle Banner managed to meet McMullan’s resulting corner – his headed effort deflected off a Colts player and went narrowly wide. This was the best chance of the half for the young Binos.
Stirling couldn’t have imagined a worse start to the second half, as Cumbernauld scored in the 46th minute. The visitors won the ball back in the centre of the pitch, before breaking down the left wing and into the box, where their forward stroked the ball into the net.
Conceding an early second-half goal should have spurred the boys on but it was Colts who continued to apply pressure for the next 15 minutes as they continued to win free kicks and even hit the bar from a narrow angle in the 57th minute.
With a place in the fourth round of the Youth Cup hanging in the balance, Stirling clicked into gear a minute later. McMullan whipped in a corner, which Young met and managed to scramble over the line. The goal capped a fine performance from the defender.
This reinvigorated our U20 side, who were now playing some better passing moves and creating openings with ease. Stirling took the lead in the 67th minute after a beautiful passing move.
Full back Callum MacDonald had advanced forward into the final third where he sent the ball inside to Vezza, who moved it over to McMullan on the edge of the six-yard box. His chipped effort deflected into the air, where McLaren turned it over the line despite attempts from the keeper.
Albion were now in complete control and went further ahead five minutes later. Another fine passing move was tapped into the net by Stranger, who received a square ball from the advancing MacDonald, who was played in behind the Colts defence by McMullan.
The visitors nearly got back into the game in the 76th minute, as they worked the ball into the box nicely off the right. However, Fallens was on hand to make a crucial save at close range.
Stirling further punished their opponents six minutes from time, as MacDonald played McLaren in behind the defence. The striker proceeded to dribble to the edge of the six-yard box and set up the waiting Vezza to score.
The visitors managed to score a late penalty but this only acted as consolation, as the final whistle sounded soon after.
1 Ronan Fallens
2 Callum MacDonald
3 Ryan Lockie
4 Kyle Banner
5 Dillon Young
6 Taylor Evans
7 George Stanger (Marc Innes 80)
8 Connor McMullan
9 Reg McLaren
10 Justin Watson (Luke Martin 77)
11 Alberto Vezza (Brooklyn Mair 85)
Sub (not used): Declyn Cumming