Our U20 side thrashed Forfar Athletic 6-2 at Station Park in the Development League East on Tuesday night.
Top scorer Reg McLaren scored twice, with Alberto Vezza, Callum MacDonald, Dillon Young and Taylor Evans also on target for Andy Todd’s team.
Report by Andrew MacDonald
The boys travelled to Station Park with a depleted squad, with Kyle Banner, Declyn Cumming and Justin Watson unavailable. The young Binos lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Andy Todd making three changes to the team defeated by Alloa in their last competitive outing. The hosts came into the fixture with more confidence, a 2-2 draw with the same Alloa side their latest result.
The game was very even to start with, as both sides had half chances to open the scoring during the first 20 minutes. The Forfar left-back Josh Chambers managed to wriggle through our defence and shoot with his weaker right foot. Ronan Fallens was on hand to deny the defender, as he got down low to save the effort. Shortly after, Callum MacDonald dispossessed a Forfar defender in the box, only for a last-ditch tackle to deny him a goalscoring opportunity.
Stirling took the lead after 25 minutes. Captain Ryan Lockie turned creator for the fourth time this season as his curling corner was met by the unmarked Alberto Vezza. The winger headed the ball into the ground for it to perfectly bounce into the top of the net.
Not much of note happened for the 10-minute period before the Loons equalised. Some neat passing in the final third led to forward Jamie Gill turning neatly on the edge of the box and firing the ball past Fallens at his near post.
Albion took the lead again four minutes later. Fallens caught a shot from a Loons corner and proceeded to start a quick counter attack. He punted the ball up to Vezza, who did excellently to get the slightest of headed flicks despite being challenged by two taller markers. The ball fell in front of Reg McLaren, who had no problem dispatching the ball into the corner of the net from 15 yards.
Brimming with confidence, Stirling nearly repeated the already successful Vezza-McLaren combination, as the winger picked out the striker with a precise 30-yard pass with 44 minutes played. McLaren held off his challengers well, but the keeper beat away the left-footed effort.
Stirling were forced into a change just before half time, as the injured Ross Cameron was replaced by Dillon Young. This prompted Andy Todd into a tactical change, with MacDonald moving into the attacking midfield position and Young playing an unfamiliar right midfield role. However, the latter made an instant impact, as he used his physical presence to create an opening three minutes into the second half, seeing his lobbed effort go narrowly wide.
Stirling extended their lead in the 63rd-minute, as Taylor Evans continued his domination of the midfield by winning the ball and spraying a pass wide to Young. The makeshift winger caught the ball just before it went out and crossed it perfectly to McLaren, who opened up his body expertly to guide the ball into the net for his 11th goal of the season. A beautiful goal from pass to cross to finish.
The young Binos were on fire, McLaren especially, as two minutes later he turned provider. The striker ran on to Fallens’ goal kick before cutting the ball back to MacDonald on the edge of the six-yard box. The midfielder made no mistake, as he hammered the ball into the corner. The Loons had capitulated within the space of two minutes.
It only got better for the young Binos, who were in imperious form. MacDonald received the ball in the centre circle on 73 minutes and sent his marker the wrong way with an audacious turn. He dribbled a few yards forward and picked out Young with an eye-of-the-needle pass, who beat the offside trap perfectly and slotted the ball into the corner. Another excellent Stirling goal! Things got worse for Forfar shortly after this goal, as one of their forwards was sent off for dissent.
The only thing missing for Stirling was a McLaren hat-trick. The striker nearly notched one, as a neat exchange from Brooklyn Mair and MacDonald culminated in McLaren’s effort from 12 yards deflecting over the bar.
Forfar managed to get a goal back with five minutes remaining, forward Jamie Penker scoring from an acute angle. Evans then made it 6-2 with the last kick of the game. He yet again won the ball in the middle of the field and skipped two challenges before lashing the ball past the Loons keeper.
An outstanding team performance from our U20 team, who romped to victory. There were many eye-catching performances, with Reg McLaren bagging a brace for the third game in a row.
1. R. Fallens
2. B. Mair
3. L. Martin
4. R. Lockie
5. G. Stanger
6. M. Innes
7. C. MacDonald
8. T. Evans
9. R. McLaren
10. R. Cameron (Young 41’)
11. A. Vezza