Stirling Albion’s U20 side drew 1-1 with Alloa Athletic in the SPFL Development League East on the Forthbank Astro on Monday evening.
Report by Andrew MacDonald
Our U20s played their first competitive fixture for over a month on Monday night after their mid-season break. Andy Todd lined the team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with first-team player Liam Caddis assisting the young Binos in central midfield.
The visitors nearly took an early lead, as some neat play down the right wing resulted in an accurate cross being flashed across the Stirling goalmouth which the left winger couldn’t make the most of.
Stirling created some chances of their own through Connor McMullan and Kyle Banner. The pair created three opportunities from set-pieces during the first half, the result being Banner narrowly heading wide each time.
The young Binos created a number of half chances before scoring, as Callum MacDonald advanced from full-back to fizz a dangerous ball across the box and Ross Cameron was causing problems down the left, as his trickery led to the opposition keeper being tested a number of times.
Stirling opened the scoring in the 28th minute through a moment of magic from Alberto Vezza. The winger beautifully controlled Taylor Evans’ cross-field pass – with a deft touch he nutmegged his marker before dribbling towards the edge of the box to gorgeously curl the ball into the top left corner of the net. Utter brilliance from Vezza, who wrapped his left foot round the ball expertly to leave the Alloa keeper with no chance. A goal worthy of opening the scoring in any game.
Unfortunately, the visitors managed to equalise shortly after as poor defending cost our U20 side on 34 minutes. Dylan Monaghan curled in a corner for defender Scott Cameron to simply tap home at the back post. Alloa nearly scored again minutes later, as a mix-up in defence resulted in the Wasps striking the crossbar.
The second half was a much more subdued affair. Stirling had a few half chances, as Vezza, Evans and Cameron all had unsuccessful efforts on goal. The visitors then came close in the 64th minute, as their right winger beat three Stirling players before being denied by Ronan Fallens in goal. The keeper got down low to save what would have been an excellent individual goal.
The young Binos then had further chances with 20 minutes to play, as Ryan Lockie and Cameron’s top-corner bound free-kicks were saved. Vezza was then played in by substitute Marc Innes on the right of the box. The winger did well to out muscle his marker before firing over the bar.
Our U20 side had three chances to win the game in the dying moments. Banner had a certain headed goal from a corner cleared off the line. The boys tried to scramble the ball over the line, but it was cleared again. Another corner was then swung in for Banner to meet, but the central defender was again denied, this time by the Alloa keeper.
The boys will be disappointed with the draw, considering the chances they had in the closing moments of the game. The young Binos return to action this Sunday, as they face Ross County in the Scottish Youth Cup on the Forthbank Astro, kick-off 2.00pm.
R McLaren (J Watson 76’)
T Evans (M Innes 71’)
Subs (not used): D Cumming, B Mair, D Young, Trialist