Following the U18s pre-season kicking off on Friday night, Sunday saw both Stirling Albion Youth Academy teams in action.
It was two challenging fixtures in the Forthbank sunshine as the U18s took on Ayr United and the U16s welcomed Dundee – both sides from tiers above Stirling Albion in the Club Academy Scotland set-up.
The high noon kick-off between our U18s and Ayr Utd was a rather one-sided affair, with the Binos struggling to get a hold on the game. Despite Conor Scott at centre-back working tirelessly to make some important blocks, the home side came in 4-0 down at the break.
Coach Shaun Conlon made some half-time alterations which got the required response, with the Binos clawing one back through the on-form Matthew Meechan. Evan Rennie cleverly intercepted an Ayr pass before stealing yards down the right-hand side and crossing neatly to the feet of Meechan at the front post – he made no mistake in sending the ball into the net.
In spite of the more positive second-half performance from Stirling, the Honest Men would continue to dominate the game and added a fifth goal before the end.
Final score: Stirling Albion U18s 1 – 5 Ayr Utd U18s
Following at 2.00pm was the 2005 squad making their first ever appearance together. Having been recruited for an anticipated start date back in March, the U16s were eager to finally pull on the red shirts and represent their new club.
Stirling started brightly and remained competitive throughout but it was Dundee who proved more clinical in front of goal, taking the lead after 10 minutes and doubling it by half-time.
The second half was similarly well contested by both sides with Evan McHugh turning in a good performance in the centre of the pitch for the home side.
However, it was again Dundee who were ruthless in the final third, stretching the lead to three before Stirling pulled one back from the penalty spot through Shay McLernon – he converted calmly to score the first goal for the new 2005 squad.
While Dundee deserved their victory, the Binos played well and for a team playing together for the first time there was lots to be pleased with.
Final score: Stirling Albion U16s 1-3 Dundee U16s