Jul 25 2012 by David Ogilvie, Stirling Observer Wednesday
Brora Rangers 3 Stirling Albion 0
THE second game of Albion’s Highland tour ended in disappointment at Dudgeon Park on Saturday as they slumped to defeat in the first ever meeting between the clubs.
Greig McDonald made nine changes to the team that started the 4-0 win over Strathspey Thistle on Friday night – only Danny Ashe and Marc McCulloch kept their places – but after a bright opening the Binos found themselves well beaten at this pleasant costal venue.
Brora finished third from bottom of the Highland League last season and have never won the title – they were runners-up in 1980 – but backing from a wealthy local businessman has attracted experienced SPL duo Richie Hart and Stuart Golabek, who spent many years with Inverness CT and Ross County.
They are tipped to be among seven or eight possible contenders who could take the title from current champions Forres Mechanics and looked good on this showing, although they were helped by Stirling giving the ball away on a regular basis.
Albion started well enough and Scott Davidson had a strong penalty claim turned down before McDonald headed over from a corner when he might have scored.
But it was Brora who took the lead in 24 minutes when the excellent Hart was given far too much space and he thumped a low 25-yarder beyond new signing Mark Peat. Only a bad miss soon after from Colin Campbell prevented further damage before the break.
The visitors were a bit better in the early part of the second half but Andy Macleod’s team doubled their lead in 63 minutes, when Campbell headed in a deep Hart cross and substitute Liam Baxter wrapped things up from close range five minutes later after the ball had come back off the post.
McDonald opted not to use his subs, the only change an enforced one in the first half when Gary Thom replaced Ross McGeachie. Graham Weir almost pulled one back for Stirling but his deflected effort struck the woodwork and the travelling fans headed 200 miles back down the A9, hoping for better things against Falkirk in the Ramsdens Cup on Saturday.
BRORA RANGERS: Allan, Lamb, Golabek, Hind, M MacLean, Gibb, Gillespie, Hart, Kerr, Mackay, Campbell. Subs: Ross, Cunningham, Baxter, Grant, Smith, Innes, K MacLean, Greig, Duff, Taylor.
STIRLING ALBION: Peat, McGeachie (Thom 26), Ashe, McCulloch, Allison, McDonald, Day, Weir, Davidson, Coyne, McCunnie. Subs: Clark, Macpherson, McSorley, Brass, Filler, Flood, Kirwan, Hunter.
Referee: Billy Baxter