2006/2007: Scottish Premiership Two



M. Dunn15B. Archibald
R. Watson14D. Adamson
A. Rushforth13J. Sugar
A. Bulloch12S. Parlane
R. McClymont11R. Aitken
J. Noonan10A. Robertson
A. Boag9G. Lyndsay
A. Kelly1M. Hunter
D. Ziolo2A. Moffat
A. Baldioli3G. Mountford
G. Williamson4B. McFarlane
A. Williamson5P. Wilson
G. Harkness6C. Deacons
A. Rennick7T. Clarke
S. Kearns8J. Mathieson
G. King16R. Logan
J. Welsh17J. Donaldson
L. Hazelton18A. Boyd
N. Barrett19G. McRorie
TryAitken, McFarlane
Noonan (3)PenArchibald
Mr I. Rogerson (Selkirk)


In Premiership 2’s top-of-the-table clash at Braidholm leaders Stirling edged the result with a 13-9 win but GHA ran them very close.

Stirling’s players were in full of festive generosity, outplaying GHA for most of the first half but failing to turn their superiority into points.

It almost backfired dreadfully with GHA piling on the pressure in the second half. Only stalwart defence kept the home side out and County fans and players were much relieved to hear the final whistle.

In that first half Stirling dominated the line-out with “Tall Paul” Wilson regularly plundering possession on GHA’s put-in. The scrummage wasn’t such a good source of possession but Justin Matheson was once again immense as he picked up and drove, even from the untidiest ball presentation.

Stirling dominated from the kick-off but were penalised in a very promising position when it was deemed they collapsed a scrummage. The County pack were penalised a further four times during the game for collapsing the set-piece while attacing inside the GHA 22m.

A line-out steal by Craig Deacons in the seventh minute, after a superb probing punt by Brian Archibald led to the driving maul that saw Bruce McFarlane touch down.

Several scoring opportunities were then passed up by a County side who looked totally dominant.

A fine sequence of passing on the half-hour mark saw Justin Matheson popping up in the outside centre position and he released a scoring pass to the speedy Ross Aitken.

You sensed that County needed to get the scoreboard clicking over and this was reinforced when James Noonan slotted over a penalty to make the half-time score 10-3. It wouldn’t have flattered County if they had posted 25 or 30 points on the board.

Playing with the wind at their backs in the second half, GHA starved to kick everything and the slippery ball made it difficult for Stirling to make much forward progress.

In the opening minutes after the interval Davie Adamson took a heavy knock while making a try saving tackle and he was replaced on the right wing by teenage scrum-half Gordon McRorie.

Nerves amongst the Stirling fans started to fray when Noonan reduced the deficit to just four points with a 45th minute penalty. County didn’t seem to be able to string together any moves at all.

Andy Boyd then came on to replace Paul Wilson and in the 55th minute. Brian Archibald had his only successful kick of the day with a penalty awarded because GHA were talking back at referee Rogerson.

With 15 minutes to go however, another Noonan penalty made the difference just four points once again.

The closing sequences were all GHA and Noonan missed a penalty chance then the home pack had a try disallowed as the ball was deemed to have been held up over the line.

Stirling County are now nine points ahead of Edinburgh Accies, who moved above GHA into second spot after a 22-17 win over Selkirk at Raeburn Place.

Source: The Scotsman, Sunday 3rd December 2006 & The Stirling Observer, Wednesday 6th December 2006.

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