Lowland League leaders BSC Glasgow left stunned

BSC Glasgow 0 - 1  :: East Stirlingshire :: Ferrari Packaging Lowland League :: 9th December, 2017

Lowland League leaders BSC Glasgow were stunned by a late winner from Paul Sludden of East Stirlingshire in what was a very ill-tempered affair at the Indodrill on Saturday.

With both teams ending the game with ten men, as well as BSC manager Stephen Swift being sent down the tunnel by the referee, the Glasgow side failed to find a way through the resolute Shire defence, denting their hopes of a first league title in their history.

When considering the state of affairs at half time, it is amazing that this game ended in the way that it did. In many ways, the first half served as a sort of recon mission for BSC as they sought to identify weaknesses in East Stirlingshire’s game. They were undoubtedly the dominant force as the Shire struggled to create anything of note in the first 45 minutes. Despite this superiority, though, much of the same could be said for BSC- a problem Swift must iron out if they are to go all the way this season. A half chance for Jack Smith when he was inches from connecting with a Ross McMillan header back across goal from a Stephen Murray free kick perhaps the only meaningful chance of the half.

However, this was all to change as the teams came out for the second half. From the first corner of the second 45, BSC were awarded a penalty after Adam Murray handled from another towering McMillan header. Martin Grehan stepped up only to see his low effort saved well down to the left of Jamie Barclay. Far from ideal for the Lowland League leaders, yet still a signal of intent that hadn’t been seen in the first half.

Minutes later, two quick fire yellow cards for the Shire’s Connor Greene appeared to make BSC’s job even easier as their dominance at 11 vs 11 had never been in question. Smith was unlucky to see his shot from the resulting free kick routine cannon back off the post but, again, the signs were there that BSC were ready to take command of the game.

Perhaps this fact was taken for granted by the home team, though, as the Shire began to look an altogether more dangerous force with a man less. A combination of the eventual match winner, Sludden, along with teammates Derek Ure and Jamie McCormack were exploiting gaps in the BSC defence almost at will. Their shape appeared incredibly precarious at the back as they searched for a breakthrough at the other end.

The referee certainly didn’t help BSC in their hunt for a goal, showing Smith a yellow card for simulation from what looked like a tackle that should’ve resulted in a second penalty for the Glasgow side. Regardless of this, as the Shire sat deeper awaiting the chance to break, it increasingly looked as if it wasn’t going to be BSC’s day as, time and again, they were missing the last piece of the puzzle needed to unlock the visitor’s defence.

As the game entered added time, though, there was to be the match’s defining moment. A careless foul on the edge of the BSC box from defender, Ciaran Donnelly, resulted in his second yellow card, squaring the teams up at ten men each with minutes remaining. Sludden struck the free kick low and hard into Stephen Barr’s far corner, leaving the otherwise excellent BSC keeper rooted to the spot. It left the Lowland League leaders ruing their failure to take advantage of their earlier dominance.

The defeat leaves them three points clear at the top after East Kilbride suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at home to Edinburgh University. BSC travel to Peffermill Playing Fields next as they hope to wipe out any momentum that the Edinburgh side gained on the back of this result, while building up some of their own ahead of some very important Christmas fixtures.

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