An inexperienced and depleted men’s lacrosse squad were given a complete masterclass by a technically superior Stirling. On a ferociously bitter autumnal afternoon at Garscube, Glasgow were blown away by Stirling’s vision and creativity in a 12-0 whitewash, in what was very much a baptism of fire for this young university outfit.
A daunting afternoon was made almost impossible as the opposition raced into an early 2-0 lead. Intricate passing exposed Glasgow’s defensive frailties, whilst their opposition radiated an ominous amount of composure in front of goal.
Whilst Stirling were unerringly clinical, the hosts on several occasions squandered promising positions. The Glasgow outfit were boasting a squad consisting heavily of freshers who lacked a distinct cutting edge to their play that the game required.
Struggling to maintain possession and generate any semblance of pressure, the home squad crumpled against the aggressive nature of the opposition defence, which saw them constantly pressed back by their rivals’ relentlessly attacking sticks.
Whilst the University’s evident lack of fluidity reflected the number of new faces, Stirling, in stark contrast, displayed the confidence of team beginning to gel. In defence, they were anchored by the imposing physicality of Jamie Fleming, whilst in attack there front line exuded an almost telepathic understanding, as time after time they exploited Glasgow defensive naivety. Four quick goals in the second quarter put the game to bed, and as Glasgow surged forward searching for a sense of parity, they were ruthlessly dismantled by the speed of Stirling’s counter-attack.
The heated game at times threatened to boil over into a free-for-all ruckus, yet the officials for the large part maintained order, or at least as much order as one can expect to maintain, when faced with the prospect of twenty players chasing and beating each other with sticks.
It was a refreshing change from mainstream football to see grown men who after a bit of argy bargy, shook hands and got on with it, as opposed to treating us to the amateur dramatics we are becoming accustomed to seeing week in, week out, on the football fields both domestically and internationally.
Stirling superior numbers allowed them to exploit the rolling substitutions policy whilst Glasgow whose depleted squad did not allow for such luxury saw in the second half the game run away from them. Fresh legs in the opposition certainly paid dividends and they proceeded to create a whole host of chances against their lagging rivals.
The score could easily have been doubled but for the goal-keeping heroics of Marc Nikolai and a resilient rear guard, fighting to keep their heads held high. The constant barrage of pressure took eventually took it’s toll on the fatigued hosts and saw Stirling triumph at the final whistle.
After the game, captain Chris Paton was philosophical in defeat and reflected on his side’s inexperience:
“The club started four years ago, and now most of the founding members have moved on. Today most of the lads out there were Freshers who are new to the game.”
Paton also talked about the increasing disparity in the Scottish game and its increasing international influence:
“It’s almost impossible for us to keep up with teams such as St Andrews and Edinburgh. He added: “They have an influx of Americans who were brought up playing the game where as we are all novices. Next year we’ll have a lot more experience and will definitely be up there with the rest of them.”