Coldstream 0-2 Stirling Uni Reserves

Coldstream defender' Kieran Ainslie tackles Stirling goalscorer Elliot Sutcliffe. Pictures: Kimberley Powell
Coldstream defender' Kieran Ainslie tackles Stirling goalscorer Elliot Sutcliffe. Pictures: Kimberley Powell

Coldstream’s momentum came to a halt as they became the first Premier Division team to drop points to Stirling University Reserves.

Two goals from man-of-the-match Elliot Sutcliffe gave the visitors a deserved win against a depleted Coldstream side missing a host of key players .

Coldstream players put heads in hands after conceding the second goal. Picture: Kimberley Powell

Coldstream players put heads in hands after conceding the second goal. Picture: Kimberley Powell

Neil Oliver’s men went into the game in reasonably good form having followed a solid performance in the Scottish Cup defeat to Edinburgh City with four league points from two away games in the capital.

But this was a fixture they would have expected to win given the poor start Stirling have made to the season. The Students went into the game with no points after six league games. They finished it still bottom, but just one point behind the Streamers.

To compound what was a miserable day for the Home Park club, injuries to two more key players mean the squad is being stretched to its limits.

Conor Devaney has been playing through the pain barrier in recent weeks, but the midfielder’s hernia took its toll shortly before half time and he had to be replaced. He needs an operation and is likely to be out for six weeks.

Striker Kris O’Neil called off on the morning of this match having sustained a metatarsal injury in midweek which will sideline him for a similar length of time.

They join defender Greg Hay and midfielder Ben Jackson on the long-term injury list. Jack Hay and Jonny Simpson were both suspended for this game and, for different reasons, won’t be available for another month.

Trialist Rudy McLeod was handed his debut at right-back, while midfielder Andy Douglas was drafted back in before he leaves to go travelling down under. New players are needed urgently.

Stirling may be short of confidence, but they had the edge over Coldstream in terms of fitness and sharpness.

Sutcliffe, a beanpole striker, caused the home side all sorts of problems with his superb link-up play. But his opening goal, a weak shot from the edge of the box which wrong-footed Coldstream goalkeeper Mark Walters, was a bad one to lose.

The home side created a couple of half-chances shortly before the interval. But Sutcliffe’s second goal, which came after Coldstream gave the ball away on the halfway line, wrapped up the points. His powerful strike flew into the top corner from 18 yards.

Coldstream: Walters, R McLeod, Hebdon, Allan, Ainslie, Douglas, Rutherford (Johnson 85), Devaney (Heugh 42), Graham, Crawford, Coyle.