Stirling University EoS 1-4 Coldstream

Coldstream had to wear Stirling University's purple away kit, but ran out 4-1 winners.
Coldstream had to wear Stirling University's purple away kit, but ran out 4-1 winners.

Coldstream are through to the East of Scotland League Cup after coming from behind to win this qualifying tie - even though they had to borrow the home team’s purple away kit.

John Crawford scored twice and Jack Hay and Jordan Lauder were also on target as the visitors ran out comfortable winners.

But the result was soured somewhat by a serious knee injury for 16-year-old midfielder Ben Jackson, who had to be helped off the field early in the second half.

Victory means Coldstream finish top of Qualifying League section C ahead of Stirling University EoS and Kelso United, who will now have to play out a meaningless final group game on Saturday.

Although it all worked out well in the end, Coldstream coach Phil Johnson, taking the team in the absence of unavailable manager Neil Oliver, had problems to overcome before the match had even began.

The players had all arrived, but with club officials and the team kit stuck in a traffic jam on the Edinburgh bypass, kick-off was delayed from 7.45pm to 8pm.

When it became clear that the kit would not be there until well after 8pm, Johnson had to borrow Stirling University’s all-purple away kit to get the match under way.

The home team, perhaps understandably in the circumstances, got off to a far brighter start.

It took Coldstream half an hour to get a foothold in the game, but after coming back from a goal down to lead 2-1 at half time thanks to Crawford’s opportunist double, the visitors went on to dominate the second half.

Stirling University took the lead after 10 minutes when Coldstream struggled to clear their lines and were punished with a powerful shot which flew into the top corner from 20 yards.

Crawford pulled one back ten minutes later when he received a pass from Jackson at the edge of a crowded box. There didn’t seem to be much on, but the big striker turned quickly to fire a shot right-foot low into the bottom corner, catching the keeper by surprise.

The skipper then put his team ahead out of the blue when pouncing on a poor touch from a Stirling defender. Crawford nipped in to take possession and run through one-on-one with the goalkeeper. He showed composure and confidence to slot home.

With striker Jack Hay withdrawn into the gap between midfield and attack, Coldstream began to break down Stirling attacks and retain more possession of the ball for themselves.

They started the second half like the ended the first, controlling the game.

Hay connected sweetly to volley home the third from a left-wing cross after slick interplay between Jonny Simpson and Jordan Lauder.

And Lauder made it a four by expertly steering a right-foot shot low into the far corner from 16 yards.

Solid at the back, Coldstream also created lots of other chances in the second half, Hay going closest with another effort which smacked the post.

Johnson said: “We started poorly and took a long time to get going, but Coco scored two great goals out of nothing to put us in front and the second half performance was very good. Given the 90-mile trip on a Wednesday night and the hassle we had before kick-off, we’ve got to be pleased with a 4-1 win.”

He added: “The preparations were certainly not ideal. Our kit didn’t arrive until half way through the first half, but it could not have been helped.

“I’d like to thank the referee and Stirling University for their understanding, flexibility and help by agreeing to delay the kick-off and provide us with a set of strips. It was a fantastic gesture.”

Coldstream: M Walters, G Wales, R Baxendale (G Hay 55), M Allan, K Ainslie, B Jackson (R Graham 66), D Powling, A Douglas, J Crawford (J Lauder 55), J Hay, D Powling. Sub not used: P Johnson.