Lions on the prowl at Armadale
Stirling Lions moved into third place on the All Flags State Premier League table after a 2-0 win against Armadale at Alfred Skeet Reserve on Sunday.
A thunder bolt from skipper Andy Brown on the stroke of half time gave the Lions the lead at the break and the points were made safe when Irish import Gareth McGlynn added a second on 57 minutes.
"It was paramount we did something after the loss in the cup last week, but we've worked hard on the track and come out with a game plan and really we should have won by more," said Lions skipper Andy Brown.
"Armadale battled all day and it's never an easy place to come to and get three points, but we're just happy to get the win and get ready for Inglewood United next week."
Both sides made to changes to their starting line-ups for this important game. The home side made three to the side that beat Bunbury Forum Force 3-0 last week, keeper Jack Adams replaced Cyril Sharrock, while Darren Francis and Sean Nicholls replaced the injured Nick Viaggio, while Rav Kuppusamy dropped to the bench. The Lions welcomed back Kyran Nunes and Irish duo Jason Gavin and McGlynn from the side that beat Western Knights, with Jon Stripe omitted, Michael Pugliese suspended and Matt Harold dropping to the bench.
It was an even opening with both sides having early chances. First on eight minutes Lions defender Dennis Galan sent Anthony Lyons clear, but the former Forrestfield United striker fired wide from 12-yards. Then eight minutes later Armadale's Joseph Tavernese crossed from the right, but Darren Francis' close-range header was straight at Lions keeper Cory Hugo.
The visitors were well on top and on 26 minutes Galan fed McGlynn, whose run took him into the penalty area, he exchanged passes with O'Callaghan but Mark McClements got back to get in an important challenge to deny the Irishman.
Armadale were hanging on as The Lions pressed for the opener and their keeper Jack Adams was alert to deny O'Callaghan's header on 38 minutes after Nunes' cross. He was in the action again on 41 minutes, when Lyons sent Brown in on goal, but the Armadale custodian was out quick to save bravely at his feet.
It looked like it wasn't going to be the Lions day when Jamie Tandy's free kick crashed off the crossbar on 42 minutes, but moments later they did break the deadlock.
Galan's cross from the right was flicked on by O'Callaghan and the ball fell to Brown at the back post whose volley flew into the top corner of the net, giving Jack Adams no chance.
The Lions opened brightly in the second half and sixty seconds in Tandy was sent clear, but the former Manchester City defender shot wide from 18-yards. Then five minutes later McGlynn sent O'Callaghan down the right, the striker cut inside Sean Nicholls but his curling shot was well saved by Jack Adams.
Their pressure was rewarded with a second goal on 57 minutes. Tandy's fantastic through ball sent McGlynn clear; he kept his composure and finished clinically past Jack Adams to double their lead.
Armadale looked to hit back immediately and Tavernese shot at the back post flew into the side netting on the hour and ten minutes later they went even closer. Joshua Maddison found Tom Bliss and his shot from the edge of the penalty area was well saved by Hugo.
It was the hosts finishing the game the better and second half substitute Alan Darlington played in Francis, but his long-range shot curled just the wrong side of the post.
Then in stoppage time it was Francis again who made space on the edge of the penalty area, but his powerful shot was superbly saved by Hugo at full stretch.
Next week the Lions host Inglewood United at Macedonia Park, while Armadale entertain the NTC at Alfred Skeet Reserve.
Stirling Lions 2 (Brown 43', McGlynn 57')
Sunday 20th May 2012
Venue - Alfred Skeet Oval
Kick-off - 3pm
Crowd: Approx 200
Referee: Joe Fusari
Armadale - GK Jack ADAMS, 2 Sean NICHOLLS, 3 Mark McCLEMENTS, 6 Joshua MADDISON, 8 Mitch CASTRILLI, 9 Darren FRANCIS, 11 Blake ADAMS, 13 Sam LOVELESS (10 Alan DARLINGTON 81'), 15 Joseph TAVERNESE (5 Nathan COSTELLO 81'), 17 Jason POTTIER (7 Rav KUPPUSAMY 65'), 19 Tom BLISS
Subs not used - RGK Alex TAYLOR, 16 Allan CLAXTON
Yellow Cards - Nil
Stirling Lions - GK Cory HUGO, 2 Kyran NUNES, 3 Gareth McGLYNN, 4 Jason GAVIN, 5 Clayton ARNEZ, 6 Jamie TANDY, 7 Jamie De ABREU (15 Andy HAROLD 51'), 8 Andy BROWN, 9 Anthony LYONS, 10 Phil O'CALLAGHAN (12 Adam LUCA 85'), 11 Dennis GALAN
Subs not used - RGK Drew JENKE, 4 Matt HAROLD, 13 Tom KENNEDY
Yellow Cards - Brown 74'