Hill of Beath Hawthorn 9-1 Stirling University
East of Scotland League Cup
Hill of Beath dished out a football lesson to Stirling University in the final game of qualifying section F, to book their place in the League Cup draw. A hat-trick each from Daniel Watt and Joe Kirby helped put the University side to the sword, with a ruthless display to build confidence ahead of the start to the league season.
Haws gaffer Kevin Fotheringham made four changes to the side that lost to Bonnyrigg in midweek: Denton, Conners, Adamson and Elder all back into the side, with Harrower suspended and Kellichan, Wright and Payne all dropping to the bench.
Haws came flying out of the traps, and were on the scoresheet within 42 seconds of kick-off, Charlie Denton getting the home side off to the best possible start, strolling through a static Uni defence and firing in a neat finish from the edge of the box.
The visitors were caught cold and Haws were keen to press home their advantage, piling on the pressure with four corners in quick succession. Although the hosts were flying, Stirling quickly got themselves back on level terms in the tenth minute, David Beaton applying the finish to a fine looking move. But in truth, that was about as good as it got for the Uni boys.
Dair went off after twenty minutes, replaced by Joe Kirby. Although Haws were dominating possession and creating plenty of chances, it took until the half hour to get themselves back in front, Daniel Watt doing the damage down the left and squaring for Calum Adamson to tap-in from close range. Two minutes later Watt himself got on the scoresheet taking advantage of a goalkeeping howler to make it 3-1.
The Fifers were threatening to run riot, and looked like scoring with every attack. The Stirling keeper was just about keeping the scoreline respectable, but wasn't getting much protection from his defence, and the visitors looked vulnerable whenever Haws got into the wide areas with Leishman & Grierson. On 39 minutes, Ricky Patrick was next on the scoresheet, slamming home his header with defence statuesque. The marking wasn't any better two minutes later, Watt helping himself to his second of the match, and Stirling must have been glad when the ref blew for half-time.
Coming back out 5-1 down, it was all about damage limitation for Uni in the second half, but they only managed to steady the ship for the first 10 minutes. Haws were still piling forward at every opportunity, and Watt soon had his hat-trick to make it 6-1 with another cool finish.
The University defence were all over the place by now, and most of them looked like they'd rather be in a lecture than face any more punishment. On the hour mark, the game turned into the Joe Kirby show, the young substitute bagging himself a stunning hat-trick in just 11 minutes. His second was the pick of the bunch, a quick tackle to in to rob the defender followed by a powerful run into the box and a classy right-footed finish inside the far post. The kid was clearly enjoying himself and was rinsing his marker both physically and verbally, but the lack of reaction said everything about the lack of bite in the Stirling defence.
Haws could afford to ease off a little as the clock ticked down and in the end it was all just a little bit too easy for them. The goal aside, Stirling never really laid a glove on the Fifers and in truth, went down without much of a flight. So Haws finish second in the qualifying section, with two wins and a defeat enough to take them through to the knock-out stages.
Next up for Haws is another home fixture, with Dunbar the visitors to Keirs Park on Saturday 11 August, with a 2.30 kick-off.
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