The University of Stirling men’s football team won their first league title since 2013 yesterday as they defeated Nottingham Trent University 1-0 to become BUCS Premier North champions.
With Stirling starting the match two points behind Nottingham Trent, it was a winner-takes-all clash with very little chances created by either side in the first half and defences very much in control.
With Nottingham Trent knowing a draw would hand them the title, the second half continued in a similar vein before Stirling manager brought on the attacking reinforcements to ramp up the pressure in the final quarter.
The approach began bearing fruit with more chances coming the way of Stirling, the best of which came to substitute Tom Cowley who hit the bar with a powerful strike.
Just as time was running out, a strong run into the box by Louis Kennedy in the 87th minute created space for Kieran Hall whose layoff was then cooly finished by Craig Brown. The team then held their nerve in the final minutes before the final whistle sparked wild celebrations from the newly-crowned champions.
Commenting on the success, University of Stirling Head Football Coach, Chris Geddes, said: “We went all-out attack – we had every attacker we had on (the field) – and thankfully Kieran’s flipped one round the corner and Craig’s put it away so I’m just really happy for the players.
“These things don’t happen very often to footballers and if you’re involved in university football this is massive. For us to be winning the league against some of the top university teams in the north of Britain is great and now we go with confidence into the British Championships and hopefully take the form into that.
Elated captain, Angus Mailer, said: “It’s a brilliant feeling. Over the course of the ten games I think the boys thoroughly deserved to win. Coming down here has never been easy – we’d never won here in my four years – but a bit of composure from Broony sealed it and it was a great feeling when it (the goal) went in.
“We had to go for it. I said to the boys at half-time to be patient and we’ll get our chance and luckily we took it and it’s brilliant.”
The team now progress to the last 16 of the British Championships which brings the North and South Premier teams together in a knockout draw to win university football’s top prize.
Team list: Ben Fry, Alex Webb, Angus Mailer, Ben Quigley, Conor Doan, Matty Burrows, Tom Cowley, Craig Brown, Callum Downie, Jason Jarvis, Kieran Hall. Substitutes: James Berry, Louis Kennedy, Jamie Penker, Calum Heath, Liam McMaster.
In other football news there was also league success for the football men’s 3rd team who continued their unbeaten run in Scottish League 3A to win the title with one game to spare.
The University of Stirling has been Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence since 2008 and is The Times / Sunday Times Good University Guide’s UK Sports University of the Year 2020. The University offers an unrivalled all-round environment for excellence in sport education, research, participation, and performance.