The Braves grabbed a huge three points away to East Stirlingshire on Saturdays as they aim to finish the season on a high.
Ricky Waddell’s mean started the game brightly with early efforts from Ross McNeil and Neil McLaughlin cause trouble to the Shire goal.
Shire grew into the game though and use the weather conditions to their advantage. Two cross balls caused all sorts of problems in the Braves box but no one on the home side could connect with the ball.
Seventeen minutes on the clock and the Braves would open the scoring. A long ball was headed on by McNeil into the path of David Winters, the veteran showed great skill to beat his defender and slide the ball across the box, finding McLaughlin who smashed home into the net.
The goal sparked a revival from the Shire, forcing Alex Marshall into some good saves as well as Nicky Low hitting the side netting from the edge of the box.
Shire would take the game into the break level however. A cross was beautifully met by Jonathan Brown, Marshall got a hand the strikers header to his right hand side, but couldn’t keep the ball out of the net.
The second half again started lively for the Braves and they would grab that second goal early on.
After Serge Makofo’s darting run, he collided with the Shire keeper, the ball then landed to the feet of David Winters as the referee stopped play for the Shire keeper down on the ground. Once play resumed from the drop ball, Winters at the edge of the box, lofted the ball in meeting the oncoming McLaughlin who headed home for this and the team’s second of the afternoon.
Shire would find themselves a man down when experienced midfielder Nicky Low was shown a straight red card for dissent.
Despite a resurgence from the Shire, extra man advantage counted for the Braves. McNeil had an effort from outside of the box easily saved by the keeper as the chances kept coming.
The third goal came from the top goalscorer McNeil with twenty minutes remaining. A poor pass back was latched onto by McNeil and he made no mistake in slotting the ball into the opposite corner to kill off the tie.
A hugely important confidence win for the Braves who show great signs of potential.
It’s cup action next weekend as East of Scotland side Dunipace visit Alliance Park for the Quarter Finals on the South Regional Challenge Cup, Saturday 7th March, 3pm KO.