The Edinburgh City Gentlemen visited Stirling University on a cloudy Saturday for their first game in the 2014/15 Scottish Championship.
Both teams struggled to find their rhythm in the opening minutes of the game, and possession changed hands frequently as players on both sides sent errant passes out of bounds. Ed Fennel eventually broke open the scoring on a strong individual effort, dodging past his defender and putting a shot past the Stirling goalkeeper. Edinburgh’s offence came alive after Ed’s goal. Ed quickly scored again off a feed from Ross “Chops” Waugh, and Chops then added two of his own to put Edinburgh up 4-0. The Gentlemen did not let up; Colin Gill, John Lee, Alastair Lee, and Bret Retallick each put in a goal before the end of the quarter, which ended with a comfortable 8-0 Edinburgh lead.
The second quarter was much of the same, and Edinburgh put in another seven goals with relative ease. Newcomer Peter Gannon got on the score sheet with two great assists to Bret, who shared the quarter’s scoring with John and Chops. Much of Edinburgh’s dominance in the first half should be attributed to the strength of their ride, which stymied Stirling’s attempts to clear the ball, and to the excellent face-off play of Nick Duncan-Price, whose quickness on the draw and communication with his wingers almost guaranteed Edinburgh continued possession after a goal.
An Edinburgh penalty late in the first half gave Stirling possession of the ball to start the third quarter, and Stirling’s chances on their man-up opportunity set the tone for the quarter that saw their strongest offensive effort of the game. Stirling’s attack was able to work their way past Edinburgh’s stingy defence on several occasions and managed five shots on goal during the quarter, but were unable to beat Edinburgh’s goalie Devin Oliver, who ended the game with 10 saves. Stirling’s offence was unable to keep Edinburgh off the board, however, and Nick rounded off the Gentlemen’s five goals of the quarter with his first after running directly from the bench and catching a long pass from Bret.
After the offensive flurry of the first three quarters gave way to a defensive game in the fourth. Veteran defender Patrick Burke helped to harden Stirling’s young defence in the face of some of Edinburgh’s best ball movement of the game, and goalkeeper Rob Senior’s four saves (out of 12 in the game) denied some excellent scoring chances by Edinburgh’s Jim Philp and Pete Gannon. The Gentlemen’s only tally for the quarter came from John’s fast-break sprint deep in his own zone. Edinburgh’s defence tightened up in the quarter as well, allowing only a single low-angle shot, and the game ended in a 21-0 win for Edinburgh City.