A goal either side of half-time saw Whitehill Welfare secure a Lowland League double over Stirling University this season – and put a major dent in the students’ title bid.
The result helped Spartans move nine points clear at the top and ever closer to the championship.
Wayne McIntosh saw the first sight of goal five minutes in but his curling left-foot effort flew over while, at the other end, Ryan Millar found space in the box but Bryan Young saved his effort.
There was disbelief amongst the visiting bench on 11 minutes as Steven Manson was sent sprawling in the box having wrong footed Matthew Sheridan with a lovely turn, but referee Mark Ainslie waved play on.
It was an entertaining end-to-end game and, after 18 minutes, Chris Geddes beat the offside trap and his square ball to his waiting team-mates in front of goal was just cut out by the covering Andy Martin. A Manson cross from the right found then found Aaron Somerville who forced Ed Tierney in the Stirling goal to push his header round the post.
Geddes hit the byline and his angled shot was struck forcefully and Young did well to save it. Whitehill dealt with the resultant corner and some excellent link-up play down the left saw Wayne Sproule play McIntosh in on goal and from a tight angle his lob over Tierney fell the wrong side of the far post. Welfare were on top and two minutes before half-time the deadlock was broken when Andrew Kidd was clattered in the penalty area and Somerville sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot. He almost doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time when his header from an excellent Martin cross flew just over the bar. It was 2-0 though on 52 minutes as, after Young had saved well at one end, Kidd found Willie Kidd with a great ball and he scored from six yards.
A late push from Stirling saw a great finish from Paul Sludden ruled out for offside on 82 minutes and, after Willie Kidd was adjudged to have handled on the edge of his penalty area, Bryan Young saved twice at full stretch and substitute Colin McDiarmid hooked clear when a goal looked certain.
Stirling University: Tierney, Burns, Sheridan, Nixon, Sutherland, Jones, Leigh, Faulds (McWhirter 62), McKee (Kelly 62), Geddes, Millar (Sludden 57). Sub: Hughes.
Whitehill Welfare: Young, Martin, Bruce, W Kidd, Thom, McGlashan, Sproule, Manson (McDiarmid 83), A Kidd, Somerville (Quinn 62), McIntosh. Subs: Dodds, Cantley.