GARY STILLWELL led the way with a fine hat-trick as Rhu made it seven wins from nine matches courtesy of a 4-2 win at home to Stirling University on Saturday.

Rhu returned to Ardenconnel Park looking to take their fine cup form of the previous weeks into the resumption of their Caledonian League campaign, but poor weather made it difficult for both teams to play their preferred free-flowing football.

After a closely-contested opening spell, Rhu took the lead 20 minutes into the match when a cross from Mark Toms picked out Stillwell to fire home his first from close range.

The challenging conditions meant clear-cut goalscoring chances were at a premium throughout the first half, but Stirling stunned their hosts with a quick counter-attack to level the match just before the interval.

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Stung by the loss of that goal, though, Rhu came out stronger in the second half, creating a series of goalscoring opportunities and breaking down Stirling’s attacking threat all over the pitch.

And the home side were rewarded for their domination at the start of the second period when Ali Maule played a fine first time ball down the wing, setting up leading scorer Callum Smith, who dribbled into the box before seeing his shot deflected past the keeper and into the net.

That goal gave Rhu the impetus they needed to go on and hammer home their advantage, and number three arrived soon after when Ally Fagan found space in the box before laying the ball off for Stillwell to fire home his second of the afternoon.

And any lingering doubt about the outcome of the match was dispelled when Stillwell, clearly high on confidence, made room for himself inside the penalty area to complete his hat-trick with the home side’s fourth.

READ MORE: Rhu keep their cool to win dramatic cup tie on penalties

Rhu defended well for what was left of the game, a common theme in recent weeks, and though Stirling added a late second goal from the penalty spot, the points were already safe by then.

Squad: Brown, Milne, Brodie, Black, Maule, Scullion, Gorman, Stillwell, Toms, Sharkey, Smith, Bell, Gallagher, Fagan.

Saturday’s win leaves Rhu in seventh place in the Caledonian League’s first division, with 14 points from seven matches, but with games in hand on all the teams above them in the table.

This Saturday, November 9, Rhu’s league credentials will be tested to the full when table-topping Cambusbarron Rovers, who have 10 wins and a draw from their 11 league games so far, are the visitors to Ardenconnel Park. Kick-off is at 2pm.

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