Brechin City Football Club

Glebe Park, Brechin, Angus DD9 6BJ

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Raith Rovers 1 Brechin City 1

Match Report - By Steven Mew

Brechin were looking to get some consistency in their results as they took on Raith Rovers at Starks Park yesterday afternoon. New Rovers gaffer, Craig Levein, got off to a flying start last Saturday when Raith came from behind to thrash Stranraer 4-1 at Stair Park. This result is made even more impressive when you consider that City were beaten 3-1 at the same venue a week beforehand.

City gaffer Michael O’Neill was still without Stuart Ferguson, Steven Ferguson, Kevin Byers and Grant Johnson who were all injured but Craig McEwan was back in the side after making a remarkable comeback from a fairly serious injury he sustained against Cowdenbeath four weeks ago. Chris Geddes, who was doubtful before the game after picking up a knock against Alloa last Saturday, was declared fit enough to start alongside Paddy Connolly upfront.

City started with a back four of McEwan, White, Ward and Walker while the midfield consisted of Callaghan, Devlin, Smith and Hampshire. The aforementioned Geddes and Connolly paired upfront. Raith started with former City favourite Kevin Fotheringham at left back while players such as Ian Harty and Paul McManus upfront were always going to cause the City defence a lot of problems. There was also another former City man in Raith colours in Iain Davidson, but City fans may be excused for not remembering him as he played very few games for the club in 2003/04.

City started the game brightly and forced a series of corners in the opening few minutes but none found a City player in the box. It was the home side who created the first chance of the match when Steven Bonar’s cross fell to former City man Iain Davidson on the edge of the box but his shot flew over the bar. City’s first chance of the match arrived a few minutes later when they won a free kick just outside the box and Stuart Callaghan curled the free kick narrowly over the bar.

Raith came very close to breaking the deadlock after ten minutes when an error in the City defence allowed Paul McManus to run clear down the right hand side and the striker cut inside before unleashing a powerful low shot which was blocked by the legs of Nelson in the Brechin goal. Michael O’Neill was clearly furious with the defending and City attacked immediately, with Chris Geddes and Paddy Connolly linking up well to set up Steven Hampshire but his shot was well blocked by the impressive Mark Campbell.

However, it was Raith who continued to create the bulk of the chances and came even closer just a few minutes later when Ian Harty played Stephen Manson through on goal and his effort had Nelson beaten but the ball came off the post, much to the relief of the Brechin supporters in the North Stand behind the goal.

Despite Raith having most of the possession, it was City who took the lead against the run of play in the 17th minute. Steven Hampshire made a good run down the right hand side and with only one red shirt in the box; his cross came off the chest of Brian Fairburn and into his own net to give City a fortunate opener.

Rovers were now desperate to get back into the game after this set-back, and immediately forced Craig Nelson into a couple of saves. Nelson comfortably saved a Mark Campbell header from a corner before Stephen Manson’s deflected shot was saved superbly by the City keeper from point blank range.

Brechin came agonisingly close to scoring a second goal against the run of play when Scott Devlin surged forward in midfield and with nothing else going for him, he unleashed a spectacular shot from 30 yards which dipped viciously and cracked the top of the crossbar with Rovers keeper Michael Brown nowhere near it.

City ended the first half strongly as Paddy Connolly beat his marker before striking a shot which was comfortably saved by Brown in the Raith goal. Raith were most definitely unfortunate to be behind as they had the bulk of the possession and chances in the first period, but in saying that City had their fair share of opportunities too.

The first half was end to the end stuff but the second half failed to live up to this and was a fairly dull spectacle at times with both sides battling for possession in midfield. It was the home side who started the second half positively and came close when Stephen Manson somehow slammed the ball over the bar from close range after some good play down the right hand side.

Raith huffed and puffed while City defended desperately to hang onto the one goal advantage, but no clear cut chances were created, with any opportunities for the home side not troubling Nelson in the slightest.

With 15 minutes left Raith were awarded a penalty kick when McManus was played clean through on goal and just as the striker surged into the box, he was brought down by a mis-timed Davie White tackle. The referee pointed to the spot almost immediately and there were no complaints from the City players as White clearly made no contact with the ball which was unfortunate as ‘whitey’ was having a very good game before this. Ian Harty stepped up to take a spot kick and with Nelson getting a hand to the spot kick, the power of the penalty beat him and Raith were now deservedly on level terms.

Raith went in search of a winner but it was Brechin who came agonisingly close to a winner in the closing stages of the match when a through ball was latched onto by Iain Russell and with only the keeper to beat, he played straight into the keeper’s arms. With time running out, Darren Smith’s cross from the left hand side found Russell unmarked at the back post and his header was somehow tipped onto the bar by Michael Brown and the ball was cleared to safety by Kevin Fotheringham.

Overall, City went home happy with a point as they were under pressure for the majority of the game, and were perhaps fortunate that Raith didn’t have their shooting boots on; otherwise they would probably have been on the end of a defeat.

Next up for City is Ayr United at home on Saturday and if Brechin are to continue challenging for the play-off’s, this one of the games they have to win.

The official Raith Rovers website ( spoke to Michael O’Neill after the match and this was what he had to say:

“It was a strange kind of game. I think we were fortunate to get away with a point, if I’m honest, and yet there’s a little sense of disappointment because we had 2 great chances in the last 10 minutes to win the game as well.

“The goalkeeper just makes a reaction save at the end and it comes off the crossbar, Darren (Smith) has done brilliantly on that side to get the ball in. But Iain (Russell) is just needing a goal to get him off and running.

“But I felt that we were poor today in possession of the ball which hasn’t been a problem for us to date.

“Raith have obviously been galvanised by Craig (Levein) coming in and we’ve got to be happy to come here and get a point. But as I say I think we were slightly fortunate to get away with that.”

Other Results - Bell's League Division 2

Alloa Athletic 0 Ayr United 1

Next week's opponents Ayr edge out Alloa at Recreation Park.

Forfar Athletic 1 Cowdenbeath 1

Forfar snatch an unlikely draw at home to Cowdenbeath.

Morton 1 Stirling Albion 1

The Ton held by Stirling at Cappielow.

Peterhead 5 Stranraer 2

Peterhead pick up their second victory of the season in style.


16 September 2006
Stark's Park
Attendance: 1818
Ian Harty 74 (Pen)
Brian Fairburn (O.G.) 17

Brechin City

1 Craig Nelson
2 Craig McEwan
3 Stuart Callaghan
4 John Ward
5 Scott Walker
6 David White
7 Scott Devlin
8 Steve Hampshire
9 Paddy Connolly
10 Chris Geddes
11 Darren Smith
12 John Hillcoat
14 Iain Russell
15 Ross Archibald
16 Richard Walker
17 Charlie King


  • On: Richard Walker
    Off: Chris Geddes ( 52 )
  • On: Iain Russell
    Off: Steve Hampshire ( 67 )
  • On: Charlie King
    Off: Scott Devlin ( 75 )

Raith Rovers

1 Michael Brown
2 Steven Bonar
3 Kevin Fotheringham
4 Mark Campbell
5 Todd Lumsden
6 Neil Janzyk
7 Brian Fairburn
8 Kyle Davidson
9 Ian Harty
10 Paul McManus
11 Stephen Manson
12 Chris Fahey
14 Sean Kilgannon
15 Armand One
16 Colin Leiper
17 .


  • On: Sean Kilgannon
    Off: Brian Fairburn ( 54 )
  • On: Armand One
    Off: Kyle Davidson ( 84 )