Brechin City Football Club

Glebe Park, Brechin, Angus DD9 6BJ

Tel : 01356 623344
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Ayr United 1 Brechin City 2

Match Report - By Steven Mew

City supporters who have witnessed the past three matches may be forgiven for being tired sick of Brechin giving themselves a mountain to climb after gifting the opposition the lead at half time. Fortunately, in all three of these matches, City have fought back well to either gain a share of the points or to earn all three. One refreshing aspect of Saturday was that despite City not playing fantastically well, they put themselves in a comfortable position and made the opposition fight for their lives at the death instead of the other way around.

It may be hard to believe but City had gone 7 matches unbeaten prior to this match. Some may argue that the reds performed better in the first quarter in the campaign yet came away with far less points than the current 2nd quarter.

With both sides tied in third place in the table, Brechin were eager to make the position their own. Ayr had been up near the top for the majority of the season but this was only down to their fantastic away form. Their home record, for a top half team, was dire to say the least and this continued on Saturday as City staged a smash and grab raid at Somerset Park to move ahead of the Honest Men in the table.

With Stuart Ferguson still sidelined, City gaffer Michael O’Neill handed 18 year old Matt Flynn his second start since joining the club. Iain Russell, who missed the last three matches with a hamstring strain, returned to the side while Scott Walker, who had a disappointing game against Queens Park mid-week, was dropped to the bench.

The youthful Ayr side made the early running and experienced hit-man Jerome Vareille dragged his effort wide of the goal after being set up by on loan St Johnstone man Ryan Stevenson.

The early pressure was maintained by the home side with Stevenson continuing to cause problems for the City defence as he flicked a header wide.

With quarter of an hour gone City eventually woke up and started playing some neat football on the excellent playing surface and they were denied a penalty when Kevin Byers burst into the box and was brought down just as he was about to cut the ball back.

Just five minutes later, however, City took the lead. The referee awarded City a free-kick twenty yards from goal after Iain Russell had been fouled. The ball was played into the path of Stuart Callaghan who rifled a shot against the wall and the deflection directed the ball into the corner with Mark McGeown stranded, having gone the other way.

City almost threw away their lead just four minutes later when the home side had the ball in the net. Ayr won a free kick out on the left and Ryan Stevenson’s whipped in ball was palmed out by Nelson but Martyn Campbell was on hand to rifle the ball into the net. However, the linesman had already raised his flag for offside, a decision which the Ayr fans were clearly unhappy about.

After this scare, the visitors took full advantage and doubled their advantage with half on hour on the clock. A Kevin Byers corner out on the left was headed down by Davie White and into the path of Iain Russell who knocked the ball in from close range. City could consider themselves fortunate as the ball appeared to come off Russell’s arm and Ayr keeper Mark McGeown was incensed at the decision to let the goal stand. After much debate over the goal, McGeown was booked for using foul and abusive language towards the far side linesman.

Ayr’s response was immediate and Jerome Vareille came close when he clipped the top of the crossbar while Paul Weaver watched his beautifully struck shot from 30 yards just go wide of the post. Nelson was then called into action to produce a good save from Stevenson’s low shot.

With five minutes until the break, Darren Smith, who was by far the best City player on the park against Queens Park mid-week, had to be taken off with an injury and he was replaced with Scott Walker as City looked to protect their lead.

In the first half, City created very little in the way of opportunities but they got the all important goals while David White and John Ward soaked up all the pressure and kept the Ayr attackers at bay.

The second half was a fairly lacklustre affair as City were happy to hold on to their two goal advantage. Ayr huffed and puffed but they failed to break down a City defence which didn’t look like conceding at all.

Defender Craig McEwan replaced the tiring Iain Russell after 65 minutes and while the substitution was quite negative, it was a good tactical move by O’Neill as Ayr struggled in the final third of the park.

Ayr boss Robert Connor made a double switch on 74 minutes as he attempted to try and turn the game around. Ryan Caddis replaced Brian Reid while Jerome Vareille made way for Gavin Friels and the latter made a huge impact.

Friels, recalled to the side from a loan stint with Glenafton, caused the defence problems with his blistering pace and he pulled a goal back with just eight minutes remaining. Craig Nelson appeared to have collected a low cross into the box but Friels slid in to score. It looked as if Nelson had both hands on the ball but there were very few complaints from the keeper following the goal so we have to presume that he made a rare mistake.

Ayr threw men forward in a desperate search for an equaliser but the City defence held firm and Brechin went away from Somerset Park with all three points.

It was a solid workmanlike performance from City and John Ward in particular must be praised for his fantastic showing in the heart of defence.

After the game, Michael O’Neill said: “We had six injuries and only 16 fit players so it’s a pleasing win and extends of unbeaten run.

“I’m glad we’ve built up a slight gap in third place and we can now look forward to the next (league) game against Morton,” he added.

Next up for the reds is the visit of non-league side Preston Athletic in the 2nd round of the Scottish Cup. While City will be fully expected to advance to the next round, Michael O’Neill states that the tie is not a formality.

Other Results - Bell's League Division 2

Alloa Athletic 1 Raith Rovers 2

Ten man Raith defeat Alloa at Reecreation Park.

Cowdenbeath 4 Stranraer 2

Cowdenbeath hammer Stranraer at Central Park.

Morton 1 Forfar Athletic 1

Forfar shock the league leaders at Cappielow.

Peterhead 2 Stirling Albion 3

Stirling come back from two goals down to defeat the Blue Toon.


2 December 2006
Somerset Park
Attendance: 1119
Gavin Friels 82
Stuart Callaghan 20
Iain Russell 30

Brechin City

1 Craig Nelson
2 Richard Walker
3 Stuart Callaghan
4 John Ward
5 Matt Flynn
6 David White
7 Kevin Byers
8 Iain Russell
9 Steve Hampshire
10 Paddy Connolly
11 Darren Smith
12 John Hillcoat
14 Scott Walker
15 Chris Geddes
16 Steve McManus
17 Craig McEwan


  • On: Scott Walker
    Off: Darren Smith ( 39 )
  • On: Craig McEwan
    Off: Iain Russell ( 65 )

Ayr United

1 Mark McGeown
2 Gary Miller
3 David Lowing
4 Eddie Forrest
5 Martyn Campbell
6 Brian Reid
7 Paul Weaver
8 Ryan Stevenson
9 Jerome Vareille
10 Chris Robertson
11 David Dunn
12 Alistair Brown
14 Gavin Friels
15 Mark Casey
16 Paul Walker
17 Ryan Caddis


  • On: Ryan Caddis
    Off: Jerome Vareille ( 74 )
  • On: Gavin Friels
    Off: Brian Reid ( 74 )
  • On: Paul Walker
    Off: Martyn Campbell ( 84 )