Brechin City Football Club

Glebe Park, Brechin, Angus DD9 6BJ

Tel : 01356 623344
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Brechin City 2 Preston Athletic 1

Match Report - By Steven Mew

City gave themselves a nervy passage into the next round of the Scottish Cup after a narrow victory against East of Scotland League side Preston Athletic at Glebe Park. City were reasonably comfortable throughout against the ‘Panners’ but after going 2-0 up, they made life extremely difficult for themselves as the visitors pulled a goal back a couple of minutes from time to set up a thrilling finale, and nervy one for the City faithful.

Preston were the first non SFL side to play at Glebe Park since Annan Athletic. City were held to a disappointing draw that day and Annan, managed by City legend Harry Cairney, overcame Preston in the final of the Scottish Qualifying Cup south section.

Having gone 8 matches unbeaten prior to this match, City were hot favourites to overcome a Preston side that were hovering in mid-table in the East of Scotland league. However, City manager Michael O’Neill claimed that the match was certainly not a formality and that City would have to battle hard if they were to come out with a positive result.

With the possibility of getting one of the ‘big boys’ in the 3rd round, it was absolutely vital for City to win the tie after the disappointment of crashing out of the Challenge Cup and CIS Insurance Cup in the early rounds.

Brechin gaffer Michael O’Neill has operated with just 16 players in the past few weeks and his opportunities to change things have been very limited. City were still without a number of key players for this match but they were still hot favourites to advance.

It was refreshing to see a handful of Preston supporters coming up to watch their team in what was a big day for them and City certainly didn’t take Preston lightly in the opening stages.

Iain Russell, who netted a controversial goal at Ayr last Saturday, had the ideal chance to give City the perfect start after only a couple of minutes. The former Dumbarton man found himself clean through on goal but he dragged his shot wide of the target when City fans behind the goal expected the net to bulge.

City continued to pile on the pressure as they looked for an early goal to settle the nerves and Charlie King curled the ball just wide of the post after the ball fell nicely for him just outside the box.

Russell’s bad luck continued when a corner from the left hand side was headed goal-wards by John Ward and with the ball heading towards to goal, the on-form striker headed over the bar from a few yards out.

Paddy Connolly also came close for the home side when a cross from the right found the experienced hit-man at the back post but the ball came at too high a speed and Connolly could only head wide.

At this stage City were wondering what they had to do to open the scoring and more chances came their way but they were still unable to break the deadlock. Charlie King fired over the bar from just outside the box while Steven Hampshire’s goal-bound shot was blocked by a defender.

However, there was a scare for the reds when John Ward’s pass-back was a little short and Stuart Miller nipped in before Nelson but the keeper did well to deny the striker and the danger was cleared by David White.

Brechin reacted well to this warning and they eventually broke the deadlock with over half an hour played. The ball had been cleared by the Preston defence but only as far as Kevin Byers, who prodded the ball forward to Iain Russell and with the defence is no-mans land, he had plenty of time to place the ball into the corner of the net.

City appeared to switch off for the remainder of the half and the visitors starting playing some attractive football on the rain sodden pitch. While they failed the breach the City rear-guard, they did cause a bit of panic shortly before half time when several shots were blocked by the defence.

The referee blew for half time and City should have really sewn the game up at this point with many good chances wasted. The important thing was that we were ahead and City fans fully expected the team to add more in the second half after creating so many opportunities in the first.

As was expected, City piled on the pressure early in the second half and they should really have doubled their advantage five minutes after a break. Iain Russell made a run into the box and his shot slammed off the inside of the post and the ball flashed across the goal to Steven Hampshire at the back post but he somehow missed an open goal from only a few yards out. To be fair to ‘Hammy’ though, the ball was coming at quite a speed.

Any worries of a replay were eased five minutes later when City added a second goal. City won a free kick 20 yards out and Charlie King floated the ball into the box for John Ward who headed powerfully past Ross Gilpin.

Russell’s luck yet again evaded him on the hour mark when his beautifully struck shot from outside the area flew past the keeper but the ball cannoned off the crossbar before being cleared to safety by the Preston defence.

City went to sleep again and the visitors started to enjoy some possession in the last quarter of an hour and they pulled a goal back just two minutes from time. A cross from the right hand side was headed in at the far post by Graham Newall to give Preston some hope of getting a result.

Deep into stoppage time Brechin were given a massive scare when Craig Nelson fumbled a cross into the box and several Preston attackers frantically tried to put the ball in the net but the entire Brechin defence threw themselves in front of the ball and City held out for the win.

While City came close to throwing the game away at the end, they were pretty comfortable throughout and to be perfectly honest, they should have won by a far bigger margin but credit to Preston for keeping the score-line respectable and playing some very neat football at times.

The official Preston website stated: “Well done to Brechin City on Saturday. Preston would like to wish them all the best on their journey in the Scottish Cup. Hospitality was second to none and took the sting out of getting beat, and we hope they have an excellent centenary year.

After the game City manager Michael O’Neill said: “When you think of the chances we had before we scored, and the chances we had at the start of the second half, the game should have been dead and buried.

“I felt that the game was more comfortable than the final score suggested, but all credit to Preston, who impressed me with their endeavour and did exactly what we expected of them.

“There was maybe a lack of composure which let them get the late goal, but whether the score is 2-1 or 6-1, the main thing is to get your name in the hat for the next round.”

Speaking to their official website, Preston manager Stevie Myatt said: “Our game plan was to keep it tight with one up front. We put subs on with a bit of pace to open up at the end, but we didn't want to let ourselves get crucified, we have to be honest about that. But that last four or five minutes of the game we had one or two chances and nearly got a result.”

The draw for the third round was made at Meadowbank shortly after the game and City were paired with fellow 2nd division side Cowdenbeath. The game is due to be played at Central Park on 6th January 2007.

Other Results - Tennent's Scottish Cup Round 2

Annan Athletic 0 Morton 3

A comfortable win for Morton with all three goals coming in the first half.

Berwick Rangers 2 Arbroath 0

Berwick beat Arbroath in a firey game which included 8 bookings.

Cowdenbeath 5 Edinburgh University 1

Cowdenbeath easily dispose of the students.

Deveronvale 2 Fraserburgh 1

Deveronvale edge out their fellow highland league opposition.

Edinburgh City 0 Stirling Albion 1

Stirling make hard work of progressing.

Elgin City 1 Buckie Thistle 0

A Moffatt goal is enough to see Elgin through.

Peterhead 0 Ayr United 2

Ayr record an impressive victory at Balmoor.

Raith Rovers 0 Dumbarton 1

Shock of the round as Dumbarton beat Raith at Starks.

Stranraer 3 Forfar Athletic 1

Stranraer set up a home tie with Hearts in the next round.


9 December 2006
Carnegie Fuels Stadium at Glebe Park
Attendance: 452
Iain Russell 34
John Ward 55
Graham Newell 88

Brechin City

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


  • On: Ross Archibald
    Off: Richard Walker ( 71 )
  • On: Chris Geddes
    Off: Paddy Connolly ( 77 )
  • On: Scott Walker
    Off: John Ward ( 83 )

Preston Athletic

1 Ross Gilpin
2 Kenny Manson
3 Matt Costello
4 Craig Scott
5 Bob Baillie
6 Chris Barton
7 Sean McAuley
8 Mark Lockart
9 Bryan Wilson
10 Stuart Miller
11 Paul Cowie
12 Graham Newell
14 Campbell
15 Trayner
16 Willie Kirk
17 Craig Scott


  • On: Willie Kirk
    Off: Chris Barton ( 69 )
  • On: Craig Scott
    Off: Paul Cowie ( 81 )