Brechin City Football Club

Glebe Park, Brechin, Angus DD9 6BJ

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Brechin City 2 Forfar Athletic 2

Match Report - By Steven Mew

City had to settle for a share of the spoils in the Ne’er derby yesterday afternoon as Forfar netted a last gasp penalty to steal a point. It could be argued that City played their best football of the season but they lacked the killer touch in front of goal.

Having already beaten the Loons home and away this season, City were hot favourites ahead of the match. Despite City dominating for large spells, Forfar battled hard and in the end got their reward for sticking in when it looked like only one team was going to win the game, and that was the home side.

The City players were almost skinning the visitor’s defence for fun for much of the second half but everyone knew that at 2-1 up, we needed a third to kill the game off. We didn’t get that elusive third goal and paid the price.

City were looking to keep up their excellent recent form with a third successive victory, and with Iain Russell banging in the goals, the Forfar rearguard was bound to be in for a busy afternoon.

The Loons, despite sitting rock bottom of the league table, have shown in recent meetings that they still possess enough to hurt teams and that showed a couple of weeks ago as they thumped Stranraer 5-0 at Station Park. Ultimately it showed again yesterday when they won and converted a penalty in the dying seconds to snatch an unlikely share of the spoils.

City had to make do without centre half John Ward who was rated 50/50 before the game but should make his return against his former club Cowdenbeath next week. Also unavailable for City were Scott Walker and long term absentee Grant Johnson who is unlikely to return until next month.

Forfar have been badly troubled with injuries throughout the season and it was clear to see yesterday as they could only list two substitutes. One of the subs was manager George Shaw and the other was virus stricken Barry Donald. The visitors also had to play several players out of position, with four strikers on the park and two wingers playing as central midfielders.

As was expected, the park was in a bit of mess even prior to the match after the Cowdenbeath game on Saturday, when the soft pitch cut up badly.

City seem to have made a habit of scoring/conceding goals at the same time they score the previous match. After five minutes on Saturday, City were in front against Cowdenbeath but yesterday it was the visitors who took the lead after they were awarded a dubious penalty.

A volley from the edge of box struck the arm of Richard Walker, but quite frankly what could he do when the shot was struck from a couple of yards at some speed? However, the referee pointed to the spot and Darren Gribben duly converted the spot kick, sending Craig Nelson the wrong way.

The home side retaliated almost instantly and went up the park and netted an equaliser after 6 minutes. Steven Hampshire got past the Forfar defence and his low shot went across keeper Sandy Wood and into the far corner for his 2nd goal in 2 matches.

City went on to create numerous chances as they tried to get themselves in front. The ball was played to Kevin Byers on the edge of the box but his shot just went wide of the goal.

The game died down for a short spell but it was Brechin who threatened again just after the half hour mark when Steven Hampshire’s shot just rolled past the post.

The referee blew for half time and despite the sticky start, City looked likely to add to their tally in the second half as they had much of the chances and the bulk of the possession.

Within 15 minutes of the re-start, City didn’t actually create many opportunities although they did keep Forfar under a period of sustained pressure.

Forfar constantly broke away on the counter attack and Fraser Coyle came close to putting the visitors ahead when his close range shot went wide when he really should have hit the target.

City eventually put themselves in front just before the hour mark when Iain Russell cleverly lost his marker to head in a Stuart Callaghan corner from the right hand side. This was Iain’s 11th goal of the season and he has now scored in 6 successive matches.

The reds came close again when they won a free-kick just outside the box and former Loon Kevin Byers’ effort curled narrowly over the bar. However, minutes later Coyle missed another glorious chance for the Loons but he screwed his shot high and wide of the goal, despite having plenty of time to control the ball.

City came close again when a fantastic move ended in Charlie King back heeling the ball intro the path of Stuart Callaghan in front of goal, but the midfielder’s effort went well over the bar when the net should have bulged.

City manager Michael O’Neill made the only change of the match with skipper Steven Ferguson replacing the hard working Charlie King with ten minutes to go. Ferguson’s first touch cost him a booking as he fouled a Forfar attacker on the edge of the area and the resulting free-kick was struck wide by Darren Gribben.

City came close again just a couple of minutes later when left back Stuart Ferguson headed into the side netting from Callaghan’s in-swinging corner.

With the visitors making no substitutions, you would have thought City would stretch the Loons rearguard even more in the closing stages but it was the complete opposite. Instead, Forfar pushed forward in search of an equaliser and to the shock of the home support, they found it in the dying seconds when the referee awarded another penalty. This time the decision was less controversial as Stuart Ferguson clearly brought down Fraser Coyle inside the box.

Darren Gribben, who was almost substituted just minutes beforehand, stepped up to take the penalty and he cheekily chipped the ball right through the middle of the goal, with Nelson already down to ground.

It was a hard one to take but City only have themselves to blame for not finishing the game off earlier. The attackers constantly got past the Forfar defence throughout the 90 minutes but the final ball and finishing was very poor. All credit to Forfar though, who battled hard and got their reward for not giving up.

Despite the result, City played some breathtaking football on a pitch which can only be described as a ‘tattie field’. Darren Smith in particular was outstanding for the home side and hopefully he can produce another performance like that against Cowdenbeath in the cup on Saturday.

City now face three away matches on the trot but it will allow the playing surface to ‘heal’.

Speaking to the Courier, Michael O’Neill said: “It’s a sore two points to lose. We should have had the game dead and buried. We created numerous chances in the second half. We needed the third goal but could not find the killer touch.

“But, to be fair to Forfar, they were always in there hanging on and we threw them two lifelines.

“The first penalty was harsh. What else could Richard do when they ball was played from a yard away? In the second, Stuart had given the ball away and I think he just reacted.

“I feel we deserved to win. But that’s two points lost and we have got to pull ourselves up and look forward to our cup game on Saturday.”

Other Results - Bell's League Division 2

Alloa Athletic 1 Stirling Albion 1

A last minute Bolochoweckyj goal earns a point for Alloa.

Ayr United 1 Stranraer 0

Another last minute goal as Wardlaw wins all 3 points for Ayr.

Peterhead 1 Morton 2

The league leaders stretch their lead at the top.

Raith Rovers 1 Cowdenbeath 2

Cowden come from behind to win the Fife derby.


2 January 2007
Carnegie Fuels Stadium at Glebe Park
Attendance: 804
Steve Hampshire 6
Iain Russell 57
Darren Gribben 4 (Pen)
Darren Gribben 90 (Pen)

Brechin City

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


  • On: Steven Ferguson
    Off: Charlie King ( 81 )

Forfar Athletic

1 Sandy Wood
2 David Keogh
3 David King
4 Craig Lumsden
5 Alan Rattray
6 Gregory Tade
7 Gary Fraser
8 Fraser Coyle
9 Paul Tosh
10 Darren Gribben
11 Michele Lombardi
12 Barry Donald
14 George Shaw