Match Report - By Steven Mew
Report by Steven Mew
A severely depleted City side crashed out of the Irn Bru Cup yesterday evening at Balmoor as two late goals from Peterhead propelled them into the next round of the tournament.
Manager Darren Dods was missing a number of key players through injury and suspension which meant wholesale changes from the side that defeated East Fife in the league on Saturday. The squad was so short of bodies that Dods himself had to register as a player in order to provide some defensive cover on the bench.
Back-up keeper Paddy O'Neil was handed a start with regular number one Conor Brennan settling for a place on the bench. With four centre halves unavailable, Aron Lynas filled in alongside Euan Smith at the heart of the defence.
The home side started brightly with Scott Brown blazing over the bar after the ball had fallen kindly for him in the box and several minutes later, Ross Kavanagh flashed a shot wide.
City survived the early pressure and got their noses in front with 12 minutes on the clock. A defensive lapse by Jason Brown allowed DENE SHIELDS a clear run on goal - the experienced frontman kept his cool by slotting the ball low beyond Fleming.
A couple of half chances came City's way shortly after the goal with Boris Melingui's shot being deflected wide for a corner whilst Aron Lynas prodded wide from a corner.
The home side grabbed a foothold in the game again and City had Paddy O'Neil to thank for preserving the lead. On 24 minutes a cross from Jack Leitch was met by Russell McLean who looked odds on to score but the City keeper superbly tipped his header round the post for a corner.
The physical presence of McLean was causing the makeshift City defence problems and O'Neil had to be alert again to claw the big strikers header away.
The home side continued to dominate proceedings and with five minutes before the break, O'Neil saved comfortably from Jamie Stevenson's 25 yard free kick.
Peterhead failed to keep this pressure up in the early stages of the second half as City started to take some control. Melingui headed wide from Orsi's cross and the two players combined again five minutes later to set up Harvey Dailly in the box however the youngster was denied by a fine save from Fleming who parried away. From the resulting corner, Euan Smith rose highest however his header went over the bar.
Blue Toon boss Jim McInally had the luxury of being able to introduce Rory McAllister and Derek Lyle as part of a double substitution shortly after the hour mark and the experienced duo would go on to stretch the City back line. O'Neil had to be alert to push away a header from ex-City striker McAllister after the ball had hung in the air.
With 76 minutes gone, the home side grabbed the equaliser that their pressure deserved. Jack Leitch swung in a cross from the left hand side which was met by RUSSELL MCLEAN who had the easy task of knocking the ball home from a couple of yards out.
City nearly regained their advantage five minutes later when Melingui dispossessed Cameron Eadie, he evaded a challenge inside the box before being denied by a fine save by Fleming.
The game looked to be heading towards penalties however the Blue Toon had different ideas as they grabbed what proved to be the winning goal four minutes from time. Some good work by McLean in the box resulted in him chipping to the back post for the unmarked JACK LEITCH who stooped to conquer.
As the tie approached stoppage time, Peterhead almost put the game beyond doubt when a lapse from Euan Spark allowed McLean through on goal however the City defender recovered well to block the shot.
Overall, a disappointing end to the game for City who competed well and led for much of the game despite having so many players unavailable. Attention now turns to the first local derby of the season against Montrose at Links Park on Saturday.