Match Report - By Grant Hood
Everyone associated with Brechin City had the opportunity to re-focus on the football after a challenging week which saw Manager Darren Dods and his assistant Lee Bailey depart from The Club.
Interim Manager Stevie Campbell led the squad to face second-placed Raith Rovers on their own patch in what was always likely to be one of the season's toughest tasks - even in the best of circumstances.
City took to the field in a resplendent all-white kit, with Campbell opting for a change of formation which prompted a change in personnel with Aron Lynas and Callum Hendry in the starting XI, with Paul McLean and Boris Melingui named amongst the substitutes.
City competed well in the opening exchanges with shots from both Callum Tapping and Euan Smith rising over the home crossbar, although the first half in itself was largely devoid of goalmouth action.
The home side took the lead 4 minutes before the break with the first half's only shot on target. An unusually slack pass in midfield by Callum Tapping was seized upon by in-form Raith striker KEVIN NISBET, who evaded the back-tracking Ryan McGeever and Euan Spark to slot the ball low past City keeper Conor Brennan from the 18 yard line.
The game opened up somewhat in the second half, with the home side having gained in confidence and City continuing to pose a threat. Nathan Flanagan pinged a shot narrowly wide for the homesters before Andy Jackson headed just wide from 6 yards out after a cross from Euan Spark on the right.
In 69 minutes, substitute Boris Melingui strode forward after stealing possession in midfield, and was incredibly unfortunate to see his thunderous 35-yard strike cannon back off the home crossbar to safety. The likeable Frenchman had another chance moments later but his header from an Aron Lynas throw-in was comfortably saved by Thomson in the home goal.
It was the home side's turn to rattle the crossbar in the closing stages with an effort from Nisbet from around the penalty spot, but it would the same man who would go on to secure victory for the home side in the first minute of added on time. Midfield indecision from City around dealing with a goalkeeper kickout, resulted in the ball being played forward to KEVIN NISBET who drove forward and cut inside Euan Spark before slamming the ball home off the underside of the crossbar.
City would still strike back though, and in the fourth minute of added time a long free kick into the home penalty area saw the ball drop for ANDY JACKSON who fired a first-time shot low into the bottom right corner from just inside the box. Despite being so deep into stoppage time, a spirited City created one final chance when another long throw-in from Aron Lynas fell for Callum Tapping whose spectacular first-time strike flashed agonisingly past the far upright in what would be the last kick of the game.
Many in the stadium wouldn't have begrudged City a point from a match which saw the referee brandish no fewer than seven yellow cards - despite not being what could be construed as a 'dirty' match in any way.
On-the-field attention now turns to a crucial sequence of November games with two Angus derbies at The Glebe, followed by a Scottish Cup Tie.