Match Report - By Steven Mew
Despite taking a first half lead, City slipped to defeat against fellow strugglers Stranraer at Glebe Park yesterday afternoon.
Manager Barry Smith was again without the services of a number of key players with Jordan Sinclair the latest to join a lengthy injury list. Lewis Toshney, returning to the side after missing out last weekend, replaced Sinclair in the starting lineup - the only change from the side that defeated Airdrie.
Similarly to City, Stranraer could only name 3 outfield players on the substitutes bench and they arrived at Glebe Park still looking for their first league win since the turn of the year. However their recent struggles were far from evident as they started brightly and controlled much of the opening half hour.
The visitors came close after just two minutes when Cummins met a left sided corner - his header was blocked and the ball fell for Innes Cameron who could only stab the ball straight at O'Neil.
Just a minute later City had a chance of their own when Max Currie palmed away a shot from Craig Thomson with Kavanagh unable to control his effort on the rebound.
On 16 minutes Innes Cameron headed straight at O'Neil and five minutes later Kyle Turner had a shot from the edge of the box which was comfortably gathered by the City keeper.
City took the lead against the run of play shortly after the half hour mark. Tam Scobbie's searching ball was flicked on by Jackson into the path of EUAN SMITH who timed his run to perfection and had the easy task of slotting beyond Currie for his 3rd goal in four matches.
There was an immediate response from the Blues as they equalised less than a minute after the restart. Kyle Turner got the better of McLean down the left and his low cross was met by INNES CAMERON who nipped in ahead of McGeever to prod the ball home at the near post.
Shortly after the goal the lively Turner shot straight at O'Neil and at the other end, Lewis Toshney shot wide of the post after some excellent build up play by the impressive Craig Thomson.
After a first half mostly controlled by the visitors, City started the second half brightly shooting towards the Cemetery End and they had a glorious opportunity barely a minute in. Euan Smith surged through the heart of midfield before threading the ball through for Ross Kavanagh - he unselfishly squared the ball across for Toshney who was denied by the feet of Currie in the Stranraer goal.
Dougie Hill headed over the bar from Thomson's corner on 54 minutes as City continued to assert pressure on the Stranraer defence.
Midway through the half City had a big penalty shout when Toshney was taken down in the box but much to the disbelief of the City players and supporters, the referee waved away the claims.
The visitors were struggling to create opportunities but they managed to get their noses in front on 71 minutes. Scott Robertson conceded a free kick on the edge of the box and JAMIE HAMILL'S free kick took a wicked deflection off the wall and beyond the helpless O'Neill who was left rooted to the spot.
Following the goal, Lewis Toshney limped off injured to add to City's woes - he was replaced by Aron Lynas.
City pushed on in search of an equaliser with Euan Smith shooting over whilst Paul McLean had an effort palmed away by Currie after being set up by Kavanagh.
City's task became more difficult as they were reduced to 10 men three minutes from time when Craig Thomson was shown a second yellow card by referee David Lowe for what appeared to be a fairly innocuous 50/50 challenge on Grant Anderson. This was one of many contentious decisions that went against Barry Smith's men on the day.
As the home side pushed more men forward in the closing stages, Stranraer almost grabbed a third goal on the break with Turner's shot striking the top of the crossbar.
The visitors held out for a crucial three points, a result which saw Stranraer and City trade places in the League One table as City slip back into the relegation play-off spot.
Another crucial fixture awaits City next weekend as we make the trip to face bottom placed Stenhousemuir at Ochilview.
Other Results - Ladbrokes League One
Arbroath 3 Airdrieonians 2
Bobby Linn hat-trick helps Arbroath to the win.
East Fife 3 Dumbarton 4
Sons edge out the Fifers in 7 goal thriller.
Forfar Athletic 2 Stenhousemuir 1
Stenny remain bottom of the table after defeat to Forfar.
Raith Rovers 4 Montrose 1
Comfortable win for the Rovers at Starks Park.