Match Report - By Steven Mew
A first half double from Ross Kavanagh proved not to be enough as City went down narrowly to promotion-chasing Raith Rovers at Starks Park yesterday afternoon.
City were yet again left lamenting the goalscoring prowess of Kevin Nisbet who has now netted in all four fixtures between the sides this season.
The defeat, coupled with Stenhousemuir picking up a crucial point against East Fife means that City drop to the bottom of the table ahead of the showdown against the Warriors at Glebe Park. Barry Smith's side go into next week's clash knowing that anything less than a win will consign them to League 2 football next season.
Smith made two changes to the side that put in a thoroughly disappointing performance at Stranraer last week with Callum Tapping making a welcome return to the starting lineup for the first time since suffering an ankle break back in December - he came in for Euan Smith. Jordan Tapping meanwhile came in to the centre of defence at the expense of Paul McLean who dropped to the bench.
Prior to the game, both supporters observed a minutes applause to pay tribute to Scottish football legend Billy McNeill who sadly passed away earlier this week.
The home side, although assured of a place in the promotion playoffs, are still in the hunt for 2nd place and they started brightly with Graham Bowman doing well to tip over an effort from on-loan Hibernian striker Jamie Gullan.
However, it was City who would take the lead in the 11th minute. A corner from Tam Scobbie was cleared back out to him and he had more success with the second delivery which was knocked home by ROSS KAVANAGH at the near post, despite the best efforts of Lyness in the Raith goal to keep it out.
Raith retaliated to going behind with Bowman pushing away a header from home skipper Kyle Benedictus, whilst at the other end Kavanagh almost had his second as he headed wide from Scobbie's corner.
Rovers got themselves back on level terms after 27 minutes. A deep, searching cross from Craig McGuffie found KEVIN NISBET at the back post who headed back across goal into the far corner. Two minutes later David McKay flashed a shot wide of goal.
With 35 minutes on the clock City were back in front. A corner from Callum Tapping was whipped right into the six yard box and ROSS KAVANAGH rose above the goalkeeper to nod the ball home.
The lead would last less than 40 seconds as the home side fought back again. David McKay made a run down the right hand side before setting up KEVIN NISBET on the edge of the box - he showed great composure to simply pass the ball into the corner of the net.
With half time approaching, Craig McGuffie tried his luck with a curling left-footed effort from outside the box which went just wide of the post.
Shortly before the hour mark, ex-City defender Iain Davidson headed wide from a corner whilst Sean Burns dragged a shot off target after intercepting a Raith attack.
Raith bagged what proved to be the winning goal on 68 minutes. A defensive header by Kavanagh fell to LIAM BUCHANAN on the edge of the box. With several City defenders in close proximity, the striker conjured up enough space to fire low into the corner.
Straight from the re-start, City missed a guilt edged chance after a flowing passing move which ended with Scott Robertson prodding into the path of the advancing Callum Tapping. With the goal at his mercy, his clipped his effort over the bar with a couple of challenges coming in perhaps just enough to put 'Taps' off his stride.
Having not featured in well over 4 months, Tapping was evidently tiring as the game wore on and he would be replaced five minutes later for Kalvin Orsi.
Kevin Nisbet came close to grabbing his hat-trick when his powerful effort from the edge of the box looked to have shaved the outside of the post. Jamie Gullan then had two efforts which had to be pushed away by Bowman in the City goal.
Perhaps aware of the fact Stenhousemuir were currently sitting above City in the league table, Manager Barry Smith had a last throw of the dice with striker Sam Jamieson coming on for Sean Burns in an attacking switch.
However, City's only remaining opportunity in search of what would have been a crucial equaliser came 7 minutes from time when Dougie Hill headed straight at Lyness from Scobbie's cross.
Overall a much improved showing from last weekend but City left Starks Park with nothing to show for their efforts ahead of a must win clash against Stenhousemuir at Glebe Park next Saturday.
Other Results - Ladbrokes League One
Airdrieonians 3 Arbroath 0
Convincing win for the Diamonds over Champions Arbroath.
Dumbarton 2 Stranraer 1
Sons edge out Stranraer at the C&G Systems Stadium.
Forfar Athletic 1 Montrose 0
The Loons close in on 2nd place as Montrose also clinch a playoff spot.
Stenhousemuir 1 East Fife 1
Stenny move off the bottom of the table with a valuable point.