Match Report - By Steven Mew
City passed up on the chance to lift themselves off the foot of League Two following a narrow defeat against Stenhousemuir at Ochilview yesterday afternoon.
Mark Hopkirk’s header midway through the second half proved to be the difference in what was a fiery encounter, but one that was starved of any real moments of quality from either side.
Manager Mark Wilson made two changes to the side that lost at home to Cove last weekend, with Jonathan Page and Kieran Inglis coming in for Olly Hamilton and the injured Luke Watt.
Following the departure of Manager Colin McMenamin during the week, Davie Irons took interim charge of the home side. Irons is no stranger at Ochilview, having previously managed the Warriors between 2010 and 2012.
Prior to the game, there was an impeccably oberserved minutes applause for former Rangers player Fernando Ricksen who sadly passed away this week following his long battle with Motor Neurone Disease.
City started brightly and after just two minutes, Emile Ngoy cut the ball back for Ryan McCord who could only shoot straight at former City stopper Graeme Smith.
The home side settled into the game with Thomas Halleran having a shot deflected wide by McCord and following the corner, Andy Munro hooked a volley over.
On 17 minutes, Willie Gibson tried his luck with a speculative effort from around the half way line which ended up just over the bar.
Some tricky footwork from Emile Ngoy saw the Frenchman glide past a couple of players to create an opening but his shot was well blocked by the Stenny defence.
Tempers boiled over in the 27th minute when a hard challenge by Inglis on Graeme Smith sparked a melee which resulted in City skipper McManus being booked alongside Stenny’s Willie Gibson. Inglis himself was shown a yellow card for the initial tackle.
Despite being starved of service, Paul McManus continued to be a nuisance for the home rearguard. Five minutes before the break, he turned his man inside out before his goalbound shot was well blocked.
Shortly into the second period, Mark McGuigan’s shot on the turn was comfortably gathered by McMinn who was playing against his former club for the first time.
City came agonisingly close to an equaliser shortly after the hour mark when McManus managed to get on the end of McLaughlin’s cross from the left, however Graeme Smith did superbly well to claw the effort off the line.
After coming close to taking the lead, City then found themselves behind on 68 minutes. Wullie Gibson floated a corner to the near post where DAVID HOPKIRK was allowed to run and rise unchallenged to head powerfully past McMinn.
Ross Crawford came on for Emile Ngoy with quarter of an hour remaining and the big strike was immediately in the thick of things when his shot was blocked for a corner.
City continued to press with Dougie Hill heading over a deep cross from McLaughlin, and minutes later Hill again would head over, this time from Reekie’s right sided delivery.
Despite chasing an equaliser, City struggled to create any opportunities of note in the final 10 minutes and it was the home side who could have doubled their advantage on the counter attack in stoppage time with Kieran Anderson blazing over.
To add insult to injury, Olly Hamilton was shown a straight red card for what appeared to be dissent following the final whistle.
City remain rooted to the bottom of the table however with two consecutive home matches on the horizon, Manager Mark Wilson will feel there is a real chance of rectifying that in the coming weeks.
Other Results - Ladbrokes League Two
Albion Rovers 1 Edinburgh City 3
Comfortable win for the Citizens at Cliftonhill.
Annan Athletic 0 Stirling Albion 0
Stalemate at Galabank.
Elgin City 0 Cove Rangers 2
Another fine win for Cove as they stay top of the league.
Queen's Park 0 Cowdenbeath 3
Cowden's fine form continues at Hampden.