Match Report - By Steven Mew
City followed up last weekends win against Elgin City with a hard-earned point against Stirling Albion yesterday afternoon - ensuring they completed the first quarter of the season off the foot of the table.
Former City skipper Paul McLean returned to haunt his former club with the equaliser after Paul McManus continued his fine recent form to put City ahead.
Although early in the season, with both sides occupying the bottom two places in the division there was an air of importance about the fixture.
It came as no surprise that Mark Wilson opted to go with the same starting 11 that defeated Elgin last week, with the return of Olly Hamilton from suspension allowing a full compliment of 7 subs.
City started on the front foot with Jonathan Page heading straight at the keeper from Paul Allan’s cross and on the quarter hour mark, Blair Currie did well to push away a header from Paul McManus following a good delivery by Reekie.
The visitors settled into the game with James Creaney drilling a shot over the bar whilst Lewis Hawke headed over shortly after.
Lewis McMinn was called into action for the first time on 39 minutes when he pushed away a fierce shot from Cameron Thomson.
With a minute of the first half remaining, City attacked on the counter with Knox running at the visitors defence before cutting inside and firing narrowly over.
In a similar fashion to last week, City took the lead early in the second half thanks to PAUL MCMANUS. Chris McLaughlin whipped in a superb cross for the veteran striker who made no mistake, planting his header beyond Currie and into the corner for his 4th goal of the season.
City were playing with real confidence and could have easily doubled their advantage after a hour mark. A deep cross from Knox was nodded back across goal by Page for Hill who headed over.
The home side came close again with an almost carbon copy of the opening goal. Again, McLaughlin fired in another inch perfect cross for McManus but this time he headed narrowly over the bar.
The visitors brought themselves level against the run of play after 68 minutes. A deep cross from the right was met by PAUL MCLEAN whose looping header dropped in at the far post. Despite City appeals for a push on Dougie Hill in the box, referee John McKendrick allowed the goal to stand.
It was a completely muted and respectful celebration from the former City skipper who spent 10 memorable years at Glebe Park before leaving for Stirling in the summer.
The goal appeared to give the visitors a real lift and they would go on to dominate the remainder of the game.
With a quarter of an hour remaining, Luke Watt conceded a free kick right on the edge of the box and David Wilson was unlucky to see his free kick flash just past the upright. Substitute Paul Willis was next to try his luck from range but his low shot was saved by McMinn at full stretch.
City had McMinn to thank for keeping the scoreline level as the game entered stoppage time with a save right out the top drawer. Cameron Thomson’s strike on the turn looked to be heading for the top corner but the City stopper produced a simply breathtaking save to tip the ball onto the crossbar before being cleared to safety.
Overall a point apiece was probably a fair reflection of the game with City the better of the two sides up until the equaliser – with the visitors very much on top thereafter and unlucky not to grab a winner at the death.
City have an enforced break next week due to internationals but will be back in action in a fortnights time as we make the long journey south to face Annan Athletic in the 2nd round of the William Hill Scottish Cup.
Other Results - Ladbrokes League Two
Albion Rovers 1 Elgin City 3
Comfortable win for Elgin at the Reigart Stadium.
Cowdenbeath 1 Edinburgh City 0
Cowden continue their fine start to the season as they leapfrog Edinburgh.
Queen's Park 1 Annan Athletic 2
The Spiders' poor run of results continues.
Stenhousemuir 3 Cove Rangers 2
Cove suffer their first league defeat of the season at Ochilview.