Match Report - By John Hoey
Brechin City's recent resurgence came to an end at Borough Briggs with Elgin City running out 3-1 winners.
Former Arbroath striker Kane Hester fired his side into the lead in the 24th minute with fellow striker Shane Sutherland adding a second goal from the penalty-spot on the hour mark, and although City sub Matthew Knox reduced the deficit with five minutes remaining, also from the penalty-spot, Elgin substitute David MacKay restored the hosts two-goal advantage deep into stoppage time to wrap up the points.
City manager Mark Wilson had a number of enforced changes to make prior to kick-off with Dougie Hill serving the first match of a two-game suspension and defender Scott Reekie calling off with a sickness bug. Lee Duncanson and Luke Watt were both drafted into the side whilst skipper Paul McManus and winger Olly Hamilton were both in their usual places despite suffering from illness earlier in the week.
City started brightly with Kieran Inglis delivering a cross deep into the home penalty area after just three minutes which unfortunately was just beyond McManus. The visitors were enjoying plenty of possession in the early stages and they threatened the Elgin goal again in the eleventh minute when Hamilton surged forward before unleashing a right-foot drive which home keeper Tom McHale was at full stretch to hold.
Former City defender Euan Spark then set off on a mazy run which took him past three City defenders before cutting the ball back into the centre of the penalty area but unfortunately for him there were no home players in close proximity and the City defence comfortably cleared their lines. The hosts came close again just a couple of minutes later when Sutherland played a good cross field pass to Conor O'Keefe who pushed forward to the bye-line before delivering an inviting cross into the box for Hester whose first-time volley was comfortably held by Lewis McMinn.
O'Keefe was causing problems for the City defence with his pace and he was instrumental in setting up the opening goal for his side in the 24th minute when he raced pass Duncanson and crossed into the box for KANE HESTER whose header was cleared off the line by Jonathan Page with the ball coming straight back to the former Arbroath man who wasted no time in blasting the opener past McMinn.
The hosts almost made it 2-0 seven minutes before the break when O'Keefe surged down the left flank and squared the ball to Sutherland whose shot was parried by McMinn and they came close again shortly afterwards when a Hester shot was cleared off the line by Sean McIntosh after O'Keefe had created the opening.
City were enjoying a good degree of possession without causing the hosts too many problems in the final third and it was the Black and Whites who came close again in the closing minutes of the half when Sutherland steered a right-foot shot wide of the target.
City hit back and McManus collected a long pass from Watt before playing in Inglis who curled his shot well wide of McHale's left-hand post. However, the final chance of the opening 45 minutes came Elgin's way with a minute remaining when Robin Omar played a delightful through pass to Hester who looked set to score but he fired his shot just inches past.
Sutherland had an opportunity two minutes into the second-half to double his side's advantage but his shot from the left-hand side of the penalty area lacked power and McMinn saved easily. Elgin then forced three corners in quick succession but the City defence comfortably cleared their lines on each occasion.
However, Elgin eventually doubled their advantage on the hour mark. Former Forfar midfielder Russell Dingwall played a great through pass to O'Keefe who was impeded in the box by Ross Brown. Referee Barry Cook had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty-spot and SHANE SUTHERLAND duly stepped to dispatch the spot-kick into the roof of the net. City hit back immediately with McHale easily gathering a Ryan McCord close-range header. The visitors then made their first substitution of the match with Ross Crawford replacing Duncanson and the defence reverting to a back three of Brown, Page and McIntosh. City were still enjoying their fair share of possession without causing the home defence any significant problems and they made their second substitution of the match in the 71st minute in an effort to change things with Matthew Knox replacing Hamilton with Emile Ngoy replacing McManus five minutes later.
There then followed a lengthy delay after home defender Stephen Bronsky suffered a head knock after an accidental collision with fellow defender Darryl McHardy with Bronsky being subsequently replaced by David Wilson. Referee Cook decided to award a drop ball following this incident and when Watt lobbed the ball into the home penalty-box Page was brought down by McHardy with the ref immediately pointing to the penalty-spot. Despite heated protests from the Elgin players and bench, the award stood with MATTHEW KNOX stepping up to blast home the penalty.
With just a goal in it, City were throwing everyone forward in an effort to salvage a point and Knox almost secured it deep into stoppage-time when he fired in a shot from the edge of the box which was parried by McHale. However City's efforts to grab the equaliser left them exposed at the back and Elgin took full advantage right at the death when substitute DANIEL MCKAY collected a long pass from defence and raced into the City box before firing a left-foot drive past McMinn.
Other Results - Ladbrokes League Two
Albion Rovers 4 Annan Athletic 2
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Cowdenbeath 3 Stenhousemuir 1
Stenny continue to struggle with defeat at Central Park.
Queen's Park 1 Cove Rangers 3
League leaders with a convincing win at Hampden.
Stirling Albion 0 Edinburgh City 1
Last minute winner keeps Edinburgh hot on the tails of Cove.