Match Report - By Steven Mew
Following back to back draws and clean sheets in both of those matches, there was an element of optimism amongst the City support that they could go one better against Stirling Albion yesterday afternoon.
It proved to be hugely disappointing afternoon at Glebe Park as a combination of individual mistakes and lack of a creativity going forward culminated in a deserved win for the Binos.
Despite having just met his teammates for the first time shortly prior to kick off, new loan signing Luke Strachan came straight into the starting lineup in what was Mark Wilson’s only change from the side that drew against Queen’s Park in midweek. This saw Sean McIntosh drop to the bench.
On an extremely heavy surface following overnight rain, the visitors were first to threaten after 11 minutes when former City skipper Paul McLean headed just over from a corner. Two minutes later at the other end, the ball was cleared only as far as Ryan McCord who drilled a volley over the bar.
It was certainly defences on top for much of the first half with openings few and far between. In fact it took until the 36th minute for either side to create another chance as Dominic Docherty struck a low effort just past the post after a number of blocks by the City defence.
Docherty would come even closer for the Binos a couple of minutes later when his deflected effort inside the box sailed past a despairing McMinn, however Alex Petkov was on hand to stick out a leg to block the goalbound effort on the line.
Back came City and Paul Allan’s inswinging free kick from the left hand side evaded everyone in the box and flew agonisingly past the back post.
Shortly before the interval, some hesitant defending in the City box presented a golden opportunity for Dylan Bikey from around 12 yards out but he snatched at the shot which flew into the David Will Stand behind the goal.
Despite a couple of scares for City, it was looking entirely plausible that a third clean sheet was on the cards.
Unfortunately that was not to be the case as the visitors broke the deadlock nine minutes into the second half. Paul Allan lost possession cheaply in midfield which resulted in DYLAN BIKEY being played through on goal and he made no mistake, firing a left footed shot beyond McMinn and into the far corner.
City’s game plan was being undone and the Binos went in search of a second goal with Kyle Banner heading just wide of the post.
Manager Mark Wilson used all three of his subs within six minutes after the hour mark as Scott Reekie, Kieran Inglis and Andy Jackson joined the action.
The only real chance of the second half for City fell on 78 minutes. A low cross into the box from Alex Petkov fell nicely for Jimmy Scott in front of goal however the experienced frontman dragged his effort inches wide.
The game was put to bed six minutes from time when the visitors doubled their advantage. Lewis McMinn had made a fine save to push away a header from ex-City striker Dylan Mackin, however JAMES CREANEY was quickest to react in the box as he smashed home the rebound.
City huffed and puffed as they pushed more men forward in the closing stages however the Stirling defence, who boast the meanest defence in the league, held firm.
One scant consolation for City is that all three sides immediately above them in the league table also lost – however time is beginning to run out and on this showing, a drastic improvement would be required if City were to carry out a great escape.
Thankfully the City players don’t have long to dwell on the result as Annan Athletic travel to Glebe Park on Wednesday evening.
Other Results - Ladbrokes League Two
Albion Rovers 1 Elgin City 2
Three early goals as Albion go down to Elgin.
Cowdenbeath 1 Edinburgh City 1
Share of the spoils at Central Park.
Queen's Park 2 Annan Athletic 0
Comfortable home win for the Spiders.
Stenhousemuir 0 Cove Rangers 3
Comfortable win for the league leaders at Cove