Match Report - By Steven Mew
An improved second half showing wasn’t enough for City as they slipped to defeat against Peterhead in the Betfred Cup yesterday evening.
A disastrous opening 24 minutes saw the Blue Toon race into a 3 goal lead and another heavy defeat looked very much on the cards for Mark Wilson’s side.
However, a change in formation and personnel at the break saw City rally to net early in the second period, but they had given themselves too much to do in terms of staging a comeback.
Following a poor performance against St Johnstone on Saturday and perhaps one eye on the league opener against Edinburgh City in four days time, Wilson made a mammoth seven changes to his starting 11. In fact, all of the players who were on the bench at McDiarmid Park started this match.
ISAAC LAYNE looked lively in the opening the exchanges for the home side when he showed some quick feet down the left side before shooting over. The former City man would then open the scoring with 13 minutes on the clock when he drove forward with the ball before unleashing a powerful effort high into the net from 20 yards.
In a similar fashion to Stevie May at the weekend, Layne was causing the City rearguard plenty of problems with his physical presence and O’Neil had to keep out his shot at the near post.
ISAAC LAYNE was not to be denied again as he doubled the hosts advantage just after the quarter hour mark. A cross from the right hand side came through a ruck of bodies and the Blue Toon striker converted with an intricate flick beyond O’Neil.
Things went from bad to worse for City on 23 minutes as they fell 3 goals behind through a quite spectacular strike from STEVEN BOYD. The former Hamilton forward couldn’t have connected with his 30-yard shot any better as it flew past O’Neil into the top corner.
There were concerns that City heads would go down in a similar fashion to Saturday, but they started to come back into the game. The first real chance fell for Jimmy Scott who shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box and four minutes before the break, a rasping drive from Michael Paton fizzed just inches past the post.
Mark Wilson will have been far from impressed with his sides’ first half showing and he rung the changes at half time. Scott Cusick and Kieran Inglis were introduced for Sean McIntosh and Matty Todd as he tweaked the formation to a conventional back 4.
The double substitution would pay dividends almost immediately as the two players combined 30 seconds after the restart to pull a goal back. Cusick played a through ball for KIERAN INGLIS who took advantage of some hesitant defending to slot beyond Rae.
Isaac Layne came agonisingly close to his hat-trick ten minutes into the second half when he got in behind the defence to strike against the post.
The game started to fizzle out after the hour mark with the home side being reduced to half chances. Andrew McCarthy turned well on the edge of the box before firing straight at O’Neil whilst a long range effort from Scott Brown sailed harmlessly over.
The experienced Derek Lyle was next to threaten for the hosts when he met a cross from Derryn Kesson but he was unable to guide his header on target.
Ten minutes from time Kieran Inglis won the ball in the heart of midfield and broke forward at pace – he decided to have a go himself but his low shot fizzed into the arms of Rae.
The hosts looked to put the game beyond doubt with a 4th goal with Kesson’s shot on the turn deflected straight at O’Neil and the City keeper did well a minute later to tip over a free kick from Lyle.
City very nearly pulled another goal back two minutes from time. A looping cross from Inglis was met by a downwards header from Rory Currie which Rae did well to claw away.
The home side held on for a comfortable win and although Mark Wilson will be lamenting another poor display in the first half, he will be undoubtedly be happier with the way his side reacted in the second period.
Attention now turns to the bread and butter of league action as City host Edinburgh City in our opening fixture at Glebe Park on Saturday.