Match Report - By Steven Mew
City were left to count the cost of defensive errors again as Elgin ran out comfortable winners at Borough Briggs in League 2 yesterday afternoon.
Following a heavy opening day defeat against Edinburgh City, a trip to face an in-form Elgin side was a far from ideal scenario for Mark Wilson’s side.
Following a period of self-isolation, City welcomed on-loan Aberdeen midfielder Connor Barron back into the starting 11, with Luc Bollan and Michael Paton also coming into the side as Mark Wilson made 3 changes. Dropping to the bench were Gregor Jordan, Leeroy Makovora and Jimmy Scott.
The home side almost nudged themselves in front after just 4 minutes when Stephen Bronsky rose highest to meet a corner, but his header was cleared off the line by Connor Barron.
Both sides struggled to get into any kind of rhythm in the early stages on a heavy surface which had been subject of a pitch inspection on Friday afternoon.
Despite City looking fairly comfortable, a defensive lapse would cost them on 17 minutes as Elgin opened the scoring. Connor O’Keefe’s cutback wasn’t cleared properly by Dave McKay and the ball fell kindly for BRIAN CAMERON who lashed into the top corner from 12 yards.
Just over midway through the first half City were forced into making their first substitution as Scott Reekie replaced the injured Sean McIntosh.
Rory MacEwan threatened for the home side just after the half hour mark when his effort from range was deflected wide for a corner. Minutes later, City conceded possession cheaply on the edge of the box to O’Keefe who drilled low into the danger area for Hester to clip over the bar.
It took until the 39th minute for City to test Tom McHale in the home goal. Michael Paton didn’t quite connect cleanly with his 20 yard strike, however the Elgin keeper did well to push the ball away for a corner.
This marked the start of a positive spell for City as they looked to get themselves back on level terms just before the break. Kieran Inglis was next to try his luck from range with his shot being comfortably gathered by McHale and on the stroke of half time, City’s best chance arrived when Cusick fed Rory Currie in the box who dragged wide of the post from close range.
Half time arrived and although Elgin deserved their lead on the balance of play, City were still very much in the game and had started to create a few openings going forward.
City came out the traps in the second half and Matty Todd was unlucky to see his long range drive tipped over by McHale for a corner.
The home side started to take control, however, with Kane Hester flashing a shot just wide before McMinn got down well to keep out a low effort from Russell Dingwall.
At the other end, a weaving run from Scot Cusick saw him beat 4 players as he worked his way into the box before being denied by a last-ditch block. That would prove to be Cusick’s last contribution of the game as he was replaced by Leeroy Makovora.
Some calamitous defending saw the game slip from City’s grasp on the hour mark and the home side took full advantage to double their lead. A misplaced pass in the box resulted in McMinn making a fine save from an initial shot but KANE HESTER was on hand to blast through a ruck of bodies and into the corner.
The result was put beyond doubt five minutes later. A long ball over the top from Smart Osodalor found KANE HESTER who got the better of Jonathan Page before sprinting clear and slotting low beyond McMinn to make it 3-0.
Hester could have easily bagged his hat-trick just a few minutes later. He latched onto a charged down clearance and glided past Bollan in the box before producing a terrific save from McMinn who pushed the ball round the post.
A City side devoid of confidence did threaten occasionally on the break with Connor Barron shooting over from range, before Michael Paton drilled just wide of the post.
Substitute Aidan Sopel was a menacing option going forward for the home side. On 77 minutes he latched onto a through ball from Hester and with just McMinn to beat, he blazed over. He would threaten again when got in behind the defence but he clipped across the face of goal with McMinn doing well to narrow the angle.
With just a few minutes remaining, City conjured up the last chance of the match with Jimmy Scott curling a shot just inches past the post.
City will travel to face Albion Rovers in Coatbridge next week knowing that they will need to cut out basic errors if they are to kick start their league campaign.