Match Report - By Steven Mew
An improved second half showing wasn’t quite enough for City as they slipped to defeat against Stenhousemuir at Ochilview Park yesterday afternoon.
The hosts were two goals to the good at the interval and looked set for a comfortable win, however Michael Paton’s side stepped up in the second half and could have easily come away with a share of the points after a late rally.
Patrick O’Neil was given an opportunity between the sticks for his league start of the season, whilst the Manager ran the rule over two trialists in the starting 11 as he continues to look for ways to strengthen his squad ahead of the January transfer window.
Paton spoke of the importance of taking a foothold of matches early on, however this was dashed as City found themselves a goal down after just 5 minutes.
Former City midfielder Callum Tapping provided the delivery from the corner for ANDY MUNRO - he showed his strength to the get the better of his marker to power a header into the net.
Tapping himself would threaten for the Warriors on 10 minutes. The ball sat up nicely for him inside the box but he was unable to guide his volley on target.
City’s first chance of the game arrived on 19 minutes after a flowing passing move. Michael Paton played a ball in behind the defence for Matty Todd to latch on to, however his effort was kept out by Martin at his near post.
Lapses of concentration has undoubtedly been City’s achilles heel this season and so it would prove again as the hosts doubled their advantage shortly after the half hour mark.
The City rearguard were caught sleeping and the hosts took full advantage. Botti Biabi latched onto a quickly taken free kick down the left hand side and he provided the cutback for striker MARK MCGUIGAN to confidently place into the corner.
There was a double blow for City as shortly after the goal, defender Luc Bollan looked to have picked up an injury and he limped off to be replaced by Scott Reekie.
Ryan Blair twice threatened for the Warriors as his audacious 30 yard strike looped onto the roof of the net and a minute later, he beat two men down the right flank before producing a good save from O’Neil who parried away.
The hosts were well in control at the break but in a complete contrast to recent matches, City started the second half in a positive fashion. On 52 minutes a trialist striker wriggled free of his man and his strike from 20 yards looked destined for the bottom corner, however Martin got down well to save.
A couple of minutes later at the other end, Mark McGuigan stung the hands of O’Neil with a rasping effort from the edge of the box.
Shortly after the hour mark City gave themselves a lifeline as they reduced the deficit following a well-worked move which involved no fewer than 8 players. It originated with O’Neil at the back and ended with the rampaging McLevy down the right providing a low cross into the box for A TRIALIST to slot home.
Having looked comfortable for much of the game, Davie Irons’ side looked nervy as City went out in search of an equaliser, with the attacking threat of Connor Coupe introduced for the goalscoring trialist on 77 minutes.
With just three minutes remaining, City spurned a glorious chance to get themselves on levels terms. A right sided cross from Michael Paton found Scott Reekie unmarked in the box and from just 8 yards out, he scooped his effort over the bar when it looked easier to score.
As the game entered stoppage time, City had one last chance to salvage something from the game as Ewan McLevy came inside from the left and curled a shot just inches wide of the far post.
The period of late pressure proved to be too little too late as the Warriors inflicted a fifth straight defeat for City – however Michael Paton can certainly take heart from an improved second half showing which could have easily resulted in a valuable point.
Awaiting City in the league next weekend is Annan Athletic who make the long journey north to Glebe Park.