Match Report - By Steven Mew
City crashed out of the Scottish Cup at the first hurdle yesterday afternoon as Linlithgow Rose came from behind twice to progress to the next round of the competition.
The former junior side, currently in the sixth tier of the Scottish football pyramid, were deserved winners against a beleaguered City outfit on a wet and blustery afternoon at Glebe Park.
City were missing two key players for the match with loanees Matty Todd and Connor Barron not being granted permission by their parent clubs to play in the cup. This saw Scott Cusick and Kieran Inglis come into the side, whilst Rory Currie returned at the expense of Chris Paton upfront.
The game had started so well for City, with Player/Manager Michael Paton striking the outside of the post from a 25 yard free kick before the home side opened the scoring with a delightful passing move on the quarter hour mark.
The goal originated from some patient build up play in midfield before Michael Paton zipped the ball into the feet of Kieran Inglis on the edge of the box. The youngster intelligently back-heeled into the path of RORY CURRIE who slotted low into the net, despite Brian Schwake getting a hand to it.
On 24 minutes Jimmy Scott’s header was pushed away by the keeper, however the linesman had already flagged for offside. At the other end, Owen Ronald’s from 20 yards was deflected for a corner.
On the half hour mark some great pressing by City in the opposition half saw an opportunity arise for Scott Cusick inside the danger area but his strike was well blocked.
There was a real let-off for City shortly after when Owen Ronald’s cross was headed over by the unmarked Aiden Wilson. However, three minutes later the visitors got themselves level.
Wilson got down the left hand side before providing the cross for experienced striker TOMMY COYNE to nod unchallenged into the corner to restore parity.
Into the second half, Kieran Inglis threatened twice from range within the space of a minute, however both efforts were saved comfortably by the on-loan Livingston keeper.
City went on to regain their lead on 52 minutes and again they showed what they are capable of with a passing sequence originating from Paddy O’Neil in goal.
After reaping the benefits of the assist for the opener, Rory Currie returned the favour as he played the killer pass for KIERAN INGLIS. His delightful touch took him clear of the Linlithgow defence and although Schwake got a hand to the finish, the ball trickled over the line to put City ahead.
City had their tails up and they could have easily doubled their advantage a minute later when Michael Paton fired a shot just wide of the far post.
Unfortunately for Brechin it all seemed to go wrong from this point as the fragility of this young side was exposed by Linlithgow.
David Brownlie knocked wide at the near post from a corner, whilst Dean Cairns lashed a volley over the bar as the visitors went in search of an equaliser.
On 70 minutes, City attacked on the break with Connor Coupe coming inside from the left but his strike was high and wide of goal.
Barely a minute later, the East of Scotland side pulled themselves level again. A long ball forward caused havoc in the City defence and with keeper Paddy O’Neil committing himself on the edge of the box, RUARI MACLENNAN took full advantage as his shot rolled past 3 defenders on its way into the net.
Disaster struck for City as they conceded again almost immediately after the restart. After some scrappy play inside the City box, the home defence were unable to clear their lines properly which saw SCOTT STEVENSON curl a shot over the despairing dive of O’Neil.
The visitors very nearly gave themselves a two goal cushion as O’Neil made a superb point blank save to keep out a header from a corner.
City made their first and only sub of the match ten minutes from time as Chris Paton replaced Scott Cusick in the hope of getting back into the game. The new recruit conjured up a chance within a couple of minutes of coming on as he looped a volley over the bar.
Michael Paton’s side huffed and puffed in the closing stages but in truth, the visitors looked more likely to put the game to bed and they very nearly did so in stoppage time. A long ball upfield wasn’t dealt with by the hesitant Gregor Jordan – this allowed MacLennan clean through on goal however O’Neil did well to save with his feet.
The East of Scotland Premier Division side saw out the game to inflict a hugely disappointing defeat for City, and one that will rank amongst some of the worst in the 114-year history of the Club.