Match Report - By Steven Mew
Despite another positive first half showing, City went down to play-off chasing Stranraer at Stair Park yesterday evening.
Lady luck simply isn’t shining on City at the moment having been a lick of paint away from taking what would have been an all-important first half lead, coupled with an unfortunate deflection resulting in the hosts’ opening goal shortly after the hour mark. As if that wasn’t enough, City also lost two experienced players in Abdul Osman and Gerry McLauchlan to injury.
There would be a debut for right-back Adam Devine having signed just hours before kick off, whilst Scott Reekie and Rory Currie also came into the side as Manager Michael Paton, who sat out with a hamstring injury, made 3 changes.
It was a predominantly young City side which took to the field, particularly the back four which had an average age of less than 19.
The first opportunity of the match fell City’s way in the 6th minute. A flowing attack on the counter saw Sean Slaven run in on goal, he evaded the challenge of a defender who smashing a shot straight at Fleming who pushed the ball away.
Grant Gallagher threatened on the quarter hour mark when he curled just wide of the far post and a minute later, Joao Vitoria struck wide from the edge of the box.
City could and should have opened the scoring on 27 minutes. Bobby Barr showed tremendous vision to play Rory Currie clean in on goal, the City striker looked to have done everything right as he sidestepped a Stranraer defender in the box and slotted beyond Fleming. Agonisingly, the ball came off the inside of the post, rolled across the line and hit the opposite post before being cleared to safety.
A real head in hands moment – but City kept pushing for that goal as Yusuf Hussain headed wide from the resulting corner from Barron. Two minutes later, the Stranraer defence would lead a charmed life again as another corner from Barron was met by Osman who saw his header cleared off the line.
The Stranraer players appeared to be getting frustrated with their inability to create chances against a stubborn City defence and the only time they threatened again prior to the break was through Tam Orr who fired straight at Hutton from 20 yards.
Michael Paton’s men certainly had plenty to be positive about going into the second period and they started on the front foot. Hamilton loanee Sean Slaven came inside from the left wing before forcing Fleming into a save.
Unfortunately for City, Adbul Osman pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring injury ten minutes into the second half and was replaced by Gerry McLauchlan, with Harris O’Connor slotting into Osman’s defensive midfield role.
Six minutes later City would suffer a double blow. Gerry McLauchlan picked up a calf injury and such is his desire to win, he picked himself up in an attempt to block a shot from ANDY STIRLING. Excruciatingly, the ball deflected off Gerry's side and into the net, wrongfooting Hutton in goal.
McLauchlan was unable to continue and was replaced with Jonathan Page, with Bobby Barr also making way for Connor Coupe.
In truth, City never really recovered following the goal and didn’t look likely to get back into the game. On 70 minutes an Adam Cummins header struck the underside of the bar but the hosts would go on to double their advantage four minutes later.
A neat passing move resulted in Connor McManus playing an intelligent back-heel into the path of TAM ORR who finished into the far corner.
With eight minutes remaining, debutant Adam Devine was replaced by Kieran Inglis as City chased a way back into the game, but they were unable to grab a goal back to set up a nervy finish for the home side.
Overall, a disappointing result for City coupled with injuries to two experienced players who will be assessed over the coming week to find out the extent of the damage.
The fixtures don’t come any easier with league leaders Queen’s Park the visitors to Glebe Park on Saturday. However, with a further 3 consecutive home matches to follow, City will know they will need to take points from these if they are to avoid going into the league split in bottom position.