Match Report - By Steven Mew
Despite a dominant first half showing, it ultimately proved to be a hugely frustrating evening for 10-man City as Elgin fought back to take all three points at Glebe Park.
Owing to injury and suspension, it was a patched up Brechin side that took to the field - but this was far from apparent during a pulsating opening 45 minutes in which City will feel they should have gone in at the break more than one goal ahead.
Gregor Jordan and on-loan Rangers duo Adam Devine and Chris McKee came into a youthful side with an average age of just 20.7 – including 35 year old goalkeeper David Hutton.
The absentees meant the likes of Scott Reekie lining up in an unfamiliar left wing role, whilst Chris McKee dropped back from his normal forward position into central midfield. It was of great credit to these players that they excelled in these roles.
The home side came flying out the traps and almost went ahead in the 3rd minute. Sean Slaven latched on to a slack back-pass from former City man Euan Spark but Tom McHale was off his line quickly to save with his feet.
On 10 minutes Scott Reekie had a shot pushed away by McHale at the near post and from the resulting corner, Harris O’Connor had a close range effort deflected over.
City continued to pile on the pressure with Slaven firing a shot straight at the Elgin keeper. A minute later McKee sent Slaven rampaging down the right hand side – the on-loan Hamilton man provided a low cross which was spilled by McHale, with Scott Reekie desperately unlucky not to force the ball over the line.
Michael Paton’s side continued to lay siege on the visitors goal. Adam Devine did well to beat Euan Spark down the right hand side before cutting the ball back for Slaven who had his shot blocked. From the resulting delivery from Connor Barron, Gregor Jordan headed straight at the keeper.
Elgin’s first real opportunity arrived mid-way through the first half on the break. Top goalscorer Kane Hester latched on to a through ball and cut inside O’Connor before striking inches past the post.
Back came City, however. On 25 minutes Chris McKee sent a rasping drive goalwards from the edge of the box which McHale did well to tip away for a corner.
Four minutes later, the home side got the goal that they deserved. The industrious CONNOR BARRON won the ball just inside City’s half and advanced into the Elgin penalty area before unleashing a superb angled shot which nestled into the far corner. It was a first professional goal for the 18-year old and richly deserved based on some excellent individual performances of late.
Elgin did come back into it and almost replied instantly with substitute Smart Osadolor clipping the top of the crossbar with a well executed volley. The same player would come close again on 37 minutes when he glanced just wide of the post.
On the stroke of half time the ball fell kindly in the six yard box for Kane Hester but he could only guide his effort straight at Hutton.
After a blistering start to the first half, City supporters would have been craving something similar in the second period. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be as City suffered a double blow within 50 seconds of the restart.
A cross from the left hand side was just out of the reach of Hutton who come out to claim – the ball was headed goalwards only for Yusuf Hussain who instinctively handled the ball off the line. The on-loan Motherwell defender held his head in his hands as he knew a penalty and red card was to follow. KANE HESTER stepped up to take and sent his penalty straight down the middle to level the score.
City re-shuffled the defence on 52 minutes as Gregor Jordan was replaced by the experienced Jonathan Page. The hosts would come close two minutes later when Sean Slaven fire across the face of goal with the on-rushing Reekie unlucky not to get enough contact to guide it goalwards.
Despite the man disadvantage, City kept plugging away however the visitors started to take control midway through the second half.
On 67 minutes Conor O’Keefe placed a shot narrowly wide of the far post and with quarter of an hour remaining, Osadolor headed over from close range.
Two minutes later, Kane Hester got in behind the City rearguard to take down a long ball but he snatched at the shot and screwed wide of goal. Hester would threaten again when he fired an effort on the turn which rolled wide.
Just as it looked as if City would come out of the game with something to show for their efforts, Elgin conjured up the winning goal seven minutes from time.
It wasn’t without some controversy as the visitors were awarded a corner shortly before despite the ball clearly rebounding off Osadolor. The set-piece would result in another corner which DARRYL MCHARDY rose above the City defence to head home.
Immediately after the goal Chris Paton came on to give City some fresh legs upfront, replacing the tireless Sean Slaven. A frustrated home side huffed and puffed in the closing stages, however Elgin held on for the three points - aiding their own play-off push.
City now have a week until the next match against Stenhousemuir next Tuesday, which will hopefully see the return of several players from injury.