Match Report - By Steven Mew
The curtain came down on a troubled League 2 campaign for City yesterday evening as Mark McGuigan’s late goal handed Stenhousemuir all three points at Glebe Park.
Attention now turns to two of the most important games in the Clubs history as City await the winners of the play-off semi final between Kelty Hearts and Brora Rangers.
Such is the magnitude of the games coming up, Player/Manager Michael Paton was up in Brora taking in the first leg at Dudgeon Park yesterday evening, with Assistant Gerry McCabe taking charge of the side at the Glebe.
There were three changes to the side that drew at Albion Rovers on Saturday with Yusuf Hussain, Connor Coupe and Rory Currie all coming in.
The Warriors arrived in Brechin knowing that they required a win, coupled with an Albion Rovers defeat to snatch 6th place. They were first to threaten after 5 minutes when Jack Hodge attempted an effort from range which was comfortably gathered by Paddy O’Neil.
At the other end, Connor Coupe delivered an inviting cross for Kieran Inglis who couldn’t quite connect with his header which went wide.
This was about as good as it got for City in the first half as the visitors took control. Jack Hodge and Mark McGuigan were both denied by O’Neil and shortly after the quarter hour mark, Adam McCracken almost capitalised on a short header back from Devine but his lob from range ended up on the roof of the net.
The Warriors continued to push for the opener but found stand-in skipper O’Neil in fine form. The City stopper pushed away long range strikes from Ryan Blair and Josh Grigor and on the stroke of half time, he comfortably saved a header from Creag Little.
With City struggling going forward, Gerry McCabe made one change at the break with the experienced Bobby Barr replacing on-loan Rangers youngster Adam Devine.
Barr helped City push on in the second half as they chased a confidence-boosting result going into the play-off matches.
Five minutes after the break Barr’s deep cross to the back post was met by Scott Reekie who couldn’t quite get enough on his header which went wide of the far post.
Shortly after, Barr played a clever one-two as he advanced into the box but saw his strike from a right angle gathered by Paddy Martin.
On the hour mark, a neat passing move resulted in Kieran Inglis blasting a shot over and four minutes later, Rory Currie was next to threaten for the home side when the ball fell for him just inside the box but his finish was straight at the keeper.
City made four substitutions during the second period as they look to spread the game time amongst the players, with Page, McIntosh, Slaven and McKee entering the fray.
Despite City’s improvement in the second half, it was the visitors who denied them what would have been a third clean sheet in five games ten minutes from time. Substitute Martin Shiels raced away from Jonathan Page down the left hand side before providing an inch perfect cross for MARK MCGUIGAN to slot home from a few yards out.
City kept plugging away in search of an equaliser in the closing stages and as the game approached stoppage time, Bobby Barr cut inside from the left wing before shooting over which proved to be the last real action of the game.
With the league campaign now over, Michael Paton’s side can now begin to fully focus and prepare for the playoff matches that lie ahead, albeit dates for these are yet to be confirmed.