Match Report - By Steven Mew
A sublime stoppage time free kick from Ukranian youngster Max Kucheriavyi rescued a point for a below-par City against Rothes yesterday afternoon.
It was a game in which City failed to excel and the visitors could perhaps consider themselves unfortunate not to have gone away with all three points.
Andy Kirk pulled no punches in his post-match assessment – with the City Manager demanding more from his players ahead of a tough trip to Fraserburgh next weekend.
Kirk made three changes from the side that lost to Buckie in midweek, with Max Kucheriavyi and David Cox coming back in whilst striker Julian Wade made his first start for the club.
In what was the first competitive meeting between the two sides, City had much of the possession during the first half but failed to penetrate the visitors defence with any regularity.
The first chance of note arrived on 21 minutes when Jamie Bain did well down the right hand side before playing a low ball into the box for Julian Wade who flicked wide of the near post.
Despite the lack of chances, City did get their noses in front on the 36 minute mark. Kucheriavyi provided the in-swinging cross for DAVID COX who guided a header into the far corner for his third goal of the season.
City looked to double their advantage before the break with Mackintosh firing straight at McCarthy before Jamie Bain sent a rasping volley just inches wide of the post.
Early in the second half, a corner from Kucheriavyi was only cleared as far as Mackintosh who fired over from the edge the box. David Cox then glanced wide from a Jamie Bain cross whilst Kieran Inglis tried his luck with a left foot strike from range which flew past the post.
A number of mistakes were starting to creep into City’s game and the visitors grabbed an equaliser just after the hour mark. JACK BROWN latched on to a lofted ball over the top and he held off the challenge of Gregor Jordan before prodding past the on-rushing Jack Wills.
City looked to get into it with Kucheriavyi firing over from a Wood knockdown whilst Gregor Jordan was unlucky to see his downwards header from Paton’s corner pushed away by the keeper.
The visitors grew in confidence as the match wore on and with quarter of an hour remaining they came close on the counter attack. Allen Mackenzie skipped past the challenge of Jordan on the left hand side and he advanced forward with the ball before forcing Wills into a good save down low.
Further slack defending from City saw the Speysiders edge themselves in front with just eight minutes remaining. Ross Gunn burst clear of the City rearguard before supplying a low cross for the unmarked AIDAN WILSON who fired home from 6 yards out.
City’s hopes of getting back into the contest suffered a blow when Jamie Bain was given his marching orders for kicking out in frustration with just a matter of minutes remaining.
Despite the man disadvantage, City managed to salvage an equaliser deep into stoppage time thanks to a moment of magic from MAX KUCHERIAVYI. The youngster showed great skill to draw a foul on the edge of the box and he took the free kick himself, curling a splendid effort over the wall and into the top corner, giving the keeper no chance.
It was too late for City to push for an unlikely winner, as referee Stephen Gill called time on a difficult afternoon for Andy Kirk’s men.
City head north to Fraserburgh next weekend, with a vast improvement in performance required against a side that has won their opening four league matches.