Match Report - By Steven Mew
City recovered from a horror start to record a comprehensive win over Strathspey Thistle at Glebe Park yesterday afternoon – a result that saw City move back up to 2nd in the Highland League table.
With a number of players back available, Manager Andy Kirk made 5 changes to the side that defeated Haddington Athletic in the Scottish Cup last weekend, with Kevin McHattie making his debut.
The game got off to a disastrous start for the home side as KIERAN CHALMERS danced his way past three defenders inside the box before sliding the ball into the far corner to open the scoring.
The home support were stunned into silence as the Jags doubled their advantage just three minutes later. A free kick from the right hand side was only cleared as far as KANE DAVIES who placed his shot high into the net.
City needed a reaction and they pulled a goal back after 9 minutes. Kucheriavyi’s corner was met by HAMISH THOMSON who sent a bullet header beyond Donaldson.
Three minutes later, Kucheriavyi set off on a darting run which saw him glide past several players before being denied by a block and then a save from the keeper at his near post.
It didn’t take long for City to get back on level terms as another Kucheriavyi delivery was glanced into the far corner by DAVID COX.
City continued to dominate the ball but it was the visitors who got their noses back in front shortly before the half hour mark. A cross from the left side was poorly defended and despite Wills keeping out an initial shot, KRIS DUNCAN was first to react to bundle the ball over the line.
Back came City who equalised again after 35 minutes – a deep cross from Marc Scott found DAVID COX in the box who rose above his marker to head into the corner.
Three minutes later, City took the lead for the first time. MAX KUCHERIAVYI collected a pass from Inglis 25 yards out and advanced forward before rifling a shot into the corner from the edge of the box.
Shortly before the break, a deep cross from Davidson was met perfectly on the volley by Kucheriavyi which produced a fine save from Donaldson.
The Ukranian playmaker continued to threaten shortly after as he danced his way into the box before feeding Wood who saw his shot deflected wide. Wood would come close again on the stroke of half time when his header from Scott’s cross was kept out by the Jags keeper.
Manager Andy Kirk made a change at the break, with Kevin McHattie making way for Lyall Booth as he eases his way back following a hip injury.
Five minutes into the second half, a long range effort from Inglis was pushed away by Robertson with Thomson only able to head the rebound over from 5 yards out.
With 53 minutes on the clock, City extended their lead through MURRAY MACKINTOSH. The tireless midfielder ran onto a long ball from Cox and despite looking like he had lost his footing, he managed to get a shot away which the keeper could only parry into the net.
Several minutes later, David Cox thought he had his hat-trick when he converted from Marc Scott’s cross, however the linesman had raised his flag for offside.
City kept pushing and made it six on the hour mark. Hamish Thomson’s header from Kucheriavyi’s corner was kept out by the keeper, but GARRY WOOD showed his predatory instincts to slam home the rebound from a few yards out.
The home side were threatening to run riot at this stage with Cox coming close twice before Donaldson made a fine save to keep out a 20 yard free kick from Kucheriavyi.
Cox, who was later named as the sponsors man of the match, struck the outside of the post as he continued to chase that elusive hat-trick.
With ten minutes remaining, City were awarded a penalty after Kucheriavyi was fouled just inside the area. Normally reliable from the spot, Kieran Inglis stepped up but blazed well over the bar.
On 84 minutes the scoring was rounded off by substitute JULIAN WADE. The Dominican latched on to a through ball from David Cox and got the better of a defender before sidefooting home at the near post.
In the closing stages, Marc Scott was denied twice by the keeper who could take great credit for keeping the scoreline down in the second half.
Overall a comfortable afternoon for City in the end however there will be an element of frustration at conceding three goals at home. The result saw City move within 9 points of Fraserburgh at the top with a game in hand.