Match Report - By Steven Mew
City’s Highland League Cup hopes were dashed by a depleted Brora Rangers side at a bitterly cold Glebe Park yesterday evening.
Owing to injury and covid issues, the visitors arrived at Glebe Park with just 11 players, including a goalkeeper signed on an emergency loan.
Despite boasting a full compliment of 18 players, City struggled against the Cattachs who must take great credit on grinding out a result whilst down to the bare bones.
Manager Andy Kirk made 4 changes from the side that took to the field against Buckie Thistle last time out, with Kevin McHattie, David Cox, Garry Wood and Ewan Loudon all coming in. With regular backup Iain Ross unavailable through injury, City included local goalkeeper Dean Easton on the bench who signed on an emergency loan from Brechin Victoria.
The game was the only tie that survived the weather and on a heavy surface, the visitors were first to threaten when Macrae’s looping header came off the post before Nicolson flashed a shot across the face of goal.
On 19 minutes, David Cox made an excellent run down the right hand side before delivering a low cross for Ewan Loudon who, under pressure from a Brora defender, fired wide at the near post.
Shortly before the half hour mark, Jamie Bain’s corner was allowed to bounce inside the box and Hamish Thomson was unlucky to see his diving header fly narrowly wide.
Five minutes later Garry Wood did well to flick on a forward pass into the path of Marc Scott who broke clear of the defence but his effort was weak and gathered comfortably by Gorton in goal.
City continued to have the better of the chances with Wood playing a clever reverse pass for Cox down the left side – the City attacker got the better of his man before firing a strike across the face of goal.
Against the run of play, the visitors were awarded a penalty after 38 minutes when Max Ewan went down under the aerial challenge of both Bain and Thomson inside the box. The referee had little hesitation in pointing to the spot, with DALE GILLESPIE sending Wills the wrong way to give the visitors the lead.
Several minutes before the break, City should have been level. A deep cross from Cox was headed back across goal by Scott for Mackintosh who, from point blank range, could only direct his diving header straight at the keeper.
Ten minutes into the second half, David Cox was perhaps fortunate to only see a yellow card when he reacted to a challenge from Colin Williamson. The resulting melee saw numerous bookings issued by referee Scott Lambie.
Just before the hour mark, the Cattachs were gifted a second goal. A fairly innocuous looking ball over the top wasn’t dealt with and JORDAN MACRAE took full advantage to nip in between Wills and Thomson to nod into the net to give City a mountain to climb.
In the hope of shaking things up, Andy Kirk made a double change as Michael Paton and Julian Wade came on to replace David Cox and Ewan Loudon.
City continued to struggle to create openings and Alisdair Sutherland was next to threaten for the visitors when his powerful strike was kept out by Wills.
With quarter of an hour remaining, a cross from Inglis was glanced wide by Wood whilst at the other end, Gregor MacDonald flashed a shot just wide.
It was clear to see it wasn’t City’s night, with the best opportunity of the half falling to Michael Paton as the game approached stoppage time – his powerful 20 yard strike was well saved by Gorton in the Brora goal.
Overall, a disappointing evening for City who simply weren’t at the races against a Brora side who worked harder for the win. Next up is a trip to face Huntly in the Highland League on Saturday.