Match Report - By Steven Mew
City put on a 5-star second half showing against Jeanfield Swifts yesterday afternoon to progress to the 2nd round of the Scottish Cup.
Following a goalless first half at the Riverside Stadium, Andy Kirk’s men turned on the style in the second half to run out comfortable winners.
After a fortnight out of action, there were two changes to the City side that defeated Strathspey in our last outing. Michael Cruickshank and Ewan Loudon came in at the expense of Kieran Inglis and the absent Michael McArthur.
New signing Ryan McInnes took his place on the bench with Dominik Naglik also included in the squad having been recalled from his loan spell at Tayport.
Prior to the game, both sets of players and supporters impeccably observed a minutes silence following the passing of Queen Elizabeth last week.
On an excellent playing surface, City started brightly and could have been ahead after 4 minutes when Anthony McDonald rounded the keeper before passing into the net – however the linesman had already flagged for offside.
The hosts threatened through experienced striker Chris McLeish on 8 minutes. The former Elgin City man lashed a volley just wide of goal from the edge of the box.
With 13 minutes on the clock Ewan Loudon fired over from range for City and just a few minutes later, Fraser MacLeod slid a ball through for Anthony McDonald but his shot was right down the throat of home custodian Sam Townsley.
After a promising start, City fell off the pace a bit as Jeanfield started to get a foothold in the game although Lenny Wilson continued to be relatively untroubled between the sticks.
Ten minutes before the break, McGrath headed over from Scott’s right sided delivery and shortly after, McDonald let fly with a shot from the edge of the box which whistled past the post.
City needed to move up a gear in the second half and that was certainly the case. Three minutes after the restart McDonald set up an opportunity for McGrath but Townsley did supremely well to tip his strike round the post.
That combination was not to be denied two minutes later as City broke the deadlock. MacLeod made a lung-busting run from midfield – he linked up with McDonald who played a neat reverse pass into the path of GRADY MCGRATH who slotted beyond the advancing keeper.
McDonald curled a free kick over the crossbar before Northcott missed a guilt edged chance on 58 minutes. The former St Johnstone youngster latched on to a ball in behind the defence from McDonald and after rounding the keeper, he somehow blazed over with the goal gaping.
City weren’t left to rue that missed chance for long however, as EUAN SPARK doubled the advantage shortly after the hour mark. McDonald’s wicked delivery from a free kick found Sparky just a few yards out and he knocked home for his first City goal.
The tie was more or less over as a contest on 69 minutes as City added a third goal – and it was the pick of the bunch. ANTHONY MCDONALD, who was central to almost every City attack, advanced forward with the ball and played the ball out to McGrath out on the left hand side. McGrath placed a low ball into the box for McDonald, who had continued his run, to guide into the far corner of the net.
Immediately after the goal McDonald came off the park to a rapturous applause from the visiting support as he was replaced by new signing Ryan McInnes upfront.
On 73 minutes Jeanfield had Sam Townsley to thank for keeping the score at 3-0. Marc Scott’s corner into the box found McGrath completely unmarked on the 6 yard box and his header was kept out at point blank range by the Swifts keeper.
With quarter of an hour remaining, the home side gave themselves a lifeline as they pulled a goal back. A right sided cross came off the unfortunate NATHAN COONEY and into the net.
The Swifts could have easily had another on 86 minutes – Gary Fergus tried his luck from 25 yards and his strike cannoned off the top of the crossbar.
Despite this scare, City made sure of the victory at other end almost immediately after. A long ball from defence sent Ryan McInnes scampering down the right hand side and he laid the ball on a plate for JORDAN NORTHCOTT to bundle home from close range.
City weren’t finished there and they added further gloss to the scoreline in stoppage time. Fraser MacLeod threaded a ball through for GRADY MCGRATH who beat the offside trap to round the keeper and pass into the empty net.
Dominik Naglik made his first competitive appearance for the club as he came on to replace Michael Cruickshank late on.
Overall, it was a ruthless second half performance from City and they now travel to face Inverness next weekend full of confidence.