Match Report - By Eoin McNicol
City eased past 10-man Keith to maintain their 3-point lead at the top of the table as they netted 5 goals without reply at Glebe Park yesterday afternoon.
Brechin maintained their high scoring form from last week as goals from McDonald, McGrath, Inglis and Biabi helped see off their opponents in a convincing home performance.
There was just 1 change to Andy Kirk’s starting line-up from last weeks win over Brora, which seen Jamie Bain side-lined for Anthony McDonald, with the armband being passed to Kevin McHattie for this clash. New signing Botti Biabi was included as a substitute whilst Michael McArthur made his return from injury, taking a place on the bench.
Keith started the game well, with the opening 5 minutes probably their best period throughout the match. Lenny Wilson had to deal with an early free kick which was floated into his box from range and just moments later was called into action again after a sloppy pass from Marc Scott allowed Keith’s Kieran Mooney through on goal but the striker couldn’t capitalise on the early opportunity.
There were few real chances in the opening 15 with crosses put into the box for City but no one in the dangerzone to meet them. Keith looked to threaten again as Kieran Mooney produced an excellent rabona touch which allowed him a shot at goal but his effort was wide of Wilson’s goal.
20 minutes in Brechin would break the deadlock through ANTHONY MCDONALD who created the goal almost single handedly. The winger made a dangerous run inside the box and managed to get a shot off which was deflected out for a corner. McDonald took the resulting corner and the in-swinger found the top corner of Keith’s goal.
Just 5 minutes later McDonald looked to grab a second as he stood over a free kick from the right and forced a save from Kyle Irvine who parried the ball out to Marc Scott, his effort was cleared as far as McDonald who would try his luck again to force another save from Irvine.
The next real chance of the match came from stand-in skipper Kevin McHattie who found himself in space from distance and had a go for himself - he connected well and the movement on the ball made it less straightforward for the goalkeeper to palm out for a corner. Kieran Inglis whipped the ball into the danger area and found Euan Spark on his own at the back post but he couldn’t make anything of the chance.
Just before the break, Brechin doubled their advantage through GRADY MCGRATH. Kieran Inglis played a pinpoint pass over to Marc Scott on the left wing and after a great run he crossed the ball over to McGrath who headed the ball downwards into the net.
City came out from the break knocking on the door straight away, dominating the ball and looking to kill the game off with a third. Keith looked to hit on the counter-attack, but Kevin McHattie was there to stop them advancing with a strong challenge in the centre circle.
It was chance after chance for Brechin to grab the 3rd of the day. Around the hour mark, Inglis put a ball through on goal but a mix up between McDonald and Scott worked in City’s favour as the referee pointed to the spot after Scott was fouled. KIERAN INGLIS would make no mistake with his penalty as he smashed the ball down the middle as Irvine dived to his right.
Botti Biabi was then subbed on for Aaron Arnott for his debut and he had an instant impact. The new signing showed skill on the left before cutting inside as he was brought down by Keith’s Lewis Coull who was shown a second yellow which sent Keith down to 10 men.
Just minutes later, it was brilliant play down the right hand side from McGrath as he played the ball along the ground to BOTTI BIABI who backheeled it past the keeper to net just minutes into his debut.
Brechin wouldn’t settle for 4 and kept piling the pressure on Keith’s defence. 77 minutes in, a good touch from Biabi allowed Michael Cruickshank to overlap and fire a cross which was deflected for a corner. Inglis’ corner was swung in right towards the goalkeeper, which was parried out to the feet of GRADY MCGRATH who rifled the ball into the roof of the net to get his second goal of the game.
In the final 10, Euan Spark looked to get in on the action but his header was just wide of the post. Inglis also tried his luck from long range in the dying minutes but his effort was way over the bar.
Overall, it was another great display from City and another clean sheet for Lenny Wilson as Brechin stay 3 points clear at the top of the table. Next up is a Scottish Cup clash against Stirling Albion next Saturday.
Other Results - Breedon Highland League
Banks O' Dee 1 Fraserburgh 1
Clachnacuddin 2 Lossiemouth 1
Forres Mechanics 4 Deveronvale 1
Inverurie Locos 0 Huntly 0
Nairn County 0 Brora Rangers 4
Rothes 2 Buckie Thistle 4
Strathspey Thistle 1 Turriff United 6
Wick Academy 0 Formartine United 3