Match Report - By Eoin McNicol
Brechin City got the better of Rothes in the Highland League Cup yesterday afternoon, coming out as eventual 4-2 winners at Glebe Park.
It wasn’t a clear cut afternoon however with City having to come back from behind twice. Botti Biabi grabbed his first hattrick in City colours with an impressive display from the striker.
Dean Easton was handed his first competitive start for City as Lenny Wilson was rested, with Ewan Loudon also replacing Anthony McDonald for this cup clash.
A slow and sloppy start from Brechin gave Rothes the advantage inside the opening 5 minutes. An unmarked AIDAN WILSON found the ball at his feet in space on the edge of the box before placing his low effort in the bottom right corner beating Dean Easton.
It was an instant response from Brechin, taking just 2 minutes to level the score. Marc Scott cut inside on the right wing before being taken down inside the area and the referee pointed to the spot straight away. GRADY MCGRATH was the man to take the spot kick and made no mistake with his finish, firing the ball into the top left corner.
Marc Scott looked to have a further impact on the game minutes later, picking the ball up and cutting inside in similar fashion to the penalty. This time he opted to have a go himself, but his shot was blazed over the bar.
Rothes managed to get themselves ahead again on the 25 minute mark with their second shot of the game. After a bit of a scramble in the box, the ball was cleared but lined the shot up perfectly for GREG MORRISON running goalward. The Rothes forward connected well with the ball and smashed it towards Easton who couldn’t keep it out as the ball deflected into the corner.
Rothes almost doubled their advantage through Gary Kerr who had a golden opportunity in the 6 yard box. The ball was put on a plate for him, but Kerr couldn’t guide his header past Easton who held the effort from close range.
City grew back into the game, and it looked only a matter of time before an equaliser was scored. A defensive mix-up between Kerr and McCarthy seen the forward almost put the ball into his own net after a misplaced back pass whisked past the post. From the resulting corner Cooney had a go himself, hitting the ball hard down the middle, with McCarthy parrying the powerful effort before holding it on the second attempt.
Just minutes before the break, City levelled for the second time of the match. Marc Scott put in a spectacular ball across goal to meet BOTTI BIABI free at the back post, leaving the striker with a simple finish as he guided the ball home with his side foot.
Brechin came straight out of the blocks in the second half with BOTTI BIABI netting for his second, putting City ahead for the first time of the match. It was Marc Scott who assisted once again, this time with Biabi finishing at the front post.
The second half had a real lack of clear cut chances for either side, with the game really coming to back life again in the final 10 minutes. Botti Biabi showed his pace out on the left as he powered down the line before firing a shot on target, but McCarthy was there to push away his effort.
Substitute Jamie Bain, who made his return from injury, showed great strength to keep the ball before picking out Botti Biabi on the edge of the area. The striker had time to ready himself and take the shot but slipped as he connected with the ball which dragged his shot wide.
As Rothes pushed for a late equaliser with numbers up the field, Kieran Inglis collected a Brechin clearance on the left wing. Inglis skipped past a couple of Rothes players before attempting a one-two with Botti Biabi, but Biabi misjudged the weight of the return pass and Rothes intercepted.
With a minute to go of normal time, the ball came off Biabi’s boot which looped over the Rothes goalkeeper and dipped onto the crossbar before going back into the danger zone. Marc Scott challenged for the rebound but was taken down and the referee awarded a penalty for the second time of the match. BOTTI BIABI was given the penalty and smashed it down the middle of the goal to seal his hattrick and the victory to progress City to the next round.
City return to Highland League action next Saturday with a clash against Forres Mechanics at Glebe Park with kick-off returning to the earlier 2pm time.