Banks O' Dee
Match Report - By Eoin McNicol
City proved too hot to handle for Banks O' Dee yesterday evening as a ruthless first half performance gave Andy Kirk's side the platform to go 4 points clear at the top of the league.
In front of a sizeable and vocal travelling support, goals from Cruickshank, Biabi, MacLeod and McGrath in the opening 30 minutes was enough to get the points despite Banks O’ Dee’s late consolation goal.
Manager Andy Kirk made 3 changes to his starting line-up after last week’s draw with Botti Biabi, Nathan Cooney and Michael Cruickshank coming in for Jamie Bain, Aaron Arnott and Ewan Loudon.
Brechin came out of the blocks flying as they looked to improve on their first half performance last week. Botti Biabi had the ball in the back of the net in the opening minute after the ball was put on a plate for him after Grady McGrath flashed the ball across the goal, but the flag was up for offside.
It took Brechin just 12 minutes to open the scoring through MICHAEL CRUICKSHANK who got on the end of Marc Scott’s low cross at the far post for a relatively easy tap in.
Banks O’ Dee really struggled to test the City defence and failed to create any chances for themselves, instead focused on keeping Brechin at bay as Andy Kirk’s men looked in the mood for goals.
From 25 minutes in, Brechin went on to score 3 goals in 7 minutes. The first of the 3 goals in quick succession came through BOTTI BIABI. Marc Scott cleared the Banks O’ Dee corner which was awarded after miscommunication at the back - from the clearance, Kieran Inglis picked up the ball in the middle of the park before playing Botti Biabi through down the left. Botti ran with the ball into the box before connecting perfectly with his shot which rocketed into the roof of the net, beating Andy Shearer at the near post.
Just 2 minutes later, FRASER MACLEOD got himself on the scoresheet too after Marc Scott forced a defensive error from the Dee backline. Botti Biabi picked out MacLeod in the box where he showed great footwork before slipping the ball into the bottom left corner.
Half an hour in, Brechin were awarded a penalty as the crumbling Dee backline took down Marc Scott in the area. GRADY MCGRATH showed no signs of nerves after last week’s penalty miss as he rifled his spot kick into the top left corner to put City 4 goals to the good at the break.
The second half struggled to match the excitement of the first with Banks O’ Dee showing little threat to get themselves back in the game. It was an injury riddled second half for Brechin, with the first forced substitute saw Northcott coming on for McArthur early on in the second period.
Brechin looked to add a fifth as McGrath shot from a tight angle an hour in, but his effort was inches wide of the far post as the striker hunted for his brace. Minutes later, a great lofted through ball from Inglis was perfectly weighted to meet a running Biabi but his first touch was poor. Biabi managed to get a cross off from the chance, but it was cleared by the Dee defence.
Banks O’ Dee had a few chances just over the hour mark, but Lenny Wilson was quick off his line to stop the attacking threat. On minute 72, the City stopper produced a wonder save from close range with his left arm but the flag was up anyway.
78 minutes in, Ewan Loudon did well to keep the ball in play on the by-line before a nice one-two pass with Biabi just inside the box. Loudon cut inside as he rattled the ball against the crossbar and away from danger for Banks O’ Dee.
It was a scrappy finish at Spain Park, with tackles flying in from both sides. After the referee denied City two fouls in the Dee half deep into additional time, Ewan Loudon’s frustration got the better of him with a late challenge for which he was shown a straight red.
Now down to 10 men, a lapse in concentration from City saw Dee’s Rob Armstrong finish low into the corner from inside the box to deny Lenny Wilson a clean sheet with the final kick of the game.
City return to action at Mackessack Park next weekend as we face Rothes in our first game of the New Year.
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