Match Report - By Steven Mew
City left it late yesterday afternoon as substitute Anthony McDonald smashed home a vitally important 89th minute winner against Huntly at Christie Park.
It was no less than what City deserved, having struck the woodwork twice in the first half whilst home custodian Fraser Hobday made a string of fine saves throughout.
Following a disappointing defeat against Formartine United in midweek, Manager Andy Kirk rung the changes with Hamish Thomson, Aubrel Koutsimouka and top scorer Grady McGrath coming into the side, with the former making his first start since August.
On an understandably heavy surface, City started brightly with Biabi flashing a shot wide within the opening minute whilst Hobday got down well to keep out a volley from Bain.
Biabi would threaten again on the quarter hour mark with a shot deflected for a corner and he would come close a couple of minutes later when he battled with a Huntly defender whilst running through on goal but the keeper came out to block his effort.
City kept the pressure on with McGrath firing against the outside of the post after being set up by MacLeod, with the rebound from Biabi blocked by the Huntly defence.
City continued to lay siege on the Huntly goal with Hobday spilling a low shot from Biabi and the Huntly stopper recovered enough to deny McGrath at his feet.
The woodwork was struck again midway through the half when a low cross from Bain went through a ruck of bodies and hit the outside of the near post.
The City skipper, who has been amongst the goals of late, came close again when he flashed a volley just wide of the far post from Biabi’s cross.
Chances were very few and far between for the home side, and it took until the 38th minute for their first real opening. A lapse in defence allowed Brodie Allen a clear run at goal but Wilson made an excellent save with his feet to deny the forward.
On the stroke of half time, a dinked ball from Inglis found Biabi in space inside the box but with the goal gaping, the striker sliced his effort wide of the target.
The second half started in much the same fashion. A terrific passing move saw Inglis backheel into the path of MacLeod who supplied a low cross for Biabi but he saw his strike deflected wide for a corner. A minute later, both Bain and McGrath had shots blocked by the home rearguard.
On 55 minutes, a free kick whipped in from Bain found Biabi in the box and his header looked destined for a corner but Hobday did well to push away.
Andy Kirk made his first substitution after 66 minutes with Northcott replacing Cruickshank, and shortly after he made an attacking switch with McDonald coming on for Koutimouka – a move that would prove to be crucial.
Inglis, McGrath, Bain and McHattie all had efforts off target as City searched for that elusive opening goal.
Loudon came on for McGrath with seven minutes remaining and he very got on the scoresheet three minutes later. Scott whipped in an inch perfect cross for Loudon to meet with a powerful diving header but Hobday produced an outstanding reflex save to deny him.
Just as it looked as if it wasn’t going to be City’s day, they broke the deadlock in dramatic fashion a minute from time. A low cross from Northcott was cleared only as far as ANTHONY MCDONALD who smashed a shot in via the underside of the bar to spark wild celebrations both on the pitch and amongst the large City contingent on the terracing.
It was a huge sigh of relief but nobody could argue it was no less than what City deserved on the day. It’s a break from league action next weekend for City as we travel to face Inverurie Locos in the semi-final of the GPH Builders Merchants Highland League Cup.
Other Results - Breedon Highland League
Brora Rangers 2 Strathspey Thistle 0
Buckie Thistle 5 Clachnacuddin 0
Deveronvale 1 Banks O' Dee 4
Formartine United 2 Rothes 1
Fraserburgh 2 Turriff United 3
Inverurie Locos 2 Nairn County 1
Keith 0 Lossiemouth 2
Wick Academy 1 Forres Mechanics 1