Match Report - By Steven Mew
City’s title hopes were given a huge boost yesterday evening as Andy Kirk’s side put in a 5-star show to sweep aside Fraserburgh at Glebe Park.
A scintillating first half performance saw City go in four goals to the good at the break, and there would be no repeat of the collapse against the Broch last season as City went on to add a fifth goal in the second half.
Manager Andy Kirk made three changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Brora Rangers last week with Kevin McHattie, Michael McArtur & Botti Biabi coming in for Anthony McDonald & Jordan Northcott whilst skipper Jamie Bain missed out through suspension.
In front of an excellent crowd of 951, City looked up for the fight and took the lead after just 3 minutes. MacLeod played a low cross into the danger area, finding BOTTI BIABI who fired a low shot beyond Joe Barbour to open the scoring.
On 11 minutes, Biabi slid a pass in for McGrath inside the box but the angle proved too difficult for the City frontman and his shot was kept out at the near post. Five minutes later, McHattie was next to threaten with a volley from range which dipped just over the crossbar.
Shortly after the quarter hour mark, the impressive Biabi then turned provider. He turned his marker inside out on the right hand side of the box before providing an in-swinging cross for FRASER MACLEOD - the midfielder got the deftest of touches to flick a header into the far corner to double the advantage.
Just a few minutes later and it was three for City. MARC SCOTT received the ball on the right hand side of the box and he cut inside the defender before slamming a low shot beyond the keeper.
Biabi was causing no end of problems for the Broch back line - he held the ball up well and flicked over his head for Inglis to latch on to but his volley went over the crossbar.
Midway through the half, the visitors threatened the City backline for the first time when top-scorer Scott Barbour attempted to wriggle free of Thomson inside the box but the City defender did well to block the effort. From the resulting corner, Butcher headed over.
On the stroke of half time, the home support were in dreamland as City further added to their advantage. McHattie made a good run down the left hand side and his cross was inch perfect for MARC SCOTT to rise and head into the net from a few yards out.
Despite being 4 goals up at the break, City were hungry for more and just two minutes after the restart, McHattie came inside from the left but saw his goalbound shot blocked.
The Broch looked to get themselves back in the game Barbour shooting straight at Wilson and two minutes later, the City keeper had to be alert again to tip over a glancing header from Butcher.
Back at the other end, MacLeod flicked a header wide from Scott’s delivery whilst ‘Marco’ would come close to his hat-trick shortly after when he fired wide at the near post from McGrath’s cross.
The only thing that the game was missing was a goal from GRADY MCGRATH and City’s top scorer duly delivered with quarter of an hour remaining. The striker played a neat interchange with MacLeod who was denied by the keeper, but McGrath was alert to roll the rebound into the empty net for his 34th goal of the season.
With 8 minutes remaining, substitute Anthony McDonald showed some good footwork down the right hand side of the box before unleashing a strike which stung the hands of Joe Barbour.
Overall it was an outstanding performance from Brechin with everyone playing their part. Clinical finishing from the attacking players was backed up by a well organised defence, recording a 6th consecutive clean sheet in the process.
The win took City to within 4 points of league leaders Buckie Thistle with a game in hand. Three cup finals remain for City, the first of which comes against Clachnacuddin at Grant Street Park on Saturday.
Other Results - Breedon Highland League
Brora Rangers 1 Lossiemouth 0
Inverurie Locos 4 Wick Academy 0
Strathspey Thistle 0 Keith 1