Match Report - By Steven Mew
Brechin City inched closer to a potential title decider next weekend following a hard-fought win over Clachnacuddin in sunny Inverness yesterday afternoon.
The victory meant City now require at least a point against Keith at Kynoch Park on Wednesday to set up a final-day shootout against Buckie Thistle for the Highland League title.
It came as little surprise that Andy Kirk opted to go with the same starting 11 that blew Fraserburgh away in midweek, with the bench bolstered by the return of Jamie Bain and Ewan Loudon from suspension.
City were first to threaten after 4 minutes when Scott received a pass from Inglis on the right hand side of the box – the City winger stepped inside but saw his shot deflected over for a corner.
The visitors would closer just a couple of minutes later when MacLeod slipped a pass through for McGrath who was denied by a fine save from Rae at his near post.
The first real effort on goal for the Lilywhites came after 10 minutes when Harry Hennem fired a shot from range that went harmlessly wide, but they would get themselves in front just two minutes later. A corner arrowed into the box found JAMES ANDERSON who rose above Cooney to head into the net.
City looked to get back on level terms immediately with Inglis threading a ball through for McGrath but with just the keeper to beat, he prodded the ball past the far post.
The travelling support would have their heads in their hands on 21 minutes as City spurned a glorious opportunity to go level. A poor kickout from home keeper Daniel Rae landed straight to the feet of McGrath who somehow fired over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
They weren’t left to rue that missed chance for long as BOTTI BIABI restored parity midway through the half. A low cross by Spark into the danger area was flicked on by McGrath into the path of Biabi who converted from close range despite the best efforts of the keeper.
Four minutes before the break, there were huge appeals for a penalty when Scott was wrestled to the ground inside the box, but referee Gordon Seago waved away any claims.
Andy Kirk made a change at the break as ANTHONY MCDONALD replaced Michael McArthur in the middle of the park and it was a change that paid dividends immediately just a couple of minutes into the second half.
McDonald attempted to play a ball through for McGrath but the ball rebounded off the heel of the City attacker back to McDonald who steadied himself before lashing an unstoppable strike past Rae from 20 yards to put City ahead.
Ten minutes into the second half, Biabi laid the ball off for Inglis on the edge of the box but his powerful low strike took a deflection for a corner.
City kept pushing for a third goal to put the game out of sight and they should have had it after 70 minutes. Some great skill down the left hand side from Biabi resulted in him crossing a low ball into the box where Scott was denied by the keeper at the back post and the ball rebounded out to McGrath who couldn’t quite sort his feet out to convert.
Seven minutes from time, Loudon found fellow substitute Northcott with a through ball and although he managed to take the ball past the keeper, he overran the ball which went out of play for a goal kick.
City held out for the crucial 3 points and although Buckie netted another late winner elsewhere against Formartine, it did little to dampen the spirits of City players and supporters who will believe in achieving positive results in the remaining two matches to clinch the title.