Match Report - By Steven Mew
City put in a professional performance to pick up all 3 points against Keith yesterday evening, which in turn ensured a final day shootout against Buckie Thistle at Victoria Park on Saturday.
City will travel to Moray knowing that they are just one win away from the Highland League title, whilst the Jags only require a point to clinch the crown.
Manager Andy Kirk made two changes from Saturday’s narrow win over Clachnacuddin as Jamie Bain and Anthony McDonald came in for Hamish Thomson and Kieran Inglis.
On a pleasant evening in Aberdeenshire, City were first to threaten after 6 minutes when the quick feet of McDonald took him past several Keith players but his effort was straight into the hands of Reid in goal.
Four minutes later, Euan Spark headed over from an in-swinging free kick from Bain and McHattie was next to come close when his deflected strike looped in the air and the keeper had to be alert to tip over the bar.
City kept plugging away in search of the opener with McGrath playing a pass through for Biabi but the ball took a wicked bobble off the surface just as he pulled the trigger and Reid gathered easily.
On the half-hour mark, City got the all-important opener. Biabi showed Yunus a clean pair of heels down the right hand side and his cut-back found FRASER MACLEOD on the edge of the box and the midfielder provided a tidy controlled finish into the net for his 7th goal of the season.
The visitors could have easily had a quickfire second. McDonald’s corner was punched away only as far as McGrath who nodded back into the danger area for Biabi to meet it, however his header was cleared off the line.
Five minutes before the break, McGrath received a pass from McHattie just inside the box and his shot on the turn flew inches past the post. Two minutes later, McGrath controlled well from a corner and forced a fine save from Reid at his near post, before McDonald sliced a volley wide.
On the stroke of half time, a rare foray up the park for the home side saw Elphinstone cross into the box for Tough but his header ended up over the bar.
Andy Kirk made a change at the break with Ewan Loudon replacing Botti Biabi and he nearly made a quick impact just 5 minutes into the second half as he fired into the side netting following a clever back-heel from McDonald.
On 55 minutes, the home side conjured up their best opportunity through Brechin-based Ewan Murray, with his powerful effort from 20 yards being well held by Wilson in the City goal.
Chances became few and far between for either side, with McHattie dragging a shot wide whilst Killoh also did likewise at the other end for the Maroons.
With 11 minutes remaining, City made sure of the 3 points as they doubled their lead. McGrath took advantage of some slack defending from Murray and squared the ball for EWAN LOUDON in front of goal and although he didn’t capitalise first time, he composed himself before firing a rasping low drive into the net from 10 yards to move onto 7 goals for the season.
Almost immediately after the restart, substitute Jordan Northcott got the better of the defender down the right hand side of the box but his volley from a tight angle just went wide.
City saw out the game to seal another three points and encouragingly, another clean sheet which means City have only conceded in 3 of the last 16 league matches.
The victory took City to within a single point of Buckie Thistle at the summit as the Highland League title goes down to an exciting and nail-biting final day at Victoria Park on Saturday.