Match Report - By Eoin McNicol
City took all 3 points down the road from Rothes yesterday afternoon despite being reduced to 10-men early on in the second half.
First half goals from Grady McGrath and Liam Duell were enough to see off Rothes despite City being a man down for the second half after Marc Scott was shown a second yellow.
Even with a man disadvantage, Brechin always looked in control and never looked in danger of letting their lead slip throughout the second half.
Andy Kirk named a more familiar starting eleven with the return of experienced faces into the squad. There were 6 changes from last weekend's cup win over Formartine United as Lenny Wilson, Euan Spark, Kevin McHattie, Marc Scott, Fraser Macleod and Grady McGrath all came back into starting lineup.
It was a physical start to the game, but the referee was letting things go early on. Just 7 minutes in, City played advantage after a foul on the edge of the box, with Ryan Ferguson trying his luck from range after seeing the keeper slightly off his line however his shot was over the bar.
In the 21st minute, GRADY MCGRATH opened the scoring with an excellent finish across goal after being teed up by Liam Duell. Duell did well initially to control a long ball forward from Lewis Martin, before putting it on a plate for McGrath who fired into the far bottom corner.
Just 2 minutes later, a hopeful long effort from Lewis Martin almost paid dividends as a deflection changed its direction towards goal, but the keeper was able to readjust and hold.
Rothes almost scored up the other end a minute later when Fraser Robertson’s bicycle kick was clawed round the post from Lenny Wilson, who got down well to stop the acrobatic effort.
Rothes looked most dangerous down the left with Liam McDade continually finding space to cross on the wing. Just over the half hour mark, Euan Spark put an end to a Rothes counterattack as he headed away a good cross from McDade, who was found in space after a lovely dummy from Fraser Robertson. Around the 38th minute, McDade whipped in a corner to the front post which found the head of Callum Hespell who headed downward, but his effort bounced just wide of the post.
City stepped it up a gear towards the end of the half, McGrath found space to shoot inside the box, forcing a low save from Sean McArthy who turned the shot away with a strong hand. Just moments later Brechin threatened again down the right wing as Marc Scott’s cross only just failed to find Duell running into the 6-yard box.
City doubled their advantage a minute before the break as LIAM DUELL was played in behind the Rothes backline before unselfishly squaring it to Grady McGrath. McGrath was denied his second of the game as his effort was blocked before falling favourably to Duell who passed the ball into an open net.
Just after the break, Duell showed his strength down the left as he shrugged off his man before drilling a cross into Marc Scott, but the cross was too powerful for Scott who couldn’t control the header.
Seven minutes into the second half, Marc Scott was sent for an early bath after being shown his second yellow card in quick succession for a challenge down City's right hand side.
On 54 minutes Ryan Ferguson and Grady McGrath combined with some nice attacking football before McGrath was dispossessed after running into Rothes defensive wall. Moments later, a City free kick from range found Euan Spark at the far post before Sparky’s cross-cum-shot looped back across goal and just wide.
Just before the hour mark, Charlie Macdonald allowed Liam Duell plenty space to run down the left after missing the ball. Duell did well to cut inside past two men but couldn’t get enough power behind his shot to test McCarthy in goal.
A minute later, McGrath was denied a one-on-one with the keeper after being pulled down just outside the box as he darted goalward, but the referee only showed yellow. McGrath smashed the set piece into the Rothes wall before collecting the rebound and attempting to cross into the box, but the ball in was deflected out for a corner.
Midway through the second half, a wide free kick taken by substitute Ewan Murray found the head of Spark, but his header was somehow kept out after a goal line scramble. Spark and Murray combined again 3 minutes later when Murray worked his way into the box from the right, but he failed to get a shot off. The substitute played the ball back to Spark on the edge of the box who side-footed a first-time effort over the bar.
Rothes nearly halved the deficit with 20 minutes to play, Charlie Macdonald’s shot from range looked to have beat Lenny Wilson off his line, but it was just wide of the mark to City’s relief.
With less than 15 minutes to play, the hosts looked for a way back into the game again as substitute Jake Thomson had a pop from distance, but it was never testing Wilson as it rolled into his hands. Brechin countered moments later as Duell slid in Murray who’s first time shot was blasted powerfully into the keeper's body.
Rothes were pressing for a goal late on, but City dealt with the attacks to see the game out. Lenny Wilson produced a big save in the 86th minute as he beat away a close-range header to earn his 3rd league clean sheet of the season.
It was a fiery finish to the game as City frustrated Rothes, with the referee showing numerous yellow cards towards the end.
A comfortable victory on the road for City despite the red card and next up is Inverurie Loco Works at home next week in the 2nd round of the Highland League Cup.
Other Results - Breedon Highland League
Banks O' Dee 1 Lossiemouth 1
Brora Rangers 1 Inverurie Locos 1
Buckie Thistle 3 Huntly 0
Clachnacuddin 2 Fraserburgh 6
Deveronvale 1 Forres Mechanics 1
Keith 2 Formartine United 3
Nairn County 4 Strathspey Thistle 1
Wick Academy 1 Turriff United 5