Match Report - By Steven Mew
For the second consecutive season, Brechin were knocked out of the Highland League Cup at the semi-final stage after 10-man City went down narrowly to Fraserburgh yesterday afternoon.
It was a game in which the home side had much of the possession, but struggled to click in the final third whilst City Manager Andy Kirk was aggrieved with the decision to issue a second yellow card to skipper Euan Spark early in the second half which left City with an uphill battle.
Kirk made 2 changes to the side following the late win over Banks O’ Dee in midweek. Ewan Murray and Liam Duell came into the side for Marc Scott and the suspended Lewis Martin.
City were first to threaten after 5 minutes when MacLeod took down a long ball from McHattie and he played a low pass to the edge of the box for Moreland who saw his strike deflected over for a corner. The corner was played short to Ferguson who saw his dinked effort land on the roof of the net.
At the other end, Lenny Wilson did superbly well to rush off his line and provide an unorthodox diving header on the edge of his box to deny Sargent and shortly after, Davidson dragged a shot wide for the Broch.
On the half hour mark, MacLeod showed some great feet on the corner of the box before firing straight at Barbour in the visitors goal.
Despite City having most of the play, it was the visitors who took the lead in the 37th minute. Barbour played a ball down the left for Cowie who provided a low cross into the box for LOGAN WATT who finished from 10 yards.
Just before the break, a cross was cleared only as far as Greg Buchan on the edge of the box and he hooked a volley wide of the post.
Five minutes into the second half, City were dealt a blow when skipper Euan Spark was given a second booking for what appeared to be a legitimate shoulder barge with Sargent just outside the box. The resulting free kick was smashed high and wide by Buchan.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, City rallied and pulled themselves back level five minutes later. A short corner found its way to FRASER MACLEOD inside the box and although he saw his initial shot blocked, he was quick to react and fire into the corner with the aid of a deflection.
Immediately after the goal, Manager Andy Kirk freshened things up in the attacking areas as Marc Scott replaced Liam Duell.
The home side were very nearly ahead just 3 minutes later. MacLeod flighted a fine ball down the right for McGrath who advanced with the ball before firing a shot just inches wide of the far post.
Back came Fraserburgh and RYAN SARGENT flashed a shot wide following a defensive error but he was not to be denied a minute later. Watt dispossessed Murray in midfield and played a fine ball into the path of Sargent who bore down on goal before providing an angled strike into the corner of the net.
Things didn’t get any better for City midway through the half as Kevin McHattie, who had taken over the captains armband from Euan Spark, hobbled off to be replaced by Cruickshank.
With quarter of an hour remaining, a long ball forward sent Sargent in behind the defence however Wilson did supremely well to rush off his line and intercept just outside the box.
Shortly after, the tenacious Cruickshank did well to get back and block a shot from Buchan and Sargent had the ball in the net a minute later, but the goal was chalked off for offside.
City pushed bodies forward in the closing minutes, including Hamish Thomson as an auxiliary striker but they were unable to force an equaliser to take the game to penalties.
With a match at home to Inverurie Locos coming up on Wednesday evening, City have the opportunity to bounce back quickly as full focus returns to retaining the Highland League title.