Match Report - By Eoin McNicol
City exited the Scottish Cup on Saturday afternoon as Spartans came out on top in miserable weather conditions at the Carnegie Fuels Stadium at Glebe Park.
A late goal from Hamish Thomson cut the deficit in half for the final ten minutes but it was not enough for 10-man City to get back level after Euan Spark was shown a straight red card shortly after the goal.
After over 3 weeks without a game, Andy Kirk made one change to his previous lineup against Inverurie Loco Works on 4th October which saw Grady McGrath come in for Liam Duell up top.
City showed their attacking intent in the first minute as Lewis Martin played Marc Scott down the right before cutting inside and getting a shot off, but Spartans goalkeeper Jacques Heraghty gathered into his body.
In the opening 10 minutes, Spartans were playing their football down the wings as they fired crosses into the box early on, but the Brechin back line dealt with them all.
Quarter of an hour in, Cameron Russell slid in Jamie Dishington down the right side of the box before he fired a shot towards the near post, but Hamish Thomson stood strong to block the powerful shot with his head.
In the 20th minute, Marc Scott managed to whip in two crosses in quick succession from the right into Grady McGrath who lurked at the near post, with the second cross winning a corner. McGrath took the resulting corner but it was out for a goal kick after going through everyone in the box.
Just before the half hour mark, Fraser MacLeod took on the Spartans defence as he ran towards goal before laying off McGrath at the near post who smashed high at the keeper. Heraghty showed quick reactions to make the save above his head but was unable to hold it in the wet conditions.
Three minutes later, a poorly timed sliding challenge from Seth Patrick gave Spartans a dangerous free kick from wide right. The set piece was whipped into the back post to meet Blair Henderson who headed goalward, but the strikers' effort was saved before a goalmouth scramble was eventually cleared by City.
Spencer Moreland had a shot blocked 10 minutes before the break after receiving a cut back from Marc Scott inside the box.
Four minutes before the break, Ryan Ferguson cut inside from the right before a delightful nutmeg through his opponents legs. Ferguson’s cross-cum-shot was cleared by the Spartans backline as far as Euan Spark who attempted a hopeful effort from long range. Sparky's attempt was blocked by the foot of Seth Patrick before the defender tried his second long shot in quick succession, but once again Spark was unable to guide his shot goalward.
On the stroke of half time, Hamish Thomson played a perfectly weighted through ball down the left to Ewan Murray before he whipped a cross in towards Marc Scott, however it was too close to the keeper who was able to gather.
Spartans took the lead just 3 minutes into the second half through BRADLEY WHYTE who put his laces through the ball as he smashed into the left of City’s net from close range.
City fashioned themselves an opportunity to equalise just 2 minutes later as the ball fell in front of McGrath at the near post, but the striker couldn't connect with it as he lashed at the ball as it came down from height.
McGrath had another chance just a minute later down the left as he tried to chip the keeper who came out to tighten the angle, but he failed to get the height on his shot as Jacques Heraghty held.
Lenny Wilson produced a great save from close range on the hour mark to deny Cameron Russell at his near post. The resulting corner found Jamie Dishington in the middle of the box but his shot was deflected wide of the goal by Thomson and out for another corner which eventually led to a City goal kick after Rhys Armstrong’s shot was wide.
In the 64th minute, Spartans doubled their advantage through an unmarked MICHAEL ALLAN at the back post as the fullback tapped home with ease from a corner.
Twelve minutes from time, a Grady McGrath shot from outside the box was deflected over the bar for a corner which came to nothing as City searched for a way back into the game.
Just a minute later, Euan Spark was pushed over just outside the right side of the box and Brechin were awarded a free kick. Grady McGrath whipped in the set piece towards the back post which found the head of HAMISH THOMSON who guided his header into the back of the net to reduce the deficit.
However just a few minutes later Euan Spark was shown a straight red card after denying the Spartans a goalscoring opportunity on the edge of the box. The free kick rattled the post and across goal before Spartans substitute Gavin Morrison put in a rash challenge which led to tempers flaring late on.
It was a nail biting end to the match for both sides with Spartans hanging on to their narrow lead and 10-men City fighting hard for an equaliser. The referee waved away stoppage time claims for a Brechin penalty as Liam Duell was bundled down just inside the box.
This came just before City won a free kick on the very edge of the box from wide, which the Spartans backline was able to head clear to ensure the Edinburgh outfit progressed.
For the first time in a month, City will return to Highland League action as we travel up north to face Deveronvale at Princess Royal Park next Saturday, with a 2pm kick-off.