Back in the race for a promotion play-off spot

Rory McKenzie is congratulated by Paul McManus and Craig Molloy after opening the scoring for Brechin.
Rory McKenzie is congratulated by Paul McManus and Craig Molloy after opening the scoring for Brechin.

Arbroath 2, Brechin City 3

BRECHIN City are very much back in the race for a promotion play-off spot after their thrilling three-two victory over Arboath at Gayfield on Saturday.

Paul McManus nicks the ball out of the keepers hands before calmly slotting home Brechin's second of the day.

Paul McManus nicks the ball out of the keepers hands before calmly slotting home Brechin's second of the day.

The result takes the reds on to the 40-point mark for the season and, more importantly, just two behind the three teams immediately above them in the league, including current fourth-placed side Stenhousemuir.

And, with a trip to Ochilview among the five games City have still to play, their destiny is almost back in their own hands.

This coming Saturday they are at home to basement club Stirling Albion, with a trip to Airdrie United, another side in the promotion play-off hunt, scheduled for a week on Saturday.

Then comes what could be that all-important trip to Stenhousemuir on Saturday, April 21.

Current league leaders, Cowdenbeath come to Brechin on Saturday, April 28, with the season coming to a conclusion on Saturday, May 5 with a trip to Dumbarton - unless City can grab that fourth spot in the table.

If they can repeat the performance against the Lichties then there is no reason why City can’t be in there pitching in the weeks ahead.

The form had been patchy, to say the least, ahead of Saturday’s joust at Gayfield, but City were certainly worth their derby success.

The result cheered manager Jim Weir up no end.

“I am delighted. I thought we really deserved the win.

“If we can get more performances like we got on Saturday we might have something to look forward to.

“We have never given up and I am trying to be positive and to make sure the players remain positive.

“We have five cup finals to play, although we are not completely out of the mire at the other end.

“The important thing is that we build on this performance.”

With the sun shining over Gayfield, Brechin came out battling and took the lead in five minutes.

A long ball from Craig Molloy found Rory McKenzie on the edge of the box and the City man took the opportunity to slot the ball into the top left corner.

The first of many fouls crept in on seven minutes when Gavin Swankie clobbered McKenzie for a free kick in front of the goal which went into touch.

At the 12 minute mark, another Brechin attempt went wide, and seconds later Michael Dunlop unloaded a long ball to Paul McManus which Hill was able to intercept.

A brave response by Arbroath saw a Collin Samuel volley gathered up Brechin ‘keeper Craig Nelson who shipped it straight back out, catching Arbroath on the hop.

McManus found himself on the receiving end and was able to lure Hill out of position to pop the ball into the back of the net to make it two-nil.

Arbroath seemed to shake the dust off here and applied some pressure.

Brian Kerr fired a shot deep into Brechin territory for Swankie, but Moyes reacted first to put it out.

The Lichties kept up the pressure and reduced the leeway in the 20th minute. Collin Samuel went down in a mass of black and white bodies for a penalty which hitman Steven Doris calmly placed beyond the ‘keeper’s reach.

Two minutes later Moyes and Doris were led from the pitch for treatment after a particularly painful looking clash of heads, but both returned to duty none the worse for wear.

A Beau Busch pass found Samuel who gave Swankie a chance on goal, but the striker failed to equalise on the 25th minute.

McKenzie continued to cause problems, and on 29 minutes fired a shot straight at Hill which he caught and then dropped, allowing McKenna to charge in for a rebound which he narrowly missed.

Brechin maintained their presence in the Arbroath half, forcing two corners in the run up to half-time, which Arbroath managed to clear.

Arbroath started the second period promisingly, but McKenzie broke away and nearly repeated McManus’ goal as Hill came off his line, but was able to deflect this time.

Hill was tested again two minutes later when Hodge attempted a speculative punt, and again with a Brady corner which found the head of Moyes who was unable to turn it into a goal.

Arbroath rallied and Samuel and Sheerin both had chances on goal which were unfortunate not to make it past a strong Brechin defence.

Arbroath surged back en masse and Nelson scrabbled to punch away a Falkingham rocket for a corner.

In 58 minutes Doris again stepped up for a penalty after a Scott Buist hand ball, and things looked brighter for Arbroath as the scores levelled.

A Brechin defensive error gave Swankie an opportunity to score in 65 minutes, but with just the goalie to beat he mis-kicked and the ball went wide.

McManus retaliated for City and was able to sneak the ball over Hill for what was to prove the winner.

Arbroath’s misery was complete late in the game when Keith Gibson was sent off for what appeared to be a stamp on Molley.

Brechin City - Nelson, McLean, Buist, Moyes, Dunlop, McKenna (Fusco), Brady, Molloy, Hodge, McManus (Lister) and McKenzie (King).