Brechin City, 2
Brechin City travelled to Stair Park on the back of 3-2 victory over local rivals, Arbroath (see page 23), writes Amanda Taylor.
Since City last faced Stranraer, in October, Stephen Aitken has taken over at the helm and their performance level has improved greatly, with a recent win against second-placed Alloa amongst their results.
City started the match strongly, with Andy Jackson forcing a save from Stranraer ‘keeper David Mitchell in the sixth minute.
Stranraer could have shocked Brechin a minute later, but Christopher Aitken’s shot never troubled Michael Andrews as it went wide of the mark.
City weren’t to be denied and in the 11th minute they were awarded a penalty. Stranraer’s ‘keeper upended Jackson, and referee Des Roache was left with no option but to award a spot kick.
ALAN TROUTEN stepped up to take the spot kick, and given his recent form in front of goal, there was never any doubt that he would score.
Derek Carcary had a chance to double City’s lead in the 20th minute, but again Mitchell was more than a match for the City attack as he pushed the ball round the post and out for a corner.
Carcary sent the resulting flag kick into the danger area, but Armand One, who returned to the Stranraer side after illness, was on hand to clear the danger.
Ryan Borris had a couple of chances to put Stranraer back level, but his first shot in the 32nd minute was caught by Andrew, and his second attempt a minute later cleared the crossbar.
Kurtis Byrne, whose loan spell at City came to an end on December 29, had a chance in the 34th minute, but his effort was wide of the mark.
Byrne had another chance in the 42nd minute to make his last appearance for City a memorable one, but his effort from the left hand side of the penalty area was saved by Mitchell.
Half-time: Stranraer, 0; Brechin City, 1.
Stranraer had a chance to pull level early in the second half when Borris had a volley attempt in the 48th minute, but he was unable to control the shot and it went sailing past the post.
CARCARY had a chance for City in the 61st minute, but his attempt went wide. However, just one minute later he made up for it when his left footed effort from an Andy Jackson cross sailed past Mitchell and into the back of the net.
Sean Winter had a chance to pull back a goal for the home side in the 76th minute, but his headed effort sailed over the bar.
Winter was denied again just one minute later, when his effort was saved by the feet of Andrews in the City goal.
That was to be the last real effort for Stranraer, as Brechin eased to another victory, ensuring they maintained their fourth place position in the league.
Stranraer: Mitchell; Gallagher; McKeown; Dunlop; MacGregor; Winter; Phinn (Kinnaird 63); Aitken; Borris; One (Moore 63); Malcolm (Wright 87). Substitutes not used: Cadwell and Love. Booked: MacGregor and Phinn.
Brechin: Andrews; McLauchlan; Hay; Moyes; McLean; Trouten (J Stewart 24); Fusco; Molloy; Carcary (Dalziel 82); Jackson (McKenna 90+1); Byrne. Substitutes not used: Nelson and Brown. Booked: none
Speaking after the match, Brechin City manager Ray McKinnon said: “It just keeps our momentum going. The players have been playing really well recently.
“They have been excellent and they are showing a real consistency.”
Stiker Kurtis Byrne ended his City career on Saturday, December 29, as his loan spell with the club had come to an end.
After the 2-0 victory against Stranraer, Byrne tweeted: “Great last game for Brechin really enjoyed my time here. Great bunch of lads, hope they go on and get promotion fans were good too.”
During his stint with City, Byrne made 12 appearances, plus one substitute appearance, and scored three goals.
With their trip to Stranraer out of the way, City will be focusing their attention on the upcoming derby clash with Forfar which takes place at Station Park today (Wednesday, January 2).
City currently sit fourth in the league with 25 points, just one point behind third place Forfar, although City do have a game in hand.
The last time the two sides met, Brechin ran out 4-1 winners, and Ray McKinnon’s side will be hoping for a similar result.
A win on the day will be enough to but Brechin ahead of Forfar in the table.