Forfar Athletic 2, Brechin City 1
BRECHIN has the game in the bag at Station Park last Tuesday evening and then proceeded to undo all their hard work by throwing it away in the last four minutes and into four minutes of injury time.
It was time referee Neil Watters managed to find, despite neither training having to put in much time during the entire 90 minutes.
As classic games between two local sides go, this one won’t be in the top 40; in fact it might fail to make the top 100.
However, it doesn’t get away from the fact that, at one-nil up with four minutes to go, all Brechin had to do was see the game out, keep possession and play with a degree of common sense. Sadly City were lacking on all three counts.
They defended deeper and deeper, allowing Chris Templeman ample opportunity to gangle his 6ft 5in frame through them.
It had all looked much brighter for City after Ewan Moyes gave his side the lead in 65 minutes.
The young defender timed his run to perfection to glance the ball home past the despairing Paul Gallacher in the home goal.
Up until the opening goal there had been little in the way of goalmouth action from either side, Paul Gallacher pulling off two comfortable first half saves from his opponents and Craig Nelson being called upon once at the other end to do likewise.
The first half was more of a cure for insomnia than total football. However, briefly the opening goal seemed to give City an edge.
It was fitting that Moyes, one of the youngest players on the pitch, netted the City goal.
The on-loan Hibernian defender was, once again, one of his side’s finest performers and, along with defensive pivot partner Gerry McLaughlan, the duo kept Templeman and co. at bay for much of the evening.
However, while the heart of the City defence looked secure, the same could not be said of how they defended in the wider areas and in midfield.
All too often both sides conceded possession too readily and both failed to create clear cut openings for their front players.
My notebook will be filled with an average of four to five pages of notes from any given game, but this one was struggling to reach two.
Perhaps what really killed Brechin’s chances first of all was not killing the game off after Moyes had given them that opportunity.
Rory McAllister had taken a knock and was replaced, and Jamie Redman was already sitting in the stand with an injury. However, McKay and fellow substitute McKenna both had opportunities to kill Forfar off.
What must be apparent to everyone at Glebe Park is the huge loss Barry Smith has been to this Brechin team.
The Dundee manager was not only a decent player, whether operating in midfield or defence, he was by far the best communicator on it and led by example time and time again, despite being in the veteran stage of his career. City lacked leadership on the park, something there manager admitted after the game.
While it would be great to report in detail of how former City player Chris Templeman secured victory for his side by first heading in an an equaliser and then cutting the City left-back area wide open to hand Ross Campbell a tap in, I am prevented from being more elaborate thanks to a Forfar Athletic director Alastair Donald.
Alastair needs to get one of his proof readers from his company, Astute, in to look at the sign on the edge of the building he was sitting in where it says stand it actually means you have to sit on your seat, so the people behind you can see the game in detail.
It’s hard to report on something you can’t see, especially when you consider it wasn’t foggy and we weren’t at Gayfield.
So Forfar picked up the first ‘derby’ win in the second division this season.
Talk of Brechin having one eye on the Saturday doesn’t deserve a mention at length, simply because Brechin had this game in the bag and then tossed it away through slackness and an inability to keep a high enough line up the park when defending in the latter stages of the game.
Neill Watters didn’t have too bad a game in the middle, but his adding on of over four minutes of stoppage time certainly suited the home side more than the visitors.
Forfar Athletic - Gallacher, Ross, Iain Campbell, McCulloch, Bolocheweckyj, Ross Campbell, Bishop, Martyn Fotheringham (Sellars), Mowat (Deasley), Templeman (Gibson) and Hilson.
Brechin City - Nelson,McLean, Cook, McLauchlan, Moyes, Janczyk (McKenna), Molloy, Fusco, Byers (McKay), McAllister (Kirkpatrick) and Megginson.
Referee Neil Watters; crowd - 625.