City all but safe from the drop

Rory McKenzie passes the ball to strike partner Jim Lister to pull a goal back for Brechin.

Rory McKenzie passes the ball to strike partner Jim Lister to pull a goal back for Brechin.

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BRECHIN City suffered another defeat on the road at the weekend, but are within touching distance of securing their Scottish second division status for another campaign.

Although mathematically City can still fall to second bottom spot in the division, the likelihood of that happening is slim, for the two teams immediately below them in the table - Forfar Athletic and Albion Rovers - face each other this coming Saturday.

The same day, Brechin are at home to the division’s champions, Cowdenbeath having clinched the title at home to Forfar Athletic on Saturday past, on the same day the reds were going down by the odd goal in three at Stenhousemuir.

A victory over the Blue Brazil, or even a draw, and City will be able to relax going into their final match of the current campaign away to Dumbarton on Saturday, May 5.

Certainly, while falling short of the form required to play a part in promotion play-off games this season, the reds are still good enough to hold their own in the second division.

After Saturday’s two-one defeat at Ochilview, assistant manager Kevin McGowne said: “It’s absolutely vital that this club stays in the second division and we’ll be rallying the players at training to make sure that they are up for the challenge.

“It was another hugely disappointing result on Saturday and again we gave away to bad goals, which mirrors just how are season has gone.

“Collectively, as a team, we’ve not defended well throughout the season and the goals we gave away against Stenhousemuir were an example of that.”

City found themselves a goal down in the 17th minute when Iain Thomson was well placed to volley home from a Kevin McKinlay cross into the centre.

City struggled to find a way into the game, and had it not been for some wasteful finishing they could have been further behind.

Andy Rodgers twice went close but failed to test visiting keeper Craig Nelson.

The visitors’ best chance of the half fell to Rory McKenzie, who could only fire over the crossbar.

Grant Anderson doubled the home advantage on the hour mark, poking the ball over the line following a scramble in the area.

Brechin City did succeed in pulling a goal back in the 82nd minute, James Lister collecting a McKenzie pass before finishing from close range.

But it wasn’t enough to salvage even a point from the outing, leaving City looking for one more good result to make absolutely sure of their second division status for next season.

Stenhousemuir - Brown, Nicky Devlin, Mike Devlin, McMillan, McKinlay, Ferguson, Paton, Iain Thomson, Grant Anderson (Dickson), Kean and Rodgers.

Brechin City - Nelson, Fusco, Buist, Moyes, Dunlop, Crawford (Lister), Molloy, Brady, Hodge, McKenna (Carcary) and McKenzie (King). Subs Not Used: Scott, Lindsay.

Referee - Des Roache; crowd - 541.