Brechin City 3, Peterhead 1
BRECHIN City made it 12 goals in three encounters with Peterhead this season, but the contrast in performance between first half and second was the main talking point.
Jim Weir conceded that his side never turned up for the first 45 minutes, only to demolish their opponents in the second.
Gery McLaughlan and Rory McAllister wiped out two thirds of the spine of City’s side. Mark Archdeacon started up front with David McKenna, new signing Danny McKay having to make do with a place on the bench.
Ten minutes into the game Peterhead were denied by Craig Nelson’s first heroics of the afternoon.
The goalkeeper first of all blocked Ryan Strachan’s well-struck drive, before scrambling to his feet to parry Dennis Wyness’ effort from the rebound for a corner.
Brechin’s first real threat on the visitors’ goal came about quarter of an hour in. Goalkeeper Jon Bateman was forced to punch clear from a Janczyk corner, under pressure from Davie White and Dougie Hill.
There was almost calamity for Gary Fusco, who was short with a headed back pass, which stuck on the heavy ground, allowing Daniel Moore a clear run at goal. However, Craig Nelson was, once again, more than equal to the task.
At this stage it was really no surprise when Peterhead went in front. Ryan Strachan found space inside the penalty area and buried a decent effort beyond the outstretched arms of Nelson.
City mustered an attack, but Janczyk’s well-hit effort at the near post was collected by Jon Bateman, who was brought to his knees.
City then lived dangerously once again. David White, in trying to head the ball back to his goalkeeper, only succeeded in hitting his own crossbar and thankfully Strachan only managed to knock the ball over the bar from the rebound.
Jim Weir was in dazzling form at half-time. Although the “Brechiner” wasn’t actually given access to his half-time talk, the contrast in his side’s performance in the second period was phenomenal.
So the manager said something right. Actions speak louder than words and he also hooked skipper Janczyk and Archdeacon and brought on Jamie Redman and Danny McKay.
McKay’s impact was immediate. First of all, the big striker had an effort charged down by Neil McVittie.
He then won his side a free-kick as he tore Stuart Smith apart and was brought down. City were beginning to look like their usual selves and Ewan Moyes’ header was held at his near post by Jon Bateman, follwing Kevin Byers’ free-kick.
McKay was at it again as he burst past Strachan in the right flank and was pulled back, with the Peterhead man having his name taken.
In the 52nd minute Brechin got the all important equaliser and it was a beautifully-contrived effort. Byers’ cross from the left was headed back across the face of goal by Molloy and Davie McKenna timed his run to perfection to poke the ball home.
Soon afterwards City went close to taking the lead, McKay won a corner and Byers’ flag kick was headed against the bar by Dougie Hill.
Redman almost broke his scoring duck when he first fired narrowly past after getting on the end of a lovely weighted pass from McKenna. The midfielder followed that up seconds later by screaming just wide from a Byers through ball.
Paul McLean was unfortunate to have a caution for a challenge on Moore. It was the defender’s first offence of the game and no warning was given - which was to prove pivotal as the game wore on.
Bateman then excelled as he held Byers’ excellent effort from the edge of the box.
City should have gone in front after McLean pushed forward to thread a great ball into the path of Fusco, but the midfielder shot over from inside the box.
City were piling forward now and their relentless pressure paid off in the 70th minute, with a goal of real quality.
Again McLean tore down the right flank and sent a lovely cross into the box. Davie McKenna’s positional sense was immaculate as he picked a header which he placed into Bateman’s bottom left-hand corner. Moments later the impressive Byers made space for himself on the edge of the Peterhead box, but his left fot drive was held by Bateman.
Peterhead introduced Gethins and McDonald for Wyness and Smith.
Paul McLean was the victim of a very harsh second yellow card, which saw him sent off for a challenge on Peterhead’s Stirling Smith in the 77th minute. The challenge didn’t even look life a foul, yet a free-kick was awarded and a very unfortunate player sent off.
City introduced Andy Cook for Davie McKenna as a result of the second yellow card.
Bateman then produced his best save of the game after Molloy burst through and attempted to chip him. The goalkeeper jumped to acrobatically tip the ball over the bar.
Having totally dominated the second half, Brechin were thrown off balance by McLean’s second yellow card and Craig Nelson once again had to produce a great save to deny Stuart Smith.
However, two minutes from time, Jamie Redman was on hand to tap home his first goal in a City jersey after excellent approach work once again from Kevin Byers.
Nelson was oustanding for Brechin, as was McLean up until he was sent off!
McKenna and McKay linked up well together in the second period and Redman had his best game thus far in the red man’s jersey!
Credit also to the dozen or so City fans who spent Saturday morning spiking the park to get past a pitch inspection and playable. Their rewards was the best of all - a City win.
Brechin City - Nelson, McLean, Hill, White, Moyes, Janczyk (Redman), Byers, Molloy, Fusco, Archdeacon (McKay) and McKenna (Cook).
Peterhead - Bateman, Donald, Stirling Smith, Stuart Smith, Scott Ross, McVitie, Sharp, David Ross, Strachan, Wyness (Gethins) and Moore (MacDonald).
Subs Not Used: Jarvie, Emslie, Nicholas Clark.