Brechin City 3, Alloa Athletic 2
BRECHIN City scored three of the best goals you’re likely to see at any level of the game anywhere this season.
But they were made to fight for all three points by a very determined Alloa side who find themselves in a relegation battle at the other end of the table
Hardly surprisingly, Jim Weir stuck with exactly the same eleven who had started against Dumbarton a few days previous and the bench also remained unchanged.
Brechin enjoyed an incredible start in the fourth minute, with a candidate for goal of the decade, let alone goal of the season. Rory McAllister chested down a ball fully 30 yards out onto his right foot and struck a tremendous volley that screamed into Jamie Ewings’ top right-hand corner.
City went two up after 14 minutes. This time the determination of Craig Molloy was the telling factor. The midfield player picked up the ball 30 yards from goal and drove at the visitors’ back four.
He rolled a pass into the feet of David McKenna and took a return in his stride, before curling the ball over the advancing Ewings.
Having given themselves a cushion less than a quarter into the game, City allowed their opponents a lifeline, as they stopped playing for a spell.
David McLune tested Craig Nelson and then Scott Walker headed a James Bloom corner against the post, as the Wasps tried to get back into the match.
The Alloa bench were incensed when Walker and Gibson went down inside the City box, but referee Madden waved away their penalty claims.
Alloa retained possession the better of the two sides for the remainder of the first half and their determination was rewarded five minutes from the interval when the City rearguard failed to clear their lines and Jim Lister volleyed home off the inside of Craig Nelson’s left-hand post.
That left City with a slender of half-time leads that had looked so much more comfortable early on.
Brechin upped their game a little after the interval and Ewan Moyes headed just wide of the target from Neil Janczyk’s corner.
In the 59th minute, Jamie Ewings came to his side’s rescue with an excellent point-blank save to deny Kevin Byers and turn his drive for a corner.
The midfielder was narrowly unable to divert the ball beyond the outstretched arm of the goalkeeper.
Rory McAllister was given some harsh treatment by the Wasps defenders and Kevin Motion became the first booking of the game for a challenge on the City striker.
Motion was followed into the ref’s notebook soon after by City’s Jamie Redman for a tackle on Dunlop.
In the 60th minute, Billy Gibson was next to bring down McAllister as the striker turned away from him, the Alloa midfield player picking up a caution for his trouble.
Alloa hit back once more and Craig Nelson had to dive full-length to push away Michale McGowan’s well struck volley from the right hand side of the penalty area.
At the other end, McAllister went around the goalkeeper, but was forced wide by Ewings and the Alloa stopper recovered to push the City marksman’s effort for a corner.
Brechin were almost made to pay for needlessly giving away possession in the last third of the field and Andy Scott picked up the loose ball, but was denied by Craig Nelson.
However, another goal of real quality seemed to have City home and almost dry after 78 minutes.
Once again great determination from McAllister saw him downed a couple of yards outside the Alloa penalty area by Scott Walker, who was fortunate to escape a booking. Skipper Neil Janczyk stepped up to curl a well-measured left-foot effort around the wall and into the goalkeeper’s bottom left-hand corner.
Alloa still refused to give in and, two minutes into injury time, referee Madden was, once again, the centre of attention when he gave a penalty to the Weeps when he adjudged that Moyes had brought down Stuart Noble, despite the fact both players were heading well away from goal.
Michael McGowan struck the penalty and Craig Nelson was unfortunate, having got one hand to the ball, to see it enter the net.
Best for Brechin were Gerry McLauchlan, Craig Molloy and Rory McAllister
City assistant manager Kevin McGowne praised his side’s character after the final whistle.
“It was a strange game and I thought we started well enough. In the first 15 to 20 minutes of the game we were excellent and played some lovely football.
“We got a great couple of goals and we justified being two-nil up at that stage. However, credit to Alloa, who I think are in a false position. They came back at us and made us battle all the way for the points.
“I thought we got a ‘wee’ reaction the start of the second half and we only looked comfortable when we eventually got the third goal.
“We never gave up, however, and we deserve credit for working hard.
That’s what we have got from this squad of players - hard work and character in abundance.
“I thought we did just about enough to win the game. It’s been tough for these boys on the back of the St Johnstone game.
“We followed that up with a great performance against Dumbarton and last midweek we got a performance that showed us a lot about our players.
“Even when we weren’t at our best, they are prepared to dig in and work hard for us. That is a sign of good professionals which we have here and I thought we fully justified the three points.
“The one thing you do get from the Redmans, Molloys and McKennas is everything they have got. The back four were under pressure for some long periods in the game and we had a good solidity about us for much of that period.
“Rory led the line well. He scored a belter of a goal and was always trying to get an effort in on goal, which we encourage him to do.
“As for the penalty, Ewan Moyes just got caught the wrong side of him and the boy has been cute enough just to go down. I have no argument with that.
“We want to keep collecting as many points as possible. It wouldn’t matter if we were in the play-offs with five or six games to go, because good results breed confidence and winning is a habit. We just have to keep plugging away.”
Brechin City - Nelson, Cook, McBain, McLauchlan, Moyes, Redman, Molloy, Janczyk (Fusco), Byers (Megginson), McAllister and McKenna (McKay).
Alloa Athletic - Ewings, McClune (Motion), Dunlop, Brown, Walker, McGowan, Scott, Gibson, Bloom (McDonald), Lister (Pitman) and Noble.