BRECHIN City were on the receiving end of a four-one roasting at the hands of injury-hit Forfar Athletic at Station Park on Saturday.
The reds were left in daze at three-nil down by half-time and, although they pulled a goal back early in the second period, they were no match for the rejuvenated Loons on the day and were well beaten come the final whistle.
Manager Jim Weir admitted his side had not come up to scratch.
“We started fairly well but lost terrible goals,” he commented.
“We looked punchless and toothless but there was nothing between the teams and Forfar didn’t have to do anything for their there goals by half-time.
“It is tough to watch and I can understand our supporters’ frustrations.
“I still believe we have individuals in the dressing room who are worthy of this football club but this season has been a major disappointment and we find ourselves in a position we did not set out to be in.”
The defeat, coming on the heels of a two-each draw at East Fife in midweek (see page 31), leaves City in sixth place in the Scottish second division. Any hopes of reaching a promotion play-off spot are fast receding, and, indeed, further dips in form could yet see them plunge into the battle to avoid the drop into division three.
Brechin are currently seven points clear of improving Stirling Albion with eight games to play and the bid to remain a second division force is very much in their own hands as yet.
But, they will need to play an awfully lot better than they did at Station Park on Saturday.
The defence looked jittery while the midfield men struggled to find any fluency, with the result chances for the front players were few and far between.
Indeed, with Forfar not faring much better in the opening quarter-hour it looked as if the latest derby duel would turn out to be a bit of a yawn for the fans.
Thankfully, the game burst into life in the 20th minute, but not the way City would have wanted it.
Forfar’s top man, Nicky Low, an on-loan signing from Aberdeen, teased his way into a crossing position on the left and the ball was perfect for Martyn Fotheringham, not the biggest played on the field, to somehow get enough on it to head-flick wide of Nelson and into the corner of the net.
Twelve minutes later, and the Brechin custodian was caught out big time. He, like the bulk of the fans, expected a cross when Low set up a free-kick wide right, after Hilson had been tugged back just outside the area.
But Low fancied his chances and went for goal, the ball ending up in the back of the net despite Nelson’s late bid to get his hands on it.
Hilson was inches away from making it three as Forfar began to expose gaping holes in the Brechin defence.
And, it was no surprise when, two minutes from the break, they did go further in front, ex-Brechin City midfielder Kevin Byres lobbing his marker before smashing a great shot past Nelson from just inside the box.
The game looked done and dusted at that stage, but City, give them their due, hit back quickly after the break.
With Jim Lister on for Davis McKenna, Scott Buist ventured forward to get into the action for a free-kick wide right. And, the centre-back did not disappoint, rising high to pick his spot with a great headed effort which gave Paterson in the Forfar goal no chance.
Could the come-back be on? Not really. Forfar quicky took the game by the scruff of the neck again, and it was the Brechin defenders who were at full stretch to keep them at bay for the remainder of the second period.
The clinching fourth goal came from the penalty spot after Nicky Low had ben upended just as he had tricked his way into the area, Martyn Fotherinham sending Craig Nelson the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Forfar had further chances to embarrass City before the end, but four-one was a big enough drubbing, and one that the reds will be keen to get out of the system as quickly as possible.
The ideal opportunity to bounce back comes in the form of two home games in quick succession - Albion Rovers and East Fife visitors to the Glebe in the coming two Saturdays.