Brechin City’s play-off celebrations were dented with a defeat to Stenhousemuir at Glebe Park on Saturday, writes Amanda Taylor.
City secured their place in this season’s play-offs after a 2-2 draw against Stranraer midweek, so there was little on the line for the home side.
Stenhousemuir, however, still have an outside chance of reaching the play-offs so it was unsurprising that the visitors arrived determined to grab all three points.
City had one eye on their play-off matches, with Johnny Brown, Ewan Moyes and Gary Fusco rested ahead of the clash against Alloa. Alan Trouten and Derek Carcary took their places on the bench as manager Ray McKinnon set out to prevent any injury issues impacting City’s bid for First division football.
It was the visitors who were quick off the mark, and took the lead after just eight minutes, when David Rowson fired home a fierce shot from the edge of the box, leaving Michael Andrews in the City goal no chance of saving it.
Brechin had a chance to pull level in the 20th minute when Ryan Stewart had a headed attempt, but his effort was just over the crossbar.
The visitors extended their lead in the 34th minute with another fine effort, this time from Jamie Reid. A clever little back heel from Rowson allowed the midfielder to unleash an unstoppable shot that blasted into the top corner.
Half-time: Brechin City 0; Stenhousemuir 2.
Brechin made a triple substitution 13 minutes into the second half, and it seemed to revitalise the side, with Gerry McLauchlan, Greg Cameron and David McKenna making way for Trouten, Ryan Ferguson and Carcary.
The move proved effective almost immediately, with City piling the pressure on Stenhousemuir. The pressure paid of in the 75th minute, when a Ferguson cross found Trouten in the box, and he wasted no time in burying the ball past Chris Smith, who could do nothing to stop it.
Despite City’s continued efforts to search for an equaliser, it was Stenhousemuir who came closest in the last 10 minutes, with Bryan Hodge going dangerously close. His 20 yard effort hit the base of the post before City finally cleared the danger.
Speaking after the match, Brechin City manager Ray McKinnon said: “I’m disappointed with the defeat as I want to win every game but the most important thing for us at this stage is to make sure we have our strongest team available for the play-offs.”
Mr McKinnon conceded that he was disappointed his side did not “make more of a fight” to try and get the equaliser. He added: “The players know that they are in the play-offs and it’s difficult to mentally motivate them when they’ve achieved their objective.