City secure play-off place

Darren Taylor, Ray McKinnon and Grant Johnson.

Darren Taylor, Ray McKinnon and Grant Johnson.

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Brechin City secured their place in this season’s play-off spots with a draw against Stranraer last night (Tuesday), writes Amanda Taylor.

City started the match strongly, forcing two early corners, but Stranraer dealt with the pressure well and, after just 17 minutes, the visitors found themselves with a great opportunity when Armand One turned in the box and fired a low shot, which Craig Nelson was able to push away from danger.

City reacted well to the goal threat, and almost took the lead just a minute later when Andy Jackson had a spectacular effort on goal saved. Paul McLean launched the ball to the City striker from a throw-in, and Jackson volleyed the ball towards the goal, but Stranraer ‘keeper David Mitchell was able to push it over the bar.

Ryan Ferguson almost gave City the lead in the 22nd minute after he latched on to an Alan Trouten pass, but his shot was saved by Mitchell.

Ewan Moyes, who returned to the side after being out with an injury, seen his header go just over the bar in the 34th minute.

It was all City in the second half, however, with Nelson being called in to action in the 37th minute when Mick Dunlop shot from close range, and just minutes later he was on hand to deny One from long range.

Stranraer took the lead in the dying minutes of the first half, after Sean Winter’s cross deflected into One’s path by Gerry McLauchlan. The striker turned in to the box before firing home a right footed shot into the top corner.

Half-time: Brechin City, 0; Stranraer, 1.

David McKenna replaced Johnny Brown at half time, and again he proved to have a great affect on the match, when he set up Jackson with a chance in the 47th minute. McKenna crossed the ball in, but Jackson’s header was just over.

Two minutes later, Brechin had to be quick to deny Stranraer. Nelson raced out to save from Malcolm, but the ball fell to Lloyd Kinnaird but Moyes was on hand to head his drive off the line.

City found their equaliser in the 57th minute after Johnny Brown’s cross found Jackson in the box. The striker made no mistake with his shot, and it sailed past Mitchell.

Trouten had a chance to extend their lead in the 60th minute, but his shot was just wide of the target.

Ferguson had a chance to put City in the lead in the 73 minute, but his effort was straight at the ‘keeper.

City took the lead in the ten minutes later, when Jackson’s effort rattled the bar, but Trouten was on hand to head home.

Stranraer were determined not to let City have the final say, and in the 86th minute they pulled level after Sean Malcolm netted from the tightest of angles.

Speaking after the match, manager Ray McKinnon said: “It was a tough game again. I thought Stranraer worked very hard. They were desperate for a point, or points and it was a very competitive game.

“I’m delighted, but disappointed. Delighted to come back from a goal down to go 2-1 up but a little bit disappointed the guys never kept the ascendancy for long. But a point - it was all we needed to get in to the play-offs.

“Its been a remarkable achievement for the guys to get here and some of them are out on their feet. So I think from now until the play-offs its about looking after them and making sure they are tip-top for the play-offs.

“Moyes was a great bonus for tonight. I thought he was fantastic tonight. He has been out for about four weeks and he was outstanding - that’s a captain for you.”