City struggling to hit form in league

Jim Lister challenges Mark Ridgers for the ball. (Picture by Derek Watt, Berchin).
Jim Lister challenges Mark Ridgers for the ball. (Picture by Derek Watt, Berchin).

Brechin City were hosts to East Fife on Saturday, but failed to follow-up their cup victory against Dumbarton the week before (writes Steven Rae).

Two first-half goals gave John Robertson’s men the victory, and that leaves Brechin just two points from the bottom of the league, with the two teams below them both having a game in hand.

The game couldn’t have started any worse for Brechin as they found themselves a goal down after just 30 seconds.

David McClune slipped at the edge of the box as he went to play the ball and Bobby Linn capitalised, taking the ball forward into the box and leaving Nelson helpless as he placed his shot low into the bottom of the net.

A minute later and Brechin were under pressure again, Ogleby taking the ball down the right wing and cutting it back to Wallace, whose shot went over the bar.

Brechin had their first real effort in the seventh minute when Brady played a pass to McKenna, who cut inside and struck a shot, but it flew well-wide of the target.

A minute later Park cut inside from the left for East Fife, rode two challenges, and hit a shot which skidded on the muddy surface, but Nelson managed to hold the ball.

City looked nervy and weren’t really settling into the game and there was a let-off for them in the 13th minute.

Nelson played a clearance from a back-pass which landed straight at the feet of Linn, who laid it off to Ogleby, whose shot hit the bar and went over, as Jim Weir screamed at the defence for the error.

McKenna had a header from a King cross in the 17th minute, but it was a comfortable save in the end for Ridgers.

City had a couple of further half-chances, but nothing clear-cut as they struggled to find their feet.

Captain Charlie King was trying to lead by example as he played a calm game up front.

East Fife doubled their advantage in the 23rd minute. Ogleby received the ball on the right wing, took it past McClune, and as Dunlop stood off him, he fired the ball into the bottom-left corner past Nelson.

In the 29th minute Brechin made a double substitution, with McClune and Fusco coming off for on-loan Hibs players Smith and Crawford.

In the 30th minute there was controversy as Brechin had a penalty claim. The ball was played into the box and, as Brechin tried to scramble the ball home, Cook slipped for East Fife and his body and then arm appeared to illegally deny City a goal as he lay on the ground.

Despite this, referee Charleston awarded East Fife a free-kick, which enraged the City players and bench. A minute later and the surface almost cost Brechin dearly again, Dunlop’s slip almost letting Wallace in, but the ball was scrambled clear.

City had two chances in two minutes before the break. Lister flicked the ball on to King who laid it off for Molloy, but the midfielder saw his shot go over the bar in the 39th minute.

A minute later Lister took the ball down the right and played it low across the goal, and McKenna slid in at the back post, but the ball just evaded him. Crawford hit a free-kick on the stroke of half time but his shot was well-wide, in what was a poor end to a poor half from Brechin.

It was East Fife who had the first effort of the second half, Ogleby’s shot in the 47th minute saved by the legs of Nelson.

Brechin had a golden opportunity in the 49th minute to pull a goal back when King’s corner was met at the back post by Jim Lister, his downward header going right across the face of goal and agonisingly past the other post.

Lister came close again in the 57th minute, his glancing header under pressure going wide of the right hand post. McKenna was next to have an effort saved for Brechin when his looping header from a King cross was held well by the East Fife keeper in the 67th minute.

McLean then played a cross into the box from the right in the 71st minute and another header, this time from Charlie King, came back off the crossbar. A minute later King was denied again, his effort following a corner cleared off the line by Ridgers, as Brechin pressed but couldn’t find the goal.

City made their final substitution of the game in the 73rd minute when Carcary came on for McKenna.

Park was booked for a high tackle in the 74th minute, and from the resulting free kick Brechin watched as another shot was scrambled off the line.

Carcary played the ball into the box in the 76th minute, and Charlie King met the ball well with his head, but it went just over the bar.

In the 78th minute, Lister headed the ball across the goal from a corner to the feet of Mick Dunlop, whose shot was saved by Ridgers.

The keeper played the ball quickly up the park for a counter attack and Ogleby laid the ball off to Park, who blasted the ball over the bar from 18 yards.

East Fife switched Cook for Ovenstone in the 83rd minute, and then brought Hislop on for Ogleby in the 87th minute. Hislop came close in the first minute of injury time when he was played in by Wallace, but his shot from the left hand side of the box went past the post.

Brechin’s final opportunity came in the final minute of injury time when McLean drove in from the right and hit a shot from the edge of the box but it sailed over the bar, summing up Brechin’s day as the referee blew for full time.

Brechin City - Nelson, McLean, Buist, Dunlop, McClune (Smith), Brady, Molloy, King, Fusco (Crawford), McKenna (Carcary) and Lister.

East Fife - Ridgers, Durie, White, Campbell, Cook (Ovenstone), Muir, Linn, Smith, Park, Ogleby (Hislop) and Wallace.