Brechin City 2, Forfar Athletic 1
A HAPPY new year! It certainly was for Brechin City fans as they watched their side start 2012 in style with a fully deserved home victory over Forfar Athletic on Monday afternoon (writes Alan Ducat).
The reds had to come from one down at the break, with Paul McManus the second half hero as he scored two wonderful goals to make sure the points were staying at the Glebe.
You never know how derby matches are going to pan out and this game took a while to warm up.
Indeed there was little to note in the opening 20 minutes or so, a Chris Templeman shot from just inside the area being comfortably gathered by City keeper Craig Nelson.
Both sides built well from the back, but there was a lack of cutting edged in the final third and the game needed something to spark it into life.
The home side were dealt a blow just on the half hour when Scott Buist, who had been having a solid game at the back, limped off with what looked to be a ham-string injury, his place being taken by Gerry McLauchlan.
The first clear-cut opening of the match fell to the visitors in the 34th minute.
Chris Templeman fastened on to a clever through ball from Joe Shaughnessy, comfortably help off his marker and raced in on goal.
And, it took a wonderful save from Craig Nelson to deny the Forfar hit-man a goal, the ball being turned round the post for a corner.
At the other end Paul McManus flashed a ball across the face of goal, for it to be deflected for a corner.
And, when the ball was returned into the middle, Marc McCulloch was perfectly placed at the post to hack to safety.
A goal seemed just round the corner and it came Forfar’s way in the 38th minute.
It was all down to Ross Campbell, who did well to create space for a cross close to the bye-line on the right, his dinked ball just right for Chris Templeman to rise and head downwards past Nelson to give the visitors the lead.
Minutes later, and it took another great save from Nelson to prevent Ross Campbell from making it two.
Brechin weren’t creating much in the way of chances at this stage, but they really should have been back on level terms in the 44th minute, Paul McManus somehow managing to nod past the post from a couple of yards when it seemed easier to divert a Paul McLean cross into the net.
Into the second period, and it was Brechin who upped the tempo in the bid to find a leveller.
The warning signs were there for Forfar, a Bryan Hodge shot from the edge of the box flying inches wide of Paterson’s right-hand post.
Six minutes into the second period and City were deservedly back level, courtesy of a superbly worked goal.
David McKenna did the donkey work down the left but looked to be running out of space to find a cross. Somehow he managed though and the the ball was absolutely perfect for Paul McManus to lash it past Paterson into the net.
Soon after, Gerry McLauchlan became the game’s only yellow card victim, being cautioned for upending Forfar on-loan striker Dale Hilson.
But it was Brechin who were in charge at this stage in proceedings, and it came as no surprise when they surged into the lead in the 59th minute.
Again McKenna was the supplier, slipping the ball through the channel for Paul McManus to time his run to perfection, going on to lob past Paterson for the perfect goal.
Minutes later and it could very well have been three.
Forfar full-back Iain Campbell dallied too long on the ball in his own half, was robbed by McManus and James Lister was sent clean through on goal, his shot cracking off the inside of the post and the ball, thankfully for the visitors, landing in the arms of the keeper.
The visitors managed to steady the ship for a spell thereafter, and did a bit of attacking themselves.
But, with the reds standing firm and rarely allowing the Forfar strike-force to see the whites of Nelson’s eyes, the visitors made a trio of changes in one go.
Off went Iain Campbell, Greg Ross and Kevin Motion and on came Martin Fothringham, Stephen Tulloch and Kevin Byers.
The visitors pushed and probed in a bid to get back into the game but it was difficult to see where a goal would come from.
A Templeman header was easy meat for Nelson while substitute Byers tried his luck with a long-range effort, which also easily mopped up by the custodian.
Before the end, City introduced Graham Weir for Paul McManus and Gary Fusco for David McKenna, as they comfortably held out to make it three wins on the bounce.
They had started 2012 the way they had finished 2011 and the result takes them back on to the coat-tails of the teams hunting up the promotion play-off spots.
But the league campaign will take a back seat over the next week, as City get yet another crack at dumping St. Johnstone out of the Scottish Cup, the fourth round tie going ahead at McDiarmid Stadium this coming Saturday.
Hopefully club captain Charlie King will have recovered in time to lead the team, although there may be some doubt about Scott Buist (pictured above right), following the injury he picked up in the derby.
Following the cup match, Brechin City will be next back in league action a week on Saturday (January 14) when they make the trip to Dumbarton.
Brechin City - Nelson, McLean, Buist (McLauchlan), Dunlop, McClune, Brady, Molloy, McKenna (Fusco), Hodge, Lister and McManus (Weir).
Forfar Athletic - Paterson, McCulloch, Bolocheweckyj, Shaughnessy, Iain Campbell (Byers), Ross Campbell, Ross (Tulloch), Mowat, Motion (Fotheringham), Templeman and Hilson.
Referee - Frank McDermott.