Forfar Athletic 0-1 Brechin City: Jackson goal sees off Loons as City close gap at bottom

Photo - Derek Watt

Photo - Derek Watt

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An Andy Jackson goal gave Brechin City a crucial 1-0 win over rivals Forfar Athletic on Saturday as the Loons finished with nine men.

Derek Young and Tam O’Brien were sent off for the hosts who continued their dismal run of form.

City’s dire stretch of results is over though as Darren Dods led his players to a deserved win at his old stomping grounds.

Dods elected to start with three centre halves on the pitch, himself included, with Paul McLean and Willie Dyer operating as wing-backs.

This tactical shift proved integral to the game's outcome as the defensive line - usually five-man strong - was almost impervious to the attacks of Forfar.

Also playing a big role in their victory was the debut performance of Isaac Layne, the 20-year-old striker who joined City on loan from Alloa Athletic on Friday evening.

Layne's power and pace were a problem for the backline of Forfar all afternoon and caused a lot of space for Jackson to exploit, with one such occasion leading to the game's winning goal.

Forfar meanwhile remain in their slump, with an injury-beset squad not helping matters on the park by any means.

Now with two suspensions to key men to contend with, Dick Campbell's frustrations will not be dissipating anytime soon unfortunately.

There wasn’t much in the way of chances in the opening stages as the two out-of-form sides engaged in a dogged midfield battle.

Young, starting up front beside skipper Gavin Swankie, had a decent opportunity with a long range glancing header but it would have required much more quality from that distance if it was to truly test Graeme Smith.

It was a headed chance at the other end that was the best opportunity of goal as Layne forced a good save from Rab Douglas after connecting with Willie Dyer’s cross just a few yards from goal.

Dyer then saw an indirect free kick cleared off the line by Swankie after Douglas was penalised for picking up a Bryan Hodge pass back.

Forfar dominated possession for much of the first half but couldn’t pierce the resolute back five of Brechin, and it was City who had a great chance just before the interval as Paul McLean hit a long range strike just over the Loons’ crossbar.

It was more of the same after the break as Forfar’s only real opportunities came from driving runs by Danny Denholm, but the winger’s forays lacked a final ball, be it a pass or a shot on goal.

The hosts were reduced to 10 men when Young was given a second yellow card after a lunging foul on David Bates on 64 minutes.

It didn’t take long for Brechin to make the most of their numerical advantage as Jackson received a through ball from Layne that split the hastily-rearranged Loons defence before firing low past Douglas for 1-0.

Layne went close soon after when Jackson cut the ball across for the youngster but Kevin Nicoll blocked the effort for a corner.

From the set piece, Forfar broke through Denholm who fed Andy Black down the right; the Dundee loanee cut it inside to Chris Templeman but he couldn’t turn inside the box to get a clear shot on goal and his effort was blocked wide.

It was almost 2-0 on 74 minutes as Douglas had to be at full stretch to palm Jackson’s dipping header past the post.

Templeman should have levelled on 79 minutes when an Iain Campbell free kick was blocked but the striker hooked his close range shot over the bar.

Brechin looked comfortable though as a barney between a number of plays from both sides ended in bookings for Craig Molloy and sub Martyn Fotheringham.

O’Brien was given a straight red card late on for a kick on Dods before the ref blew for full-time.