Play-off spot within reach

Paul McLean - notched the leveller at home to Arbroath in midweek.
Paul McLean - notched the leveller at home to Arbroath in midweek.

BRECHIN City’s bid to win a promotion play-off spot is very much alive following a couple of late shows in the past week.

The reds hit back to level after Arbroath had taken the lead in midweek, and, on Saturday, they did even better, scoring twice within a four minute period in the latter stages of the game at Stirling Albion to return home with all three points.

Four points from a possible six takes City on to the 29 point mark for the season, only one behind East Fife and five adrift of fourth-placed Stenhousemuir.

At the time of going to press on Tuesday (yesterday) Brechin were preparing to host Stenhousemuir that same evening, so it was a great chance to close the gap on the Warriors.

You will know the result by the time you read this, but whatever the outcome, there is still plenty of time to claim a spot in the top four - with a visit to current league leaders Cowdenbeath this coming Saturday.

Back to last midweek though, and a keenly contested derby match with second placed Arbroath at the Glebe saw the game finish one-each.

Both goals came late in the match.

Arbroath took the lead in the 71st minute when Gavin Swankie took possession on the edge of the box and cut the ball back for Steven Dorris to slot home from four yards out.

But City were not to be denied and, nine minutes from time, Paul McManus set up Paul McLean to unleash a terrific shot which beat the visitors’ keeper all ends up.

Brechin assistant manager Kevin McGowne said: “I was delighted with our reaction after Arbroath scored the opening goal and pleased that we gained a deserved point.”

It was then on to the Forthbank Stadium on Saturday, where City were to emerge on top in a five-goal thriller, scoring two goals in the last seven minutes to secure three vital points.

Bryan Hodge was the City hero, scoring a dramatic 30-yard equaliser with just seven minutes remaining and the ex-Partick midfielder became the provider four minutes later when he created the opening for Rory McKenzie to slot home the winner.

City found themselves a goal down in the 33rd minute when Mark Ferry pounced to fire home the opener after David Scott, (deputising for regular keeper Craig Nelson who had picked up an injury at training on Thursday night) had failed to gather a Gary Thom cross.

That was the way things stood at the interval with the Binos definitely having the better of the opening 45 minutes.

However, Brechin started the second-half in a much more positive vein and they drew level eight minutes into the restart when Stirling hero Ferry turned sinner when he inadvertently headed a Hodge corner past his own keeper.

This gave City confidence to push forward but they were shocked when the hosts regained the lead with just quarter of an hour remaining.

A Scott Davidson cross from the right was met by Paul McLean who headed past the stranded Scott into his own net.

With just fifteen minutes of the match left, even the most diehard City fans would have been hard pressed to envisage that their team would come back to win the match but that’s exactly what they did in a grandstand finish to the game.

Hodge picked up the ball just within the Stirling half with seven minutes remaining and took a couple of paces forward before unleashing a tremendous right-foot drive which soared past Callum Reidford in the Stirling goal.

City fans had hardly finished celebrating this goal when the team scored a dramatic late winner.

Hodge collected the ball in the Binos half and played a pass forward to McKenzie, who outpaced Brian Allison before slotting the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

In a hard and evenly contested match, three players were booked by referee Willie Collum - John Crawley for Stirling and defenders Scott Buist and Ewan Moyes for City.