Brechin rode their luck against a very competent Airdrie United side on Saturday and emerged with a valuable point which keeps their hopes of a play-off spot alive (writes Charles Wallace).
With Gerry McLauchlan and Charlie King joining broken arm victim Derek Carcary on the sidelines, Brechin lined up with Craig Nelson behind a back four of McLean, Buist, Dunlop and McClune as they played their first game in a month.
McKenna, Molloy, Brady and Hodge were in midfield with McManus and Lister up front.
Loan signings Rory McKenzie from Kilmarnock and Jonny Lidsay from Partick Thistle were on the bench alongside Fusco, Moyes and goalkeeper Scott.
Airdrie took control from the start and, in ten minutes, a Jamie Stevenson free-kick led to a goalmouth scramble and Nelson saved a close range effort from the division’s top scorer, Ryan Donnelly.
A minute later a flashing header from Donnelly was saved low down by Nelson.
In 17 minutes, Stevenson fired in a 30-yard free-kick and Nelson had to scramble to push the ball clear.
Scott Buist became the first booking of the match in 24 minutes for a foul on Boyle.
In the same incident, Lovering of Airdrie was booked for remarks to the referee.
Brechin shocked the visitors by taking the lead in 26 minutes.
A long ball out of defence gave Paul McManus the chance to run at the last Airdrie defender.
The City striker went past his man and had his shot blocked by Grant Adam, brother of Liverpool’s Charlie, then reacted quickly to squeeze the loose ball into the net from a tight angle.
Two minutes later, Lister collected a poor kick from Adam and passed to McManus, but his shot went wide.
In 32 minutes, McKenna had a header saved from a McLean cross.
Brechin almost stretched their lead three minutes from half-time when Hodge ran from halfway and his left foot drive just cleared the bar.
In 52 minutes, Craig Molloy was booked for a foul on Lynch.
There was controversy in 55 minutes when Stevenson tumbled over the diving Nelson.
The referee initially awarded a penalty, but after consulting his linesman, changed his mind and booked Stevenson for diving.
The Airdrie players were furious and in 57 minutes, Blockley was booked for a lunging challenge on Molloy. Seconds later, team-mate Lynch joined him in the book for dissent.
Brechin made a change on the hour mark when Fusco replaced McKenna.
Airdrie went close again in 62 minutes. They were awarded a soft free-kick 25 yards out and Stevenson curled the ball round the wall and off the base of the post.
The Airdrie pressure continued and, in 68 minutes, Stevenson laid the ball back to Owens, who had just gone on as a substitute, and his drive smacked against the crossbar.
An Airdrie goal seemed inevitable and it came in 72 minutes. Buist gave away an unnecessary free-kick out near the corner flag and, when Stevenson flighted the ball in, Derek Holmes was unmarked and nodded home.
In 78 minutes, Brechin sent on McKenzie for Lister.
The new man hadn’t touched the ball when Brechin found themselves down to ten men. Molloy inexplicably stuck up a hand to palm the ball as he jumped with an opponent on the halfway line. A second yellow card for the midfielder was swiftly followed by a red.
In 80 minutes, McLaren became the fifth Airdrie booking for a foul on McLean.
The ten man home side had a chance in 84 minutes.
McManus controlled a Brady free-kick and got in a shot, but a defender took the sting out of the effort and it was saved by Adam.
Airdrie were out of luck again in 85 minutes when they hit the woodwork for the third time.
Stevenson smashed a shot against the post and, when McLaren followed up to score, the linesman’s flag was up for offside.
With the 90 minutes up, McKenzie went on a solo run and fired a shot just wide.
In stoppage-time, Nelson made a final save from Stevenson, then Adam was almost at the halfway line when he kicked the ball clear as McManus threatened.
Three minutes into added time McLean became the final booking for a touchline foul, an incident which had both Jim Weir and Kevin McGeown charging down the touchline alleging play acting by the Airdrie player.
Brechin City - Nelson, McLean, McClune, Buist, Dunlop, Brady, McKenna (Fusco), Molloy, Lister (McKenzie), McManus and Hodge.