Brechin City got off to the perfect start in their Championship playoff final as they beat Alloa Athletic 1-0 in Wednesday evening’s first leg.
Elliot Ford’s first for the club was enough to separate the two sides during what was a tense encounter under the floodlights.
The victory gives the Glebe Park side the perfect platform to go on and clinch promotion when the teams face off again in Alloa on Saturday.
Darren Dods named an unchanged team following his side’s shootout victory over Raith Rovers on Saturday.
The home side had the better of the opening quarter, and Finn Graham tested Neil Parry with a snapshot from outside the box before Andy Jackson was denied by a great tackle from Andy Graham.
Brechin were piling the pressure on and Ross Caldwell was agonisingly close to giving them the lead, Parry somehow getting a hand to his goalbound effort when it looked certain to find the top corner.
James Dale should have done better with a half-chance, slicing the ball high and wide from the edge of the box when presented with a sight of goal.
Alloa were still a danger and first Jon Robertson and then Jordan Kirkpatrick went close with efforts from distance as the visitors searched for a foothold in the game.
The second half began much as the first had, Jackson curling a shot safely into the gloves of Parry as the hosts looked to get their noses in front.
Kevin Cawley should have scored after Calum Waters’ cross fell to him at close range, but his effort cannoned back off Willie Dyer and Brechin survived.
The breakthrough finally arrived ten minutes into the second half and the goal went the way of the home side. Graham squared for Ford, whose first-time finish deflected beyond Parry and into the corner to give the Glebe Park side a vital advantage.
It was all Brechin and they could have extended their advantage when Liam Watt tested Parry with a stinging drive.
There were still a couple of nervy moments for the hosts – Graeme Smith dropped a high ball, sparking a goalmouth scramble, but Alloa were unable to capitalise and it was eventually hacked clear.
The home side were unlucky not to extend their advantage again when captain Paul McLean’s header crashed off the bar, while at the other end Smith had to be alert to keep out Andy Graham’s looping headed effort.
And that was the final action of a game which saw the Angus side give themselves the perfect opportunity to return to the second tier for the first time in eleven years.
Brechin City: Smith, McLean, Dyer, Fusco, Lynas, Dale, Ford, Graham, Jackson, Caldwell (Love), Watt. Not used: Trouten, C. O’Neil, Hill, Dods, Costello, P. O’Neil.