BRECHIN City went to Dumbarton and for 99 per cent of this game they did a thoroughly professional job in seeing off a side that look like odds on favourites to be playing in division three next season.
That takes nothing away from a City side that dominated possession right up until the last four minutes of the game and one that should have posted a score that wouldn’t have been out of place had Andrew Strauss and co. been responsible for it Down Under.
There was a change in the City line-up, with Davie White on the bench and Gerry McLaughlin returning to the line up.
Dougie Hill came in to the left-back slot. The on-loan Raith player made a very steady start to life at Glebe Park, and great credit to him, as given the weather, he has had to wait long enough to pull on a red jersey.
That meant Andy Cook played on the left side of midfield, as Kevin Byers was ruled out with an injury. Mark Docherty also dropped out and Jamie Redman came into the starting line up.
Brechin started the game on the front foot and really were rarely off it for the majority of the first half.
McAllister found space on the right side of the Dumbarton penalty area in the seventh minute.
The big striker did well to hold the ball up and subsequently pick out strike partner David McKenna, who shot just over the bar from ten yards out.
On-loan St Mirren striker Jon McShane tried his luck from 25 yards out, but Craig Nelson gathered comfortably.
City continued to probe away and Janczyk and Molloy were at the heart of most of Brechin’s positive football.
It was a corner from the former that gave Moyes a chance after 13 minutes, but the Hibee rose well, but couldn’t get above the ball to guide it downwards towards the net.
Stephen Grindlay then set a pattern which he was to follow for much of the game.
The Dumbarton goalkeeper denied Rory McAllister by pushing away his crisply struck drive. The ‘keeper then excelled further as he blocked Jamie Redman’s effort from the rebound.
City forced a series of corners and Janczy’s ability to strike the dead ball cleanly had the home defence in a flap.
From one of the City skipper’s corners, the ball bounced off Ewan Moyes, and past the goalkeeper, but only the wrong side of the post from a City perspective.
Brechin didn’t have to wait much longer, however. Janczyk delivered another telling flag-kick from the left and debutante Dougie Hill rose above everyone at the far post to head his side in front in the 21st minute.
Ian Chisholm was the luckiest guy in Dumbarton on Saturday. The Sons’ right-back escaped with a lecture from the referee after a late challenge on City striker, David McKenna.
Brechin continued to throw everything at Dumbarton and the goalkeeper came to his side’s rescue again, first to block an effort from Redman and secondly to push away McAllister’s attempt from the rebound, which was a tremendous save.
Grindlay was at it again when he got down to collect McAllister’s effort from 20 yards, after the City striker had turned Gordon inside out.
Andy Cook, who seemed to be enjoy the freedom of playing in a more attacking role, almost doubled Brechin’s advantage five minutes before the break.
A great run up the left-flank saw the former Raith player cut inside on to his right foot and hit a decent effort from 25 yards, which saw the goalkeeper scrambling across the face of his goal.
City must have been cursing their luck having gone off at half-time only a goal to the good. Four minutes into the restart “Cooky” had an even better chance to break his duck.
Janczyk’s free-kick on the right found Redman, who sent in an angled ball across the face of goal. Cook burst in from outside of the box and had appeared to time his run to perfection, but fired over the target.
The referee was forced to get the yellow card out for a horrendously late challenge on Craig Molloy by Paul Nugent.
City produced a lovely passing moved that carved open the home side in the 58th minute. Just as Molloy was about to steer the ball home, Martin McNiff brought him crashing to the floor and was shown a red card. Rory McAllister struck the ball low and hard, but once again was denied by the heroics of Stephen Grindlay in the home goal.
David McKenna was next to try his luck from outside the box. Once again the goalkeeper showed he was equal to the task and held the striker’s effort. Ryan McStay was the next Dumbarton player to go in the book and once again Craig Molloy was the victim.
Grindlay was at it again as he blocked an 18 yard drive from McAllister. Dumbarton were trying to play on the counter a man down, but at this stage Janczyk and Molloy were running the game for City.
Archdeacon replaced McKenna with 18 minutes remaining.
It was the irrepressible Craig Molloy who eventually netted the all important second goal for City. The midfielder just seems to run on Duracell batteries and he darted through the heart of the Dumbarton defence before hammering home a great goal from just outside the penalty area and then almost running as far up the park again to join in the celebrations with the Brechin supporters!
Brechin continued to try and kill the game off and Cook was denied by a last-gaspintervention by on-loan Motherwell full-back Halsman and then the reds really should have been three goals in front.
Mark Archdeaon raced away from the centre circle and half the length of the pitch. The youngster seemed to keep his composure, but his low effort was beaten away by Grindlay who had come out to narrow the angle.
Rory McAllister was cautioned for a tug on a defender’s jersey. Given the afternoon the home back four had given, McAllister and McKenna, this appeared a bit harsh.
With six minutes left McAllister was replaced by Fusco. In the 86th minute, the cruelty of the game of football was never more evidently underlined when Neil Janczyk’s only misplaced pass of the game was intercepted and Mark Gilhaney’s low drive took a wicked deflection which spun up and over the head of Craig Nelson.
At two-one it looked like this had been a close game. In reality it had been anything but.
Man of the match for City was Craig Molloy. The City midfield player must have impressed Hibs’ manager, Colin Calderwood, who had travelled to watch his team mate Rory McAllister from the Strathclyde’s Home Stand.
Molloy is the complete midfield player. He wins tackles, scores goals and also creates them.
His work rate is second to none and if he is still a Brechin player this time next week, it might go a long way to helping to maintain their challenge at the top of division two.
Janczyk was given the sort of time and space he excels in and did.
Dougie Hill had a competent debut and looks like an asset at the right stage of the season.
Brechin need the same sort of approach in the rest of the week. As you feel they won’t get as much time on the ball at either Livingston or Buckie!
Dumbarton Grindley, Chisholm, Nugent, Gordon, McLeish, Carcary (Anthony Wallace), McStay, McNiff, Gilhaney (Metcalf), McShane and Walker.
Brechin City Nelson, McLean, McLauchlan, Moyes, Hill, Redman, Janczyk, Molloy, Cook, McAllister (Fusco) and McKenna (Archdeacon).