City home in on second place

Brechin City          2

Ayr United             1

Brechin City went within five points of second placed Alloa Athletic after Derek Carcary and Alan Trouten goals led them to a 2-1 victory over a ten man Ayr United.

With Glebe Park again being unplayable due to the weather, Forfar Athletic’s artificial pitch at Station Park was the venue for Brechin’s second home game since late January, with the Honest Men also being the visitors in the only other home game in February.

The home side started the stronger side and almost took the lead within two minutes after Alan Trouten set up Paul McLean, who cut inside a defender and curled his effort at goal, but his shot was held by keeper Graeme Smith.

With ten minutes gone, the City men had two chances to open the scoring in 60 seconds when Trouten’s corner evaded everyone and almost creeped in at the back post but Robbie Crawford cleared it off the line, then Andy Jackson received the ball facing away from goal and did well to turn and shoot, although his attempt went wide.

Brechin opened the scoring after quarter of an hour when Derek CARCARY dispossessed Neil McGregor and beat Chris Smith to race clear and then slot past the keeper.

Mark Shankland had three chances to equalise from Ayr 60 seconds later, but all his attempts were blocked by the defence and the ball was cleared. They were made to pay when Brechin scored their second goal in five minutes when Alan TROUTEN headed home David McKenna’s cross from a tight angle.

McKenna could have put Brechin out of sight four minutes later when Derek Carcary set him up from a counter attack, but his attempt was saved by Graeme Smith.

Ayr were looking very poor and struggling to string more than two passes together, while Brechin were dominating the game at this point, much to the delight of the home fans who had made the journey through.

The Honest Men had their first real attempt at goal three minutes before half time when Shankland shot over from the edge of the box. Scott McLaughlin was booked a minute later for a foul on Alan Trouten on the halfway line.

HALF TIME: Brechin City 2 Ayr United 0

United should have pulled a goal back just after half time when Michael Donald’s cross landed at Liam Buchanan’s feet but he scuffed his shot from five yards and hit the post. McLaughlin then shot past the post in the 53rd minute.

Buchanan got Ayr back into the game on the hour mark when he latched onto McLaughlin’s through ball and stabbed home, despite calls for offside. Sixty seconds later Michael Moffat blew a great chance to equalise when a fumble by Brechin keeper Michael Andrews left him with the goal gaping but his shot was hit too hard and it went over the bar.

The first change of the match came in the 65th minute when a rough challenge by Chris Smith, who was booked for it, on Derek Carcary left the City winger with blurred vision and he was forced off to be replaced by midfielder Alex Pursehouse, who was roundly booed by the Ayr fans because of his Kilmarnock past.

Neil McGregor was booked a minute later after two tackles on both Andy Jackson and Trouten, and paid for his recklessness with fifteen minutes to go with referee Mat Northcroft deeming another challenge on Trouten worthy of a second yellow. Mark Shankland was then subbed, David Winters coming on for him.

With 5 minutes to go Brechin could have had a third as Alan Trouten was put one on one with Graeme Smith but he fluffed his shot and Smith saved well and it was eventually cleared by the defence. Gary Fusco and Johnny Stewart were then booked in quick succession as David McKenna also went off, Ryan Stewart coming on in his place.

In the first minute of injury time City had yet again another counter attack, ending with Ryan Stewart’s brilliant opportunity being deflected for a corner.

Brechin now move three points closer to second placed Alloa Athletic, with The Wasps losing 2-1 to Queen of the South, who coincidentally are Brechin’s next two games, at home on Wednesday, which will more than likely be moved to Station Park again, then away on Saturday, The Doonhamers could wrap up their Second Division title with victory on Wednesday.

Ayr stay 4 points off the play-off spots, but have now played a game more than Stenhousemuir, Arbroath and two more than fourth placed Forfar Athletic.

Brechin City: Andrews, McLauchlan, McLean, Hay, Moyes, Fusco, Trouten, J Stewart, Jackson, McKenna (R Stewart 88), Carcary (Pursehouse 65).

Booked: Fusco 85, J Stewart 86

Scorers: Carcary 15, Trouten 19.

Ayr United: G Smith, Robertson, McCann, McGregor, C Smith, McLaughlin, Shankland (Winters 76), Crawford, Moffat, Buchanan, Donald.

Booked: McLaughlin 43, C Smith 65, McGregor 66.

Sent Off: McGregor 75.

Scorer: Buchanan 61.

Attendance: 427

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Loons leap into play-offs

Forfar Athletic                4         Albion Rovers                         2

Forfar Athletic moved back into the play-off places a week past Tuesday with a deserved 4-2 victory over relegation candidates Albion Rovers. Despite falling behind, goals from Danny Denholm, Martyn Fotheringham, Dale Hilson and Gavin Malin put the Coatbridge side to the sword.

The Loons made changes from the side that were beaten by Ayr the Saturday before, with Stephen Tulloch, Fotheringham, Denholm and Malin replacing Michael Dunlop, Jordon Brown, Willie Robertson and Ross Campbell.

Albion Rovers started the brighter team, and punished Forfar’s defensive frailties in the 12th minute when a corner was headed back across goal by Scott Sally and Marvin Andrews touched it to Pat WALKER, who put the ball in the net from close range to give them the lead. After 27 minutes Chris Templeman failed to trouble Matthew McGinley after his header from Danny Denholm’s cross was straight at the Rovers custodian. More chances were to come for the Loons that weren’t taken, with Michael Bolochoweckyj failing to connect with the ball correctly and Templeman again heading at McGinley.

Walker should have put Rovers further ahead in the 39th minute when he was given a free header, but his attempt from 6 yards out went over.  Two minutes later Forfar punished the away side with a well worked equaliser; Gavin Malin made space for himself in the D of the box, and put the ball through to an oncoming DENHOLM who placed a shot into the bottom corner of the net. Chris Templeman had another chance right on half time, but again headed at the keeper.

The Loons came out for the second half focused on collecting all three points, and it showed when they scored twice in quick succession. Good play on the wing by Dale Hilson resulted in his cross being met by a Gianfranco Zola style back heel from Martyn FOTHERINGHAM five minutes into the second half. Just sixty seconds later, Gavin Swankie did well to get to the byline, before beating Marvin Andrews and cutting the ball across the goal to HILSON who hammered home from 12 yards out.

Todd Lumsden and his men’s night worsened when Peter Innes was booked in the 54th minute then shown a red three minutes later for a poor challenge.  The Loons never seem to play well against ten men and tonight was no different, in the 64th minute Albion pulled a goal back after a Gary Phillips corner was easily headed home by Marvin ANDREWS and Albion were back in it. Both sides were equal again 13 minutes from time, when Danny Denholm collected a harsh second yellow, which won’t help our disciplinary record, which is the worst in the league.

Five minutes later the two goal advantage Forfar had built up was restored when Gavin MALIN was rewarded for his excellent play all game with a great strike from just inside the box.

Forfar Athletic: Hill, McCulloch, I Campbell, Bolochoweckyj, Tulloch, Fotheringham (King 89), Hilson (Kader 85), Malin (Brown 87), Templeman, Swankie, Denholm.

Subs Not Used: R Campbell, Salmon (gk)

Booked: Denholm

Sent Off: Denholm

Scorers: Denholm 41, Fotheringham 50, Hilson 51, Malin 82.

Albion Rovers: McGinley, Reid, Russell, Innes, Andrews, Donnelly, Thomson, Marriott (Howarth 55), Walker (Tiffney 87), Sally, Phillips.

Subs not used: Stevenson, Green, Tobin (gk)

Booked: Innes, Andrews

Sent Off: Innes

Scorers: Walker 12, Andrews 64.

Referee: Paul Robertson

Attendance: 293