Edinburgh City boss expects relegation battle to go to wire

Edinburgh City forward Lewis Allan battles for possession. Pic: Alex Drysdale
Edinburgh City forward Lewis Allan battles for possession. Pic: Alex Drysdale
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There wasn’t much Edinburgh City could do about the two sensational strikes either side of half-time that set Montrose on their way to a 3-0 win, but boss Gary Jardine still wasn’t satisfied with their performance.

Andrew Steeves’ wonderful opener was followed by an even more outrageous goal from Paul Watson, before Chris Templeman completed the scoring.

While Jardine felt the final scoreline was a bit harsh on his team, more is required if City are to ensure their safety in League Two.

“On the game as a whole, I don’t think 3-0 was a fair reflection,” he explained. “There wasn’t a lot in the first half and Montrose’s goals came at good times for them. I’d have been delighted with the first two goals, they were fantastic – you won’t see two better goals up and down the country. When you go 2-0 up at this level you can start enjoying yourself and they were by far the better side afterwards.

“While I’m saying there wasn’t a lot in it, I’m disappointed with our performance. We didn’t play anywhere near the intensity or gave the quality we did last week against Elgin.

“Everbody’s going to pick up points. Cowdenbeath have won and Clyde will win between now and the end of the season as well. I think now it’s ‘then there was three’.”

The first clear opportunity came for the hosts, but was spurned by Terry Masson who blasted over after Gary Fraser’s cut back picked out his run from deep.

City’s first attempt was via Craig Bettie, who pulled down Dougie Gair’s cross-field pass and drove inside, but curled a left-foot shot well wide. The striker then collected Lewis Allan’s flicked pass into the area but flashed a low strike across the face of goal. Gair should have done far better after a clever quick free-kick from Ian McFarland put him in on goal, but the skipper got his attempted volley completely wrong.

Stewart Petrie’s side had been building pressure, and took the lead with a great goal two minutes before the break. Steeves drove forward from left-back and played a one-two with Fraser, sending the ball first time past Calum Antell into the far top corner.

City could have levelled within two minutes of the re-start through Allan, but the on-loan Hibs striker couldn’t get enough on the ball to force it past the on-rushing Alan Fleming and on target.

They found themselves 2-0 down soon after to an even more spectacular goal. Watson spotted Antell off his line, and sent a wonderful effort sailing over him and in from his own half. “They were a couple of great goals,” said Petrie. “You’ll do well to see better goals than that this weekend. If you can score first in this league and you’re difficult to beat, you give yourself a platform.”

It was 3-0 and game over with 20 minutes remaining. Cammy Ballantyne hit the byeline and crossed for Templeman, who directed his header back across Antell and into the corner.

Cowdenbeath’s win against Clyde leaves them four points behind City ahead of this weekend’s meeting at Meadowbank, and Jardine believes there will be plenty of jostling for position at the bottom before the season ends. “The last few weeks, bar the second half against Clyde, we’ve played well,” he said. “We’ve been fighting all season to get off the bottom and now stay off. On Saturday, perhaps we weren’t quite at it but there wasn’t a lot in the game, although we demand more of ourselves.

Montrose: Fleming, Ballantyne, Steeves, Watson (Callaghan 80), M Allan, Bolochoweckyj, Webster, Masson, Fraser (Smith 60), Templeman (Campbell 74), Hay.

Edinburgh City: Antell, Mbu, Dunsmore, Beattie (Mafoko 72), Laird, McKee, McFarland (Guthrie 57), Gair (McConnell 72), L Allan, Walker, Dunn.

Referee: David Dickinson.