It was a tale of two penalties at Meadowbank as Edinburgh City went down 1-0 to Ladbrokes League Two pacesetters Forfar.
David Cox’s penalty six minutes before half-time ensured the points went to the Angus side after Grant Adam had saved one from Ouzy See on ten minutes.
Gary Jardine was left rueing that outcome in a game where City performed well and were unfortunate not to take something. “Without a doubt it’s a different game if it goes in,” said the City manager. “The game opens up a bit more and we’d have maybe found a bit more space in that final third, but that’s football. Dougie [Gair] hasn’t missed many penalties over the years, and unfortunately for us he wasn’t on the park when it was given.
“There wasn’t a lot in the game. I thought that we dominated possession and were in their final third more often than they were in ours, but we lacked that killer ball. Forfar showed why they’re top of the league though. When they weren’t at their best, we had them on the back foot but everybody knew their jobs, they were resilient and kept us at bay.”
City’s chequered history when it comes to penalties usually sees them missed in shoot-outs, but this time they spurned the opportunity to go ahead from 12 yards within the regulation 90.
Adam clumsily hauled down Ian McFarland after failing to hold See’s miss-hit strike. With regular and usually successful taker Gair on the bench, See stepped up, but Adam redeemed himself by diving to his left and parrying before smothering Dean Cummings’ rebound.
At the other end, Andrew Stobie’s first save of note came when he stayed big to hold Gavin Swankie’s volley from Michael Travis’ knock-down. The City keeper could only look back and hope moments later, and would have been relieved to see Cox’s lob sail over the bar as well as his head.
The visitors then took their own chance to score from the spot, albeit against the run of play. Jamie Bain went over Shaun Harrison’s outstretched leg, too enthusiastically according to the City players. Cox succeeded where See failed though, sending Stobie the wrong way.
“It looked soft,” Jardine said of the decision. “It’s one of those that if a defender puts a leg out, the opposition are going to go over it and we were taking a chance in doing that. It was sloppy play though with a slack pass. We said before the game that when it’s tight a mistake can cost you. They made one and we didn’t capitalise with the penalty whereas they have.”
After the break, a clever turn from John Dunn in the box opened the goal up, but a well timed block from Andy Munro prevented the midfielder from levelling. More good control from Cummings created space for another effort, but he shot straight at Adam.
A sweeping move down the left ended with See picking out Craig Beattie, whose low strike was blocked en-route to goal as City pushed hard for what would have been a deserved leveller. It never came however, as the league frontrunners extended their lead at the top to eight points.
“The result’s satisfying but performance-wise, we’re miles better than that,” admitted Forfar boss Gary Bollan. “That would have got football stopped and I pity the poor punter in the stand because it wasn’t pretty. Fortunately for us we came away with the three points, which at this stage of the season is vital. It’s a massive three points when you see results elsewhere.”
Edinburgh City: Stobie, Dunsmore, Donaldson (Gair 80), Harrison, Laird, McKee, McFarland (McConnell 82), Cummings (Beattie 70), See, Dunn, Mbu.
Forfar Athletic: Adam, Bain, Malone, O’Brien, Munro, Travis, Peters (McCawl 80), Milne, Cox, Swankie (Scott 72), Denholm.
Referee: Craig Napier.