Edinburgh City boss Gary Jardine branded his side’s defeat to Montrose “unacceptable” as the Capital outfit’s search for their first victory of the season continues.
Having finally earned a point with last weekend’s 1-1 stalemate at Stirling Albion, City went into Saturday’s basement-battle with the Gable Endies knowing a win would lift them off the foot of the table.
Instead, Jardine and his backroom team were subjected to an abject display as Gary Fraser’s goal just after the hour mark ensured the visitors departed with a precious three points. Meanwhile, the hosts were given a severe dressing down by their irate manager.
“I’ve told them in no uncertain terms that it’s unacceptable and that kind of performance will see us in the play-offs come the end of the season. That type of display is very unlike them and I don’t expect to see that from them again,” Jardine moaned.
“It’s not often I have a team with a complete lack of commitment or desire but I felt they looked that way out there. They let themselves down. Football is played in the head and I don’t think we were mentally right.
“There were very few chances in the game, so we’ll have to look why we didn’t create. In the last three games we’ve created double figures in chances, whereas I can’t remember their goalkeeper having an awful lot to do.
“There will be changes next week, you just can’t accept that. There are players champing at the bit who haven’t been in the squad or on the bench who have been working hard, so one or two of them will get their chance next week.”
Asked if the fact his players had only been able to muster one point so far was causing him concern, Jardine said: “I’ve always said the first quarter will be a real telling factor for us going forward. Our target is to stay in this league and we still have the belief we can do that. We’re only six games in so there’s no worry there about what our points tally is just now.”
In truth, both sides showed just why they have been struggling for points in SPFL League 2 as this was a fixture were chances came at a premium.
Visiting striker Fraser had first glimpse of Calum Antell’s goal, but was outmuscled by the combative Joe Mbu.
Ross Allum, who notched his first goal of the season last week, almost capitalised on a hesitant Montrose rearguard but despite nicking the ball beyond goalkeeper Allan Fleming, Terry Masson got back to steer the ball behind for a corner.
Ryan Ferguson tried to get things going in the Montrose engine room and despite a neat one-two with veteran striker Chris Templeman, the midfielder’s effort was easily scooped up by Antell.
In a rare attack on the Angus side’s goal, the league’s newcomers forced Fleming into a fine stop ten minutes after the restart when substitute Craig Beattie teed up Jordan Caddow, whose drive from the edge of the area had to be tipped around the post.
The decisive moment arrived seven minutes later as an Andrew Steeves free-kick was swung into the City danger area. After the ball ricocheted into the path of Antell, he somehow fumbled and Fraser was on hand to lash the ball into the roof of the net.
The goal appeared to unnerve Antell, who clutched Templeman’s powerful drive back into his arms at the second attempt as Montrose sought another.
With five minutes remaining City were afforded a glimmer of hope when defender Masson was giving his marching orders for a second booking but the ten men stood firm.
Edinburgh City: Antell, Caddow, Mbu, Porteous, Dunsmore (Beattie 42), McFarland (Muhsin 80), McKee, Cummings, Dunn, McConnell (See 73), Allum. Subs: Stobie, Gair, MacDonald, Donaldson.
Montrose: Fleming, R Campbell, Mason, Bolochoweckyj, I Campbell, Ferguson (Hynd 88), Steeves, McWalter, Webster, Fraser, Templeman. Subs: McKay, Pascazio, Anderson, Ballantine, Court, Millar.
Referee: G Irvine.