Edinburgh City manager Gary Jardine hailed “caged tiger” Ross Allum as the striker returned from suspension to help fire his side to a 3-2 win over East Kilbride.
Allum bagged a first-half double either side of a Dougie Gair goal to claim the victory for City, Joao Victoria having twice halved the deficit for the visitors in a pulsating first 45,
Boss Jardine was delighted with the impact made by his front man, saying: “Every time Ross has come back he’s been like a caged tiger!
“I think he probably burnt himself out in the first half an hour – he was everywhere. He looked sharp on the ball and was giving the defenders problems. He was fantastic and has been another great find for us.”
City certainly exploded out the traps and found themselves two goals to the good after just six minutes. Allum netted with their first attempt on goal, cutting in from the left, driving along the 18-yard line before drilling the ball low into the corner past Craig Gordon in the EK goal. He turned provider two minutes later, sliding the ball into to captain Gair’s path, whose precise finish hit the far post before nestling in the opposite corner.
Billy Ogilive’s side began to probe City and were rewarded after 34 minutes. Michael Giblin’s shot was blocked with his hands by Frazer Paterson, and Joao Victoria sent Andrew Stobie the wrong way from the spot to cut the deficit.
The home side responded by re-establishing their two-goal advantage six minutes later. A fine team move released Jordan Caddow down the right and his pin-point cross picked out Allum in the middle who nodded past Gordon for his second and City’s third goal of the game.
Paterson went some way to atoning for conceding the penalty thee minutes before the break. Victoria teed up Craig Hastings who smashed the ball towards an empty net with Stobie stranded, but Paterson bravely threw himself in the ball’s path, denying a certain goal with his face.
Victoria notched his second on the stroke of half-time, hooking home from close range after a long throw in from the right was knocked into his path.
The visitors emerged after the interval with a determination to draw level, although Allum still proved a threat, controlling John MacDonald’s diagonal with a cushioned header before firing just over on 52 minutes.
The K-Park side continued to put City under pressure, dominating possession, but couldn’t seem to find a way past man-mountain Joe Mbu. The centre back continually rose to clear a succession of deliveries into the home side’s box.
Allum again created an opportunity for himself two minutes after the hour. The No.9 burst down the right flank, skipping past a tired challenge in the area, but his low shot from a tight angle zipped across the goalmouth and away to safety.
The East Kilbride contingent in the stand must have thought they’d finally levelled with eight minutes remaining. Michael O’Hara’s drive from distance was well saved by Stobie, and the keeper made it a stunning double save, springing up quickly to deny Liam Gormley with the goal gaping.
Jardine praised EK for their display and also his own team’s resilience. “First and foremost we beat a really good side,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve seen them – they play terrific football and their movement’s great. That’s a big, big result for us. We’ve got it on the dressing room wall – it’s hard to beat a team that never gives up and that’s what’s got us through the last two or three weeks.”
Edinburgh City: Stobie, Caddow, Donaldson, MacDonald (Osborne 84), Paterson, Mbu, McFarland, Gair, Allum (Stenhouse 78), Dunn (Torrance 74), Vanson.
East Kilbride: Gordon, Lachlan, Coll (McLaughlin 78), Howie, Morris, Giblin, Gormley, McBride, Victoria, Hastings (McGuinness 63), O’Hara.