Capital side make Doonhamers earn their Cup progress

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Edinburgh City 0

Queen of the South 2

Edinburgh CITY’S Scottish Cup run ended at Meadowbank Stadium but not before the Capital club had given the Scottish Second Division leaders a run for their money in front of a big crowd which tipped the four-figure mark.

Queen of the South, themselves no strangers to giant-killing in cup competitions this season with victories against Hibs and Rangers, had to work hard and be patient against a City team that was particularly well organised, especially in defence. City goalkeeper, Andrew Stobie, was the busier custodian although he never had to make any serious saves, dealing competently with every ball that came his way.

The City boss, Gary Jardine, set his team up with five defenders across the back and employed Ross Guthrie as a lone striker. The system certainly frustrated the Doonhamers and the first real effort of the game was a 30-yard shot from City’s full back Shaun Harrison which Lee Robinson in the Queens goal did well to tip over the bar. The keeper then had to stretch to punch clear Dougie Gair’s flag kick before, at the other end, Ruaraidh Scott denied Gavin Reilly with a well-timed tackle. Derek Lyle then lifted a curling shot over the bar and Nicky Clark fired wide from 20 yards.

Queens did take the lead three minutes before half-time when a Chris Mitchell corner was headed on by Chris Higgins to Clark who had the simple task of nodding the ball in from close range.

On the hour mark, City came close to equalising when Mark Torrance slipped the ball to Guthrie who turned in a flash and hit a 12-yard shot which beat Robinson but struck the inside of the post and was cleared. Only five minutes later Queens put the game to bed when the City defence failed to clear their lines and the ball was returned quickly to Gavin Reilly who raced through to shoot the ball low behind the exposed Stobie.

City then had an uphill task but, to be fair, they did not wilt and continued to frustrate Queens with some excellent defending and a high work rate. An interesting statistic was that the referee, who had a superb game throughout the 90 minutes, did not brandish a card.

Jardine, the City manager, although disappointed to exit the competition, was satisfied with his team’s performance. “We wanted to stifle them, deny them space and hit them on the break. We had these opportunities a few times but we were disappointed with our final pass because the space was there and that is what we have worked on for the past fortnight.

“I thought that Queen of the South were going to cut us open at times although in the first half it never happened and to concede a goal from a set-play is the most disappointing thing. We did well and stopped them for the first 40 minutes.

“In the second half there was still all to play for. We tried to get more men forward and again we flattered to deceive because our final pass was poor. Just when I was thinking we’ll wait another five minutes and really go for it they did cut us open with a good piece of football and a good finish. After that I think that other teams would have buckled and that’s usually where the full-time side goes on and scores four or five more goals. Queen of the South kept at it but we stuck to our tasks and I’m really proud of the players for doing that because it’s difficult when you know the game is gone.

“In overall terms of the Scottish Cup that was our fourth game having drawn with and then beaten Shotts Bon Accord followed by beating Montrose so I think that we have done the East of Scotland League proud and I think more importantly the players have done themselves proud. They have shown that they are capable of playing at a higher level of football. We acquitted ourselves well and now we have to look to the future and need to pick up points to get ourselves up the Premier Division.”

Scott Fusco, City’s central defender, added: “I think that Queens deserved their win as they were the better team. We didn’t have any time on the ball as they pressed us the whole game. Gary set us up well and our formation worked as we neutralised their chances and they did not get too many. If Ross’s shot had gone in then it changes the whole game, but that’s football. We put in a good shift and worked hard so we can go away with our heads held high.

“The Scottish Cup run has been good but this was just one hurdle too many.”

Allan Johnston, the former Hearts player and now manager of Queen of the South, said: “It was difficult for us because City had five men at the back and were difficult to break down although we played most of the game in their half of the pitch. It’s good to get a victory because that’s what counts at the end of the day.”

Edinburgh City: Stobie, Fusco, Scott, Harrison, McLean (Devlin 70), Vanson (Elliot 80), Guthrie (Clapperton 80), Gair, Howat, Torrance, Dingwall. Subs: Macnamara, MacKintosh.

Queen of the South: Robinson, Mitchell, McGuffie, Black, Higgins, Burns (McShane 79), Carmichael (Gibson 68), McKenna, Reilly, Clark, Lyle. Subs: Atkinson, Johnston.

Referee: Matt Northcroft.