Edinburgh City go five points clear

Ross Allum, second right, made it 4-0. Below, Ortega Deniran scored City's second. Pictures: Gordon Fraser
Ross Allum, second right, made it 4-0. Below, Ortega Deniran scored City's second. Pictures: Gordon Fraser
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Doubles from Shaun Harrison, Ortega Deniran and Ross Allum helped Edinburgh City to an emphatic 7-1 win over Preston Athletic at Meadowbank last night.

A late Mark Osborne goal completed the scoring for home side, while Jake McIntrye’s strike provided scant consolation for the Panners on a miserable wet and windy night.

City are now five points clear at the top of the Lowland League.

Home defender Harrison was delighted with his own contribution that included a stunning free-kick to open the scoring. “I don’t think I’ve scored many better than that one,” said the centre back. “It’s good just to get scoring again. I’ve not scored for a while so to get two is absolutely superb. The manager said to us beforehand not to get complacent as they’d come out and try to hurt us, but we did well and stuck to the plan and scored a lot of good goals.”

Harrison’s set piece was the first goal of the night, coming after 13 minutes. From around 25 yards on the angle, the No.4 sent a wicked free-kick flying over Ross Gilpin in the Preston goal and into the top corner. They doubled their advantage seven minutes later when Ortega Deniran played a one-two with Dougie Gair and slid the ball home from close range. Harrison got in on the act again shortly after, heading in Gair’s corner from the right to make it 3-0. Top scorer Allum added to his tally for the season on 37 minutes with another header high into the far corner.

A frantic minute just before half-time saw each side find the net. Jake McIntyre forced the ball in following a corner from the right to pull one back for Willie Kirk’s men, only for City to go up the pitch immediately and restore their four-goal cushion. Preston defender John Gibson looked to have headed Gordon Donaldson’s cross into his own net, only for Deniran to claim the last touch as the ball was crossing the line.

The second half was about damage limitation for Preston, who restricted their hosts to two goals after the break. Allum claimed his second and City’s sixth on the hour, tapping home Gair’s low centre from the right. Substitute Mark Osborne rounded off the scoring three minutes from time, applying a simple finish following some excellent link-up play between Ross Guthrie and Deniran to create the opportunity.

Manager Gary Jardine was pleased with his side’s convincing display in difficult conditions for football. “I looked at the weather forecast on Monday to see how difficult it could be but the pitch usually holds up well at Meadowank – it’s the wind that’s the problem. That aside, I’d watched Preston against Spartans and Willie’s got them well organised, so it was important we were on the front foot straight away. After five minutes I thought we’d done that and the first goal helped, then we just kicked on after that.”

Kirk was disappointed with the manner of the goals his team conceded, saying: “It definitely proved to be a difficult one. I think a number of the goals we lost were cheap and naïve which was disappointing.

“It doesn’t matter if you have a full bench or your strongest 11 out, losing cheap goals is never going to help and we capitulated a wee bit for about 20 minutes. The fifth goal was the killer for me – make it 4-2 you don’t know how they’ll react. For them to then score so quickly, it never affected them at all.”

Edinburgh City: Stobie, Caddow, Donaldson, Harrison, Paterson, Deniran, McFarland (Guthrie 37), Gair, Allum, Dunn (Osborne 68), Gibson.

Preston Athletic: Gibson, L Todd (Collinson 81), Bruce, Gibson, J Todd, O’Hara, Fergus, Devlin, Martin, McIntyre (S Todd 45), Thomson.