Edinburgh City displayed their title credentials with a 2-1 victory over champions Spartans in the first all-Capital clash of the Lowland League season at Ainslie Park last night.
John Dunn’s header and a penalty from Mark Osbourne gave the away side an early 2-0 lead before Michael Bruce pulled one back before the break, but the Meadowbank club held firm to make it six points from six so far.
Spartans boss Dougie Samuel had previously tipped City as dark horses for the league, and this result lent credence to his claim. “Maybe people will believe me now,” he said. “I don’t play mind games – I meant it. They’ve made good signings and have a good side.”
City opened the scoring with the first meaningful attack of the game within five minutes. Osbourne’s clever run got him in behind the Spartans back line and his pin-point centre took ’keeper Kevin Swain completely out of the game, leaving John Dunn with a simple finish.
The hosts seemed shaken by their opponents’ quick start, and didn’t register their first effort on goal until the tenth minute, although Sean Mushin’s snap shot was gathered easily. The dangerous Osbourne was unlucky not to double the visitors’ lead when his first-time effort was deflected wide after 13 minutes.
The striker was to have better luck just four minutes later. Ian McFarland’s trickery was too much for Spartans full back Daniel O’Donnell, who could do nothing but stick out a leg and bring the midfielder down in the area. Osbourne slotted home the resulting penalty, adding to his brace from the weekend win over Vale of Leithen.
Spartans were stung into actin and responded with a dipping free kick from Jack Beesley which was well held by Andrew Stobie before Keith McLeod flashed an effort wide just before the half-hour. The hosts’ increasing pressure paid off on 32 minutes when Gary Cennerazzo’s free-kick deflected into the path of O’Donnell, whose angled volley looked net-bound until Stobie threw up a strong right hand. The City ’keeper could only direct the ball into the path of the on-rushing Bruce, who headed his first goal since signing for the club.
Spartans emerged after the restart with greater urgency, and Kevin Motion had a chance to level on 48 minutes, but couldn’t keep his lob down. Despite their second-half pressure, there was to be no late comeback from the hosts.
Manager Samuel had no complaints with the outcome. He said: “I think we beat ourselves. We lost two really poor goals that left us chasing the game and got what we deserved on the night. We huffed and puffed in the second half and played into their hands.”
His opposite number Gary Jardine was delighted with the result, but will be expecting a higher level of performance from his players in the coming weeks. He said: “I’m delighted with the fact we’ve picked up the points but I’ve told them that we need to be better. We were nowhere near what we’re capable of.
“I think the work we’ve done in pre-season got us through that one – we were organised and disciplined, but we’ll need to do better. We scored early and from then on got deeper and deeper and didn’t play the football we wanted to.”
Spartans: Swain, MacKinnon, Cennerazzo, O’Donnell (Sivewright 72), Bruce; Stevenson, Beesley (Douglas 72), Grant, Mushin, McLeod, Motion (Henretty 72).
Edinburgh City: Stobie, Caddow, Donaldson, McKee, Paterson, Mbu, McFarland, Torrance (Gair 69), McConnell (Stenhouse 72), Dunn, Osbourne (Wilson 80).