Blair Henderson rescues point for ten-man Edinburgh City against Peterhead

Blair Henderson was on target yet again for Edinburgh City. Pic: SNSBlair Henderson was on target yet again for Edinburgh City. Pic: SNS
Blair Henderson was on target yet again for Edinburgh City. Pic: SNS
Blair Henderson's 21st goal of the season rescued a point for ten-man Edinburgh City to preserve their two-point cushion over Peterhead at the top of Ladbrokes League Two.

he Capital outfit’s nearest challengers looked set to leapfrog their opponents after Jason Brown’s scrambled effort just before the hour mark had put the visitors in the ascendency.

However, top scorer Henderson restored parity just nine minutes later with an acute finish before midfielder Andrew Black was given his marching orders for a second booking with ten minutes to spare.

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Manager James McDonaugh was the happier manager at full time and praised his side.

“I think it’s a better point for us, especially with ten men,” McDonaugh said. “The guys put their bodies on the line so I think the players deserve a lot of credit but I’m disappointed in a couple. Nothing has changed so there’s still a long way to go. Every game is a hard one in this league.

“Allan (Smith) was fantastic for the goal and Blair has shown great composure again. But we didn’t create enough in the way of chances.”

The visitors were dealt a blow prior to a ball being kicked, veteran striker Derek Lyle withdrawing from Jim McInally’s starting XI after picking up a calf strain during the warm-up.

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It was a cagey opening 45 minutes between the division’s form sides, although there was no lack of commitment.

Willie Gibson’s fifth-minute corner picked out the run of team-mate Jack Leitch as Peterhead pressed for the opener but the No.10’s effort was easily gathered by Calum Antell.

City struggled to carve out anything of note in final third and it took until the 36th minute for the hosts to register the first attempt on goal, Graham Taylor’s run and shot evading Greg Fleming’s crossbar.

Captain Craig Thomson’s corner was then met by the head of Conrad Balatoni, but the former Hearts and Partick defender could only steer his header wide of the target from no more than eight yards out.

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Peterhead thought they had nudged themselves ahead just two minutes after the restart. Antell failed to hold Russell McLean’s shot from just inside the penalty area and Rory McAllister tapped in from just a couple of yards. However, his side’s celebrations were cut short by the offside flag

The Highlanders, though, weren’t to be outdone as they gained the upper hand just before the hour mark. Jamie Stevenson’s corner was flicked on at the near post by McLean and full-back Jason Brown turned the ball into the net despite Antell’s best efforts.

City were level nine minutes later, though, when a surging run from Smith took him clear of the visitors’ rearguard and the 24-year-old had time to pick out Blair Henderson who calmly slotted into the bottom corner.

The Citizens chances of victory suffered a setback when Black picked up a second booking for a rash challenge and substitute Callum Home almost won it for Peterhead in stoppage time, but was denied by a smart stop from Antell.

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Edinburgh City: Antell, Thomson, L Henderson, Balatoni, Rodger, Black, Laird, Smith, Taylor (Watson 55), Shepherd. B Henderson. Subs: Morton, Beveridge, Hall, Kennedy, Lumsden, Galbraith.

Peterhead: Fleming, Brown, Dunlop, Stevenson, Brown, Leitch, McLean, Dow, Gibson, McAllister (Home 89), Kavanagh. Subs: Gibson, Eadie, Ferry, McCracken.

Referee: Steven Reid.

Attendance: 455.