Edinburgh City 1-3 Dumbarton: All to do in League One play-off
Edinburgh City have it all to do if they are to make the step into League One next season after a first leg 3-1 defeat to Dumbarton.
A trio of second-half goals from the Sons wiped out the Capital men's first-half advantage at Ainslie Park, the hosts having assumed the lead right on the stroke of half-time courtesy of Robbie McIntyre’s fine strike.
Gary Naysmith’s men must now overturn a two-goal deficit in Thursday’s second leg at the C&G Systems Stadium if they are to have any chance of earning promotion to Scottish football’s third tier.
The Citizens have received plenty backing from a hardcore select despite the absence of supporters this season. Those who do come along elect to stand on top of two garage roofs and they were again vocal as both teams made their way on to the park.
Naysmith made just one change from the side that prevailed over Elgin in last Tuesday’s semi-final second leg, Liam Henderson taking his place at the heart of the defence at the expense of the injured Callum Crane.
After a cagey opening ten minutes, it was the Sons who had the first real sight of goal. A quick move down the right left the home defence short in numbers and that afforded Adam Frizzell a chance to weigh up his options. The winger fancied his chances of glory himself but miscued his effort wide of Calum Antell’s right-hand post.
Antell had to be alert to turn a rasping Nick McAllister drive from distance around the post moments later but City grew in confidence as the half wore on.
The visitors’ physicality was a clear advantage in some areas of the pitch but City’s quick thinking and one-touch movement was proving a leveller.
And they got their noses in front 60 seconds before the interval. The home side cleverly worked the ball from right to left and with one touch, full-back McIntyre’s low-driven effort went through a host of players before nestling into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
Antell was called into action right at the start of the second half, Ross Forbes seeing his curling effort from the angle of the box punched clear.
However, the Welshman was left helpless as the Sons drew level seven minutes after the restart. Forbes' trickery created enough space to send an angled cross into the box and Ryan McGeever got the deftest of touches to score.
City were now struggling to land a glove on their opponents as Jim Duffy’s men continued to push forward at every opportunity.
And they turned the tie on its head with a second midway through the half as Tomas Brindley picked up a loose ball to net from close range following a Forbes effort that was parried by Antell.
Naysmith introduced attacking duo Rafa De Vita and Blair Henderson into the fray but it was the visitors who took a giant step towards preserving their League One status when Morgyn Neill powered home a header from another Forbes cross.
Edinburgh City: Antell, Thomson, McIntyre, Hamilton, L Henderson, Brown, Black (De Vita 72), Jardine, Handling (B Henderson 80), Campbell, See. Subs: Goodfellow, Balatoni, Dishington, Denham, Harris.
Dumbarton: Ramsbottom, Quitongo, Neill, Forbes, Carswell, McGeever, Frizzell (Wallace 84), Brindley, Jones (Omar 86), McAllister, Wedderburn. Subs: Barclay, Duthie, Langan.