Edinburgh City 1 Stenhousemuir 0: Brian Schwake the hero as Friday night experiment off to a winning start
There was Friday-night delight for Edinburgh City as teenage goalkeeper Brian Schwake produced a heroic display to help Gary Naysmith’s side climb off the bottom of League Two.
Ryan Shanley scored the only goal of a tight and tense encounter on a sunny evening at Ainslie Park. But it was 19-year-old Schwake, on loan from Livingston, who stole the show on his first start for the Capital club as he made a string of fine saves - including a second-half block from a Thomas Orr penalty - to ensure City held on for a much-needed first league victory of the season.
“I think Brian had one of those nights keepers sometimes have where Stenny could have played all night and not scored,” said a delighted Naysmith. “Stenny will be disappointed they didn’t take anything because there wasn’t a lot between the teams but after the start we had to the season, it was just about making sure we got that first win. I’m delighted for the players because they showed a real resilience to make sure the ball didn’t go into our net.”
Having kicked off their League Two campaign by failing to score in successive away defeats to Albion Rovers and Forfar, City were hoping to use their first home game of the season to get off and running. In addition, the ambitious Capital club, who are playing their home matches on Friday nights this term in an effort to attract new supporters, were intent on impressing any curious interlopers enough to tempt them back on a more regular basis. Among those in an attendance of 313 was former Hibs captain Kevin Thomson, whose Kelly Hearts side host City next weekend.
Schwake, who made his debut as a substitute for the injured Ryan Goodfellow at Forfar last weekend, was given his first start and the teenager set the tone for the night after just two minutes when he dealt well with a low strike from Orr.
The home side’s first chance came after ten minutes when Callum Crane saw a powerful strike from the edge of the box pushed away by Stenhousemuir keeper Ryan Marshall.
The visitors had a strong penalty claim waved away after Euan O’Reilly tumbled in the box under a challenge from Robbie McIntyre before Stenny captain Sean Crighton sent a free header over the bar.
Schwake then made a brilliant save in the 18th minute when he dived to his left to tip behind a swerving 30-yard strike from Bernard Coll. The Warriors were cranking up the pressure and midway through the first half Crighton saw a powerful effort from 15 yards out deflected just over.
After weathering the early storm, the hosts started to feel their way into the match and they got themselves in front when Ryan Shanley nicked possession from Nicholas Jamieson wide on the left, burst into the box and sent a low angled shot beyond Marshall. Almost immediately, Schwake made a fine save to stop Orr equalising.
The young keeper proved his worth again two minutes after the break when he saved Orr’s penalty after the Stenny striker had been taken down by Lewis Toshney. Orr was left frustrated once more in the 63rd minute when his low shot ran agonisingly wide of the far post.
At the other end, Robertson spurned a golden chance to seal victory for City when he shot wide after getting in behind the away defence, and it made for a nervy finale. Stenny piled on the pressure in the closing stages, but City - and particularly their impressive goalkeeper - stood firm.