Edinburgh City 4-0 Stenhousemuir: Citizens send out warning to league leaders
'Big win' for James McDonaugh's men as they try to chase down Cove Rangers
Edinburgh City sent out a warning to League Two leaders Cove Rangers with a thumping 4-0 victory over ten-man Stenhousemuir.
In truth, the Warriors, who were still smarting from their Scottish Cup exit to East of Scotland League outfit Penicuik Athletic, were lucky to escape Ainslie Park with just a four-goal defeat.
James McDonaugh’s side were impressive over the course of the 90 minutes, two up inside the opening 11 minutes through Scott Shepherd and Conrad Balatoni. Second-half goals from Aidan Wilson and Danny Handling ensured the Citizens remain just three points adrift of Paul Hartley’s men.
City leapfrog Cowdenbeath into second place on goal difference after the Blue Brazil were held to a goalless draw at Stirling Albion.
“I actually thought we were better against 11 men than ten in the first half,” McDonaugh said. “But I thought we were really good after the break and the boys deserve a lot of credit. We’ve scored four goals and kept a clean sheet so we couldn’t really ask for much more. The first goal was a brilliant team goal and you’ll also not see many Balatoni volleys.
“We’ve got to respect the opposition and they tightened things up which made it hard for us to get through at times. We really didn’t want to fall six points behind Cove so it’s a big win for us.
“It’s been 24 days since our last league game so that’s a long time to go at this level. We now need to recover and get ready for a tough trip to Brechin on Saturday. We want to get another run going and see where it takes us.”
The hosts burst into life when the energetic Robbie McIntyre’s deep cross to the back post was expertly placed back across goal by Wilson, and there was Shepherd to clip the ball into the bottom corner.
City doubled their advantage just three minutes later when, following a venomous Handling effort that required the fingertips of former Hibs goalkeeper Graeme Smith to keep it out, Jordan Sinclair’s inch-perfect corner was volleyed home by Balatoni.
Midway through the half, Davie Irons team’s task got even harder when Alan Cook picked up his second booking for a rash challenge on Marc Laird. Harris quickly tried his luck from distance that again required the intervention of Smith as City chased a third.
Handling almost burst the net with a rasping 25-yard drive that took a deflection as it grazed the top of the crossbar 11 minutes after the restart.
However, from the resulting Sinclair corner, Wilson had all the time in the world to send a header beyond Smith and put City on easy street.
Just past the hour mark, the lively Harris jinked his way into the box and laid it on a plate for Handling, who tapped home from just a couple of yards to complete the rout.
Edinburgh City: McAdams, McIntyre, Balatoni, Laird (Brown 71), Handling, Sinclair, Wilson, Kane (Smith 50), Shepherd, L Henderson, Harris (Court 76). Subs: Beveridge, B Henderson, Dunn, Watson.
Stenhousemuir: Smith, O’Neil, Marsh, Halleran (Scullion 57), McGuigan (McBride 71), Hopkirk (Potter 75), Cook, McLaughlin, M Munro, A Munro, Gibson. Subs: Dykes, Watters, Marley, Anderson.
Referee: Chris Graham.