Ashley Grimes could be forgiven for wanting to play Berwick Rangers every week after a third goal in two games against them brought Edinburgh City a first win of the season.
Grimes’ wonderful early free-kick was enough to give the Capital side a 1-0 victory – their first in five attempts – and marked only their second league goal of the campaign.
“I’ve had that over my career with teams back in England – sometimes you just enjoy playing against certain teams,” smiled the Mancunian. “It’s just one of those things, but I’m delighted to get the three points. I’m really, really happy for the manager and for all the lads. A clean sheet as well – the back four and the goalie were outstanding so I’m really pleased.
“It was nice to score first for a change and give us something to defend and something to hold on to, so I was really happy with the strike. Me and Beats [Craig Beattie] had a little discussion and I said ‘please can I take it Beats?’ so I was glad it went in.”
Claims from manager Gary Jardine and Grimes, pictured below, that the international break had helped City were backed up immediately as they got off to the perfect start after 90 seconds. Referee Lorraine Watson – the first woman ever to take charge of a senior Scottish match – awarded a foul for a trip on Beattie on the edge of the area. Grimes duly whipped the ball past the helpless Robby McCrorie to put City ahead.
Ian Smith then fashioned a chance for himself soon after with some clever footwork, but sent his volley straight at McCrorie from a tight angle.
The Wee Gers were hanging on in the early stages, and McCrory was required again to stop a hooked Grimes volley.
Despite that, the visitors spurned a gilt-edged chance to level. Michael McKenna was put clean through, but opted to try and round debutant goalkeeper Fraser Morton rather than shoot first time, and the young stopper did brilliantly to read the striker’s intentions and smother his attempt.
City had Morton to thank again for keeping them ahead when a deflected shot fell nicely for McKenna, but the keeper was quickly off his line to close the angle and divert the ball wide for a corner.
A backs-to-the-wall defensive effort was required for City to see it out, and Pat Scullion failing to connect wth a back-post header put paid to Berwick’s chances of a leveller as Jardine’s men held on.
“It’s a relief but there’s also a but of pride in there,” said the delighted City boss. “It’s not easy. We know that from the ten games last season and we’ve been reminded of it time after time. While it’s still early and there’s nothing to worry about after four or five games, it’s nice. We’ve spoken about when you get ahead in a game, you maybe see a different side of the players. We had a lot of young boys in there and once you get to about sixty minutes you have to hang on. While it wasn’t pretty, I’m proud of the efforts to put their bodies on the line for the three points.”
There was also praise for young goalkeeper Morton. “Fraser was fantastic and was quite rightly man of the match,” said Jardine. “He only knew at half past one he was going to be playing when Calum [Antell] phoned in sick. He did well in pre-season and showed he’s good enough to play. He had the disappointment of being released by Queen of the South, but he’s done well for the 20s and now gives Calum some competition.”
Edinburgh City: Morton, Laird, Malin (Mackie 62), Beattie, Grimes (Olanrewaju 75), Rodger, Smith (Hall 86), Dunn, Blake, Morrison, Caddow.
Berwick Rangers: McCrorie, Notman, McKinlay, Lavery, McKenna (Thomson 74), Philips, Stewart, McDonald (Iriving 70), Murrell (Rutherford 62), Godinho, Scullion.
Referee: Lorraine Watson