James McDonaugh was left rueing a costly Craig Beattie error that gave Stenhousemuir all three points in their 1-0 win over Edinburgh City.
Mark McGuigan capitalised when the former Scotland internationalist played a back pass to Calum Antell without looking, gifting possession to McGuigan for the only goal.
“Craig’s been great for us and he’s an experienced guy,” said McDonaugh. “I just think it was uncharacteristic. He’s held his hand up right away – what can you do?
“We started the game brilliantly. We had a shot within ten seconds – I looked at my watch and thought it would have been one of the quickest goals in Scottish football. We had good chances in the first 12 minutes and Scott Shepherd’s unlucky with a good volley. Three decent chances then they get a goal and the game changes.”
That quickfire chance would have been the perfect start. Josh Walker strode forward and hit a left-foot drive that struck Scott Shepherd’s back, and Lewis McMinn had to get down sharply to his left to prevent it deflecting into the bottom corner.
The Stenny keeper was called into action again when Walker skipped past several challenges in the box and set up Dunn, but his effort was held at the near post.
All the chances were being created by the visitors in the early stages, and Shepherd was desperately unlucky to see his brilliantly struck volley from distance come back off the post with McMinn well beaten.
After such a positive start, City shot themselves in the foot with Beattie’s mistake which allowed McGuigan to round Antell and steer home from a tight angle.
That understandably threw City off their rhythm, although they somehow failed to level right on half-time when Walker’s corner was turned against the post by Pat Scullion from a yard out, although in fairness it was all he could do to let the ball bounce off him.
City began the second 45 on the front foot, and Stuart Morrison’s cross almost caught out McMinn, who did well to backpedal and tip it over the bar to prevent it dropping in.
The resulting corner was cleared then sent back in to the area by Walker. Farid El Alagui beat McMinn to the jump, but couldn’t keep his header down with the goal empty.
The Warriors were still searching for a second to put the game to bed, and a looping McGuigan volley wasn’t too far over Antell’s cross bar.
Captain Michael Dunlop nearly made sure of the points late on with a deflected effort that Antell did well to divert over.
Not for the first time this season, McDonaugh was disappointed that some players missed the game for what he felt weren’t acceptable reasons. “I probably shouldn’t go in to it, but we had players missing for reasons you would not believe,” he said. “They’re missing their football on a Saturday for reasons that, as a manger, I find hard to understand.
“We’ve got what we’ve got, games are running down now and the gap stays the same. That’s all we need to look at. It’s easy to be critical and complain, but we’ll pick the players up through the week.”
Defender Stuart Morrison’s season could be over after suffering a potential broken ankle. “He got a bad one and I think it’s a possible fracture,” McDonaugh explained. “It’s another player down for us, but it is what it is.”
Stenhousemuir: McMinn, Meechan, M Dunlop, R Dunlop, Donaldson, Ferry, McGuigan, Paton, Longworth (McMenamin 82), Murray (Ferns 67), Cook (Marsh 87).
Edinburgh City: Antell, Walker, Laird, Blues, Beattie, El Alagui, Shepherd, Dunn, Garcia Tena, Morrison (Thomson 69), Scullion.
Referee: Stephen Finnie