Edinburgh City boss furious at ‘naive’ defending in home loss

Farid El Alagui slipped as he took the penalty in the second half. Pics: Jon Savage
Farid El Alagui slipped as he took the penalty in the second half. Pics: Jon Savage
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Edinburgh City manager James McDonaugh was left rueing a second-half penalty slip from Farid El Alagui after they went down 2-1 at home to Stenhousemuir.

Marc Laird’s first goal of the season cancelled out Harry Paton’s opener before Mark McGuigan sent Stenny in 2-1 ahead at half-time.

Marc Laird side-foots home to make it 1-1

Marc Laird side-foots home to make it 1-1

The Warriors were fortunate it stayed that way after the former Hibs striker lost his footing when striking the ball from 12 yards and skying his spot-kick, which summed up how things have been going for City in recent weeks.

“It’s hard to control yourself doing an interview without actually saying what you actually feel,” said a clearly frustrated McDonaugh. “It’s incredible. If somebody had said you’d be nine games without a win [since taking the job] I would’ve said ‘no danger’.

“But the players need to take a long hard look at themselves – it’s as simple as that. The game was lost in the first half. Our reaction in the second half was good but they need to show a bit more about themselves in the first half. The penalty does just sum it up.

“We hadn’t played well but got ourselves to 1-1 and we didn’t deserve to be 1-1. Instead of saying ‘right, we’ve rode our luck a wee bit’ and get back in the game, we didn’t. Their main goalscorer is standing on his own in the middle of the box and that just shows how naive we are.”

Stenny created the first opportunity when Ruaridh Donaldson reached the byeline from left-back and cut back for David Marsh, who was off balance as he turned it wide.

Mark McGuigan should have opened the scoring after City’s claims for offside were ignored, but his powerful volley was a bit close to goalkeeper Calum Antell, who saved well.

At the other end, Chris Smith was able to wave Scott Shepherd’s shot across goal wide after Ashley Grimes had put him in behind.

City will be disappointed in the manner of the opening goal. Paton was able to ride two attempted challenges in the box to then cut inside and drill low past Antell.

The Canadian was denied a second soon after when Antell showed good agility to get down and tip his left-foot shot wide of the near post.

The hosts responded with a period of pressure that brought an equaliser. A Craig Thomson corner wasn’t properly cleared, and Laird was able to bring the ball down and find the bottom corner with a deliberately-placed side-foot shot from 20 yards.

Parity didn’t lost long, however, as McGuigan was able to take a touch in the box before dispatching past Antell to restore Stenny’s lead.

City should have levelled again on the hour when they were awarded a penalty after a foul on Shepherd by Ross Dunlop, who was only shown a yellow despite shouts for him to be dismissed. Taker El Alagui won’t want to see his effort again, however, after he slipped and sent the ball high over the bar.

They kept pushing for a second equaliser, and Smith kept out Josh Walker’s late drive in an unorthodox yet effective fashion.

The keeper then spilled a dipping Craig Thomson shot that was cleared just before Lewis Allan could tap home from two yards.

Stenny boss Brown Ferguson disagreed strongly with the penalty award, but admitted his side got lucky when it wasn’t converted. “Second half, in fairness to Edinburgh, they came at us,” he said. “For me, it’s never a penalty in my opinion, however, once it’s been given, I’d probably turn round and say that’s the first team we’ve dodged a bullet this season.”

Edinburgh City: Antell, Caddow, McKee (Allan 66), Walker, Laird, Thomson, Grimes, Henderson, El Alagui (Malin 77), Shepherd (Olanrewaju 82), Morrison.

Stenhousemuir: Smith, Meechan, M Dunlop, R Dunlop, Donaldson, Marsh, McGuigan (Longworth 90), Ferry, Scott (McMenamin 77), Paton (Paterson 83), Cook.

Referee: Gavin Ross

Attendance: 271