Edinburgh City boss happy with a point as League Two title race heats up

City's Danny Galbraith battles with Peterhead's Scott Brown. Pic: Duncan Brown
City's Danny Galbraith battles with Peterhead's Scott Brown. Pic: Duncan Brown
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Edinburgh City boss James McDonaugh hailed his defence as Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Peterhead helped the Capital side maintain their four-point lead at the top of Ladbrokes League Two.

The division’s top two battled out a draw in a match hampered by high winds but the visitors left Balmoor happier with the share of the spoils.

The Citizens have racked up 11 clean sheets in 24 league fixtures and McDonaugh was delighted to see his troops keep things tight at the back.

He said: “I’m reasonably happy with the point. That’s three times we’ve played them and got five points. It was important that we didn’t give them a confidence boost of a victory and we managed that.

“That’s 11 clean sheets out of 24 games so that is a pretty exceptional return. We haven’t had one for a while so it was good to get that aspect of our game back again.

“It was the type of game that if you aren’t playing well you can easily lose a goal but we were well organised and defended solidly and were determined not to concede.”

While the top two were battling out their draw, third-placed Clyde were being held to a 1-1 draw at Annan, a result that leaves them six points behind City although, like Peterhead, they have two games in hand on the leaders.

McDonaugh continued: “I think Clyde are a side to watch as everyone seems to just be talking about Peterhead and ourselves but we need to be careful that they don’t go on a run and nick it.

“We have 52 points compared to 30 for the whole of last season with a third of the season to go so we are enjoying that and pushing teams like Peterhead.

“It wasn’t a great game. I don’t think the conditions helped.

“The pitch looked in great condition but the wind made good football impossible. The teams were even, we had a good chance, and so did they and a goalless draw was probably about right.

“I won’t be watching the DVD, though, in fact I wouldn’t even use it to put my cup of tea down on!”

Peterhead, who had new signings Shane Sutherland and Paul Willis in the squad, were aiming for their first three points of the season against City. They should have taken a second-minute lead. Top scorer and club captain Rory McAllister sped down the right, cut inside then laid the ball into the path of Jack Leitch but he dragged his shot wide of the right-hand post from the edge of the penalty area.

The wind almost led to a City opener in the ninth minute. A Robbie McIntyre corner from the right probably wasn’t intended as an effort on goal but was blown in that direction with goalkeeper Greig Fleming having to react smartly to snatch the ball as it headed towards the net.

The Blue Toon response was immediate with Jamie Stevenson firing over after more good play from McAllister.

City had a real chance after 22 minutes, some nice link-up play seeing Scott Shepherd slip the ball into the path of Jack Breen but, just as namesake Leitch had done earlier, he dragged his shot wide of the post. A great opportunity wasted.

Almost on the half-time whistle, City’s Jack Breen appeared to be nudged over by Jason Brown as he bore in on goal but no penalty was given.

The second half started with the home side applying some early pressure as the swirling wind was joined by dazzling sunshine but City soon took over and looked dangerous as they kept their hosts pinned back.

But Peterhead had the best effort of the half just after the hour, Ryan Dow crossing from the left side of the penalty area for Sutherland but a timely challenge from Conrad Ballatoni took the pace out of the shot making for an easy save for Calum Antell.

Sutherland attempted to chip Ansell soon after from the edge of the area but the ball drifted over the crossbar then defender Micky Dunlop headed over from a Jamie Stevenson corner as the game ended in stalemate.

Peterhead boss Jim McInally wasn’t impressed by the spectacle but, like City counterpart McDonaugh, admitted the conditions didn’t help either side.

“It was brutal in the second half – it was as bad a game as I’ve seen in a long time,” said McInally.

“I know the wind was blowing and it was sort of across the park which didn’t help. I said to our players at half-time that they weren’t brave enough to do the extra wee bit that was needed.

“You could see it in them at times when they are were playing with an element of safety.

“In the final third in the first half we got into good positions but made bad decisions.”

Peterhead: Fleming, Stevenson, Boyle, Dunlop, J Brown, Gibson (Lyle 65), Leitch, S Brown, Dow, Sutherland (Willis 67) McAllister Unused subs: Henderson. Ferry. Home. Eadie. Willox.

Edinburgh City: Antell, Thomson, McIntyre, Black, Balatoni, Laird, Smith (Taylor 65), L Henderson, B Henderson, Shepherd, Breen (Galbraith 46) (Rodger 90). Unused subs: Walker, Donaldson, Watson, Morton.

Referee: Mike Roncone.

Attendance: 725.