Edinburgh City boss James McDonaugh was delighted to round off a successful Betfred Cup campaign with a 4-2 win over higher league opponents Stranraer.
It was the SPFL League Two outfit’s first victory of the competition and sees them finish third in Group G on five points, behind winners Motherwell and Queen of the South.
The first half was a topsy-turvy affair with the Capital side twice finding themselves ahead only to be pegged back by the Stair Park men.
However, aided by a strong wind in the second half, City turned in a confident display ahead of this weekend’s League Two curtain raiser against Albion Rovers.
“It’s been a positive outcome for us to come away with five points against teams that were all ahead of us last year,” McDonaugh said. “The players deserve the credit but we’ve got to keep our feet on the ground as nothing has been achieved. We are here for the league and trying to make improvements and take the club forward. Hopefully it’s a good sign of things to come.
“Sometimes it’s a wee bit easier that you are expected to finish fifth [in the group]. But I think the players showed that we probably merited to finish in third position. It was hard with the wind to get out defensively so I think we took advantage of that in the second half and we managed it a lot better.”
One player who was missing from the City squad was captain Josh Walker and McDonaugh confirmed that the 29-year-old midfielder will visit a specialist this week to seek advice on a knee problem.
“We missed Josh Walker out there. When your captain gets ruled out at the start of the season that’s a big loss. He might need an operation so he’s going to get some advice on Wednesday.
“We’re still hoping to add to the squad. We’re hopeful of getting another signing over the line in the next few days and then take it from there.”
Robbie McIntyre got the tie off to a flying start with a sensational strike in the seventh minute. The full-back was afforded space and time to line up a shot from 25 yards and he took full advantage as the ball flew past Lyle Avci and nestled into the top corner.
At the other end Andy McDonald then saw his header turned behind by Callum Antell. However, from the resulting corner Adam Cummins’ effort was adjudged to have crossed the line despite another valiant effort from the City No.1.
Ian Smith rippled the side netting with a free kick from just outside the box as Stevie Farrell’s side grew in confidence.
However, City went ahead for a second time just after the half hour mark. Stand-in captain Craig Thomson’s sumptuous delivery from the right was met by Gareth Roger, who powered home his header.
But former Raith midfielder Grant Anderson again restored parity just 60 seconds later as his turn and shot from 12 yards went under Antell. City upped the tempo in the second 45 and goals from Thomson – a powerful effort that rebounded into the net off Avci – and Blair Henderson’s composed finish, sealed a well-deserved victory for the Citizens.
Edinburgh City: Antell, Thomson, McIntyre, Black, Balatoni, Laird, Smith, Henderson, Handling (Stewart 87), Taylor, Rodger. Subs: Morton, Hall, Dunn, Lumsden, Kennedy, McClung.
Stranraer: Avci, McGowan, McDonald, Smith, Cummins, McManus, Lamont (Elliott 68), Smith, Hamill, Donnelly (Ashmore 83), Anderson. Subs: Currie, Brownlie, Lidington.
Referee: David Dickinson