Edinburgh City boss thrilled as perseverance pays off

Edinburgh City's Graham Taylor surges forward in Saturday's victory over Stirling Albion. Pic: Lisa Ferguson
Edinburgh City's Graham Taylor surges forward in Saturday's victory over Stirling Albion. Pic: Lisa Ferguson
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Edinburgh City boss James McDonaugh described his side’s 3-1 win over Stirling Albion as a “good all-round team performance”.

It was the Capital side’s second victory by that margin in four days following the Irn-Bru Cup success over Albion Rovers last Tuesday.

Despite Blair Henderson’s first-half penalty miss at Ainslie Park, City’s perseverance paid off as goals from Scott Shepherd, Conrad Balatoni and Danny Handling earned McDonaugh’s men the three points they fully deserved after Mark Stewart had briefly restored parity.

City’s second victory in SPFL League Two this season has lifted the club to fourth place, within a point of joint-leaders Peterhead, Annan Athletic and Elgin City.

“It was a good team performance,” McDonaugh said. “Games can turn so quickly but credit to the guys as when Stirling scored we grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck to go on and win it with some good goals. It’s a good three points.

“I thought we were the better team in the first half and we just had to persevere. I think we got better after the break but we played some decent stuff and managed the game well.

“It’s good to bounce back from last week’s defeat at Elgin. I know people just look at the score but in many aspects we were probably the better team up there. It’s important we stuck to our principles and the things that we’ve been doing over the last six to eight weeks and not throw it away just because we lost one game.

“It’s been a good start but it’s fine margins. Stirling Albion are a decent side and I’m sure we’ll have some good tussles with them as the season goes on. We’ve got a couple of difficult games coming up but as long as we keep making improvements then I’ll be happy.”

Craig Thomson, who has taken the captain’s armband from the injured Josh Walker, picked out the run of the lively Henderson, whose looping header forced a fingertip save from 
Albion’s No.1 Calum Ferrie.

City’s movement in the final third was beginning to cause the visitors all sorts of problems but Balatoni couldn’t direct his header on target from a Robbie McIntyre corner.

Graham Taylor’s deflected strike then fell into the path of the lurking Henderson but the striker saw another header stopped on the line by the alert Ferrie.

On 30 minutes a clumsy trip by Lee Hamilton on Handling gave Henderson the opportunity from 12 yards but the striker, who has already converted two from the spot this season, couldn’t make it a third as his tame effort was easily held by Ferrie. Team-mate Scott Shepherd made no mistake, however, a minute after the restart when he went down under a challenge from Kyle Banner and the former Falkirk man made no mistake sending Ferrie the wrong way.

Albion somehow found themselves level eight minutes later. Cameron Thomson’s cross was flicked on by Peter MacDonald and there was Stewart to steer the ball past Calum Antell, whose first real slice of the 
action was to pick the ball out of the net. Antell then stopped a goal-bound MacDonald free-kick before City restored their advantage in the 64th minute as McIntyre’s corner was headed home at the near post by Balatoni. And City wrapped up victory seven minutes later when Taylor’s teasing cross found Handling at the back post, the former Hibs player finding the net from a tight angle, although the final touch may have taken a nick off full-back Jordan Allan.

Edinburgh City: Antell, Thomson, McIntyre, Black, Balatoni, Laird (Donaldson 90), L Henderson, Shepherd, B Henderson, Handling (Stewart 74), Taylor (Smith 76). Subs: Morton, Rodger, Hall, Lumsden.

Stirling Albion: Ferrie, McGeachie, Allan, Hamilton (Young 46), Banner, Thomson (Fell 74), Stewart, Jardine, MacDonald, Docherty (McLaughlin 67), Robertson. Subs: Binnie, MacDonald, McLaren, Watson.

Referee: Steven Reid

Attendance: 302