Edinburgh City gave themselves the perfect fillip ahead of tonight’s William Hill Scottish Cup third round replay against East Fife by lifting themselves off the bottom of League Two with an impressive 1-0 victory at Arbroath.
Ouzy See’s late goal hauled the Meadowbank club up to eighth in the table, extending their unbeaten run to eight games in all competitions.
“Winning games of football isn’t easy, and neither is getting off the bottom of the league,” said manager Gary Jardine after Saturday’s triumph. “We’ve had opportunities in the last few weeks to get off the bottom – we drew with Cowdenbeath when we felt we could’ve done better, but that’s a huge boost for us. While we’ve played more games than others, we’ll just keep chipping away and doing our thing.
“Of course we can go back down there – football’s like that – but it’s a huge boost and that was the challenge that was set at the beginning of the game.”
See almost netted early after he pounced on a short throw-in back to Colin Hamilton before bearing down on goal and firing across Ricky Gomes, but the home keeper was equal to it and pushed it away. Arbroath couldn’t clear though, and Gordon Donaldson bundled the ball home, only to be denied by the offside flag when referee Kevin Graham and his near side assistant eventually decided to rule it out.
Hamilton then got caught under his own attempted clearance, allowing Mark McConnell to roll him and hit the bouncing ball, but Gomes was down well to his right to parry behind. See thought he’d scored from the resulting corner, only for his powerful header to be cleared off the line by David Gold.
Second-half sub Josh Skelly attempted to catch Andrew Stobie off the his line after a lofted ball in behind, but sent his lob well over. Captain Kevin Whatley sent in a dipping drive from distance, and Stobie did well to get down and palm it to safety.
City scrambled their winner with nine minutes left. Dougie Gair’s corner was sent back in by Sean Muhsin and turned across goal by Ross Allum. See was able to control and got just enough on his shot to force it past Gomes.
The same combination almost forced a second, Gold volleying just wide of his own goal with See lurking following an Allum cross. The resulting corner fell to Gair, who’s left-foot strike crashed back off the underside of the bar.
Former Hibs man Martin Scott somehow managed not to equalise at the other end, spinning and firing wide with Stobie rooted to the spot and the goal gaping.
Allum was then just as guilty in not sealing the points, firing straight at Gomes after See had put him clean through.
City don’t have long to enjoy their more lofty position, with tonight’s game coming just 48 hours later – the SFA demanding it be played before the originally scheduled date on Wednesday. “It’s a shocker for us,” Jardine admitted. “It’s coupled with East Fife not having a game at the weekend. We’ll have a look and see who’s fit. We’ve got Aaron [Dunsmore] and Porto [Ryan Porteous] to come back in, so we can freshen it up a wee bit.”
Jardine believes tonight being Gary Naysmith’s final game before taking charge of Queen of the South makes things tougher for his team. “I think it’ll be a hindrance,” he added. “He’s got a great affinity with his players, a great bond that got them promoted and they’ll want to see their gaffer go out on a high.”
Arbroath: Gomes, Gold, Sukar, Dunlop, Hamilton, Whitely, Kader (Prunty 79), McCord (Skelly 45), Doris (Malin 79), Scott, Linn.
Edinburgh City: Stobie, Caddow, Donaldson (Gair 81), McConnell (Muhsin 67), Laird, McKee, McFarland (Allum 74), Mbu, See, Dunn, Cummings.
Referee: K Graham.