Edinburgh City power to League 2 summit with key win

Blair Henderson was on target for Edinburgh City. Pic: TSPL
Blair Henderson was on target for Edinburgh City. Pic: TSPL
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The Edinburgh City juggernaut continues as a second-half Blair Henderson header at Peterhead was enough to send the Capital outfit top of Ladbrokes League Two.

The former Stirling Albion striker continued his rich vein of form at a windy Balmoor, the 24-year-old’s close-ranger header from Graham Taylor’s cross in the 52nd minute handing City their fourth victory of the campaign. The club managed just seven wins in the entirety of last season.

There is an air of confidence about this group, that’s for sure. City aren’t here to make up the numbers this time around.

“If we’re still sitting here after 36 games then we’ll be more than happy,” manager James McDonaugh said after his side’s latest win. “We’re just happy to be up there in the mix. Whether we are two ahead or two behind we want to be in the running. We’ve had a good start, but we need to keep our feet on the ground.”

In truth, there was very little between the sides with the weather playing havoc for both sets of players. Peterhead had been the team to catch before the match got under way, having amassed ten points from their opening four games.

City goalkeeper Calum Antell was forced into a double save inside the first five minutes, thwarting seasoned-pro Derek Lyle and Jack Leitch’s follow-up.

The visitors enjoyed the majority of possession as the first half wore on but without really testing Peterhead No.1 Greg Fleming.

Robbie McIntyre’s corner, though, did force Fleming to tip over his crossbar as the ball angled towards the far top corner.

Peterhead’s Rory McAllister tried his luck straight from the restart, but his shot from inside the centre circle didn’t carry the pace to trouble Antell.

Lyle had another attempt on the City goal just before Henderson fired the Capital outfit in front.

McIntyre’s drove forward and the former East of Scotland League player picked out Scott Shepherd inside the box. The striker’s shot was initially saved by Fleming, but the ball was soon back in the danger area as the alert Taylor found Henderson with a pinpoint cross and he duly converted from just a couple of yards.

McIntyre then appeared to have a pull at the jersey of McAllister, but referee Scott Millar waved away the player’s protests.

Substitute Allan Smith’s half-volley from Henderson’s cross almost doubled the visitors’ advantage with just a couple of minutes remaining, but he pulled his effort wide.

“I’m delighted with the win, but I didn’t think there was much between the teams if I am being honest,” McDonaugh said of the nip and tuck contest. “I think if they’d scored first it would have been hard to equalise so there was nothing in the game to be fair. We’ve got great respect for Peterhead as they’re a strong team and they’ll be up there at the end of season.

“We wanted to play a wee bit more than we did. Coming here is difficult to get something so we’re over the moon to pick up the points. We’ve now won seven out ten this season so it’s a great record for a club that were a goal away from being bottom of the league last Christmas.”

Home boss Jim McInally said: “We didn’t have any quality or magic out there and our decision-making was poor. I could have subbed eight or nine players as they were all off the pace.”

Peterhead: Fleming, J Brown, Eadie, Ferry, Stevenson, S Brown, W Gibson (Home 78), Leitch, McAllister (Norris 78), Lyle, McLean (Kavanagh 63). Subs: R Gibson, McCracken, McDonald.

Edinburgh City: Antell, Thomson, McIntyre, Black, Balatoni, L Henderson, Stewart, Handling, B Henderson, Taylor (Smith 70), Shepherd (Laird 81). Subs: Rodger, Hall, Morton, Shaw, Watson.

Referee: Scott Millar.

Attendance: 560.