Edinburgh City punished for sloppy defending – Jardine

Karim Belmokhtar is challenged by Aidan McIlduff. Pic: Ian Georgeson
Karim Belmokhtar is challenged by Aidan McIlduff. Pic: Ian Georgeson
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Edinburgh City boss Gary Jardine felt the scoreline was a touch harsh, but had no complaints with Peterhead taking the points after their 3-0 victory at Ainslie Park on Saturday.

Jason Brown’s opener separated the sides at the break but two late goals from Russell McLean and Scott Brown ensured all three points were heading back up the M90.

Jardine reckoned his team could have dragged themselves back into it during the second half but stressed there were positives to take despite a heavy defeat in the end.

“Peterhead dominated the first half and we are disappointed in that although they dominated, they didn’t have many chances and we’ve gifted a really poor goal,” he explained. “Indecision has cost us the first goal and the game as well.

“I thought half-time came at a good time for us. We were desperate to get there and the idea was to give it five minutes then change it and get more forwards on the park. When we brought Lewis [Allan] and Smithy [Ian Smith] on we took the game to Peterhead and for a ten-minute spell they cleared it straight to our goalie.

“3-0 was a bit harsh but when you defend like that, then you get what you deserve – it’s unacceptable, but I think the period from 50 minutes to 70-75 minutes is much more like what I want.”

City had the crossbar to thank for not going behind after just five minutes. Alan Smith’s curling effort had Calum Antell beaten all ends up, but hit the underside of the bar and bounced on the line and the keeper reacted to palm it away.

Peterhead had looked the more likely to open the scoring, and it was no surprise when they did after 20 minutes. City failed to clear their lines sufficiently, and Brown smashed the loose ball high past Antell from around 15 yards.

The hosts eventually worked a shooting opportunity for themselves when Ashley Grimes teed up Marc Laird, but his first-time effort was directed well wide of Greg Fleming’s goal.

Marc Lawrence should have doubled the advantage when Stuart Morrison was short with a header back to Antell, but he could only help the ball into the goalkeeper’s arms from close range.

It was an improved City that emerged after the break, but they still struggled to properly trouble Fleming. He finally was forced into a save on 73 minutes, but easily gathered Ashley Grimes’ near post volley. Ian Smith’s shot across goal minutes later was just as simple.

There were strong claims for a penalty when Marc Laird looked to have been brought down in the Peterhead box as he tried to control a bouncing ball, but referee Steven Kirkland ignored them.

Any hopes of Jardine’s side getting anything out of the game late on were extinguished after two goals in quick succession. Willie Gibson’s deep free-kick was finished by McLean before Scott Brown tapped in the rebound after a smart stop by Antell.

Jardine also felt his team should have had the second-half penalty they claimed. “At 1-0 it’s a stonewall penalty on Marc Laird,” he insisted. “I’d like to see it again, but I’m pretty sure from where I was he was taken out and at that stage of the game it would probably have been what we deserved, to take it to one-all.

“The game overall is a big learn for our young guys though. Stuart Morrison at centre-half playing against Rory McAllister was bumped and bruised, and he’ll take a lot from that. Peterhead were worthy winners though. They defended well and were very professional in their approach.”

Edinburgh City: Antell, Caddow, Laird, Thomson, Belmokhtar (Malin 84), Grimes, Rodger, Tena, Dunn (I Smith 55), Blake (Allan 55), Morrison.

Peterhead: Fleming, J Brown, Robertson, S Brown, McIlduff, Leitch (Ferry 79), Stevenson, Lawrence (Adams 72), McAllister, A Smith (McLean 65), Gibson.

Referee: Steven Kirkland

• EDINBURGH CITY have been drawn to play League Two rivals Stenhousemuir at home in the second round of the William Hill Scottish Cup. The match will be played the weekend of October 14.