Signs of progress but Edinburgh City still firing blanks

Craig Beattie tries to spark something against Annan. Pic: Andrew O'Brien
Craig Beattie tries to spark something against Annan. Pic: Andrew O'Brien
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James McDonaugh’s wait goes on for a first win as Edinburgh City manager, but believes he is seeing enough from his team to remain positive despite this home defeat.

Aidan Smith’s second-half penalty for Annan Athletic was enough to take all three points back to the Solway Firth in a game that provided little entertainment on ‘Ladies Day’ at Ainslie Park.

“It was frustrating and I don’t think we deserved to lose the game,” said McDonaugh. “I don’t think there was anything between the two teams. It’s been won with a penalty kick, so we’ve got to give Annan credit and congratulate them on their win. I think we’ve made a lot of improvements but there’s still more to be made.

“I certainly think we could have worked their keeper a lot more. I don’t recall him making many saves, but I think we had at least three of four opportunities to score. We maybe snatched at things and lacked a wee bit of composure in front of goal, but I certainly think we played better football and in the main were quite well organised.

“The goals for and goals against column is a concern and when you fix both problems you’ve got a winning team. It’s trying to fix certain things at certain stages.

“We’re on the right road. It’s two defeats in two games but when you look at it, it’s a wide free-kick and a penalty we’ve conceded from. It’s been fine margins. Be a wee bit tidier at either end of the pitch and it’ll turn for us.”

The first real clear opportunity for either team came after 15 minutes. Craig Thomson’s driven cross from the right was met by Craig Beattie, but his downward header was straight at Jim Atkinson in the Annan goal.

The visitors were inches from taking the lead on 20 minutes when Jack Brannan picked out Dan Orsi at the back post, and he was unlucky to see his side-foot volley clip the bar.

Orsi came even closer on the half-hour when only a fine stop from Antell denied him, tipping his goal-bound shot on to the post.

City began dominating the ball as the half wore on, and some neat interplay between Josh Walker and Ashley grimes gave Marc Laird a shooting chance, but he didn’t catch it right and Atkinson was able to gather.

A smart one-two between Rabin Omar and Smith after the restart gave the former a sight of goal, but Gareth Rodger was alert to slide in and block his shot before Antell was required to make a save.

Sharp play at the other ended resulted in Beattie collecting the ball and aiming for the top corner, but his left-foot effort curled narrowly over.

It was increasingly obvious that any goals were going to come from either a mistake or a set-piece, and that was the case when Andrew Blake hauled down Scott Roberts to concede a penalty with just under 20 minutes to go. Smith stepped up and sent Antell the wrong way to give his side the win.

Opposite number Peter Murphy felt his side deserved their win. “Edinburgh City are well organised and gave us a tough game,” he said. “I think overall we shaded it though with thew chances that we had. I know it’s a penalty in the end, but we’ve hit the post twice. I thought the goal was coming.”

Edinburgh City: Antell, Walker, Laird, Thomson, Beattie (I Smith 82), Grimes, Hall (McKee 33), Rodger, Blake (Allan 80), Tena, Morrison.

Annan Athletic: Atkinson, Hooper, Brannan, Moxon, Watson, Swinglehurst, Orsi (Luke 65), Sinnamon, A Smith, Omar, Roberts (Henderson 84).