City forced to fight back as Lothian run them close

Scott Taylor made sure Dean Carse was going nowhere as City began to impose themselves
Scott Taylor made sure Dean Carse was going nowhere as City began to impose themselves
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Edinburgh City boss Gary Jardine said he could have no complaints had his side’s South Challenge Cup second round win over Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale gone to extra time.

City came from behind to win 2-1 thanks to Sean Muhsin and a late penalty goal from Ousman See after Darren Smith scored a penalty for the visitors early in a game that was switched to Meadowbank from Saughton to ensure it went ahead.

Jardine got the tight game he was expecting against the East of Scotland champions. “It was always going to be that way” he said. “I said that during the week that they’re a good side. We know what we have to do to be successful and our success is based on hard work. It wasn’t a great game – the pitch was very sticky and it was about trying to grind it out. While the general play wasn’t great, there was quite a lot of chances.

“They missed one or two that they felt they should have scored but likewise we did too. We started well and I thought the penalty they got was really soft but after that our goalie never touched it for 20 minutes and we created a few good openings. The goal we did score was a bit scrappy but on the balance of play we deserved it.”

Lothian didn’t start like a side who had conceded home advantage, getting off to the perfect start when they were awarded a penalty within four minutes. Kevin Brown was adjudged to have been impeded following a cross from the left, and Smith stepped up to send Andrew Stobie the wrong way and give his side an early lead.

Lothian keeper Kevin Swain had to show strong hands from Gordon Donaldson’s well-hit volley, after the wing back was picked out on the angle of the box with a searching pass from Shaun Harrison. Dean Carse followed that up by sending a powerful volley narrowly over.

City were beginning to assert themselves following an indifferent start, and Ouzy See maybe should have done better than to fire a Carse knock down over from close range. The striker was even closer a minute later, sending the rebound against the post after Swain had palmed Harrison’s free kick away. The Lowland League champions were level on the half hour.

Ian McFarland’s claims for a penalty were ignored after tumbling in the area, but the ball ended up at Sean Muhsin’s feet, who’s drive from 18 yards took a huge deflection and bounced into the opposite corner from Swain’s helpless dive.

Lothian somehow contrived not to retake the lead 5 minutes after the break. Brown’s low ball found Willis Hare five yards out, who inexplicably didn’t convert, allowing Stobie to gather. Harrison was close to making City’s pressure tell just after the hour, firmly meeting McFarland’s corner with his head, but Swain was able to hold. At the other end, Stobie had to stand up well to save from Hare.

The game becoming stretched going into the last ten, with Stobie holding a MacKenzie effort from distance. However, City were given the second penalty of the game with two minutes remaining when See was felled after a clever spin. The striker picked himself up to stroke his spot kick high past Swain.

The City striker stepped up in place of suspended captain and penalty taker Dougie Gair, but was just glad to get through. “It was a really hard game” he admitted. “We dug deep and got the win in the end. Dougie’s the penalty taker, but I’m always there to step up and was more than happy to take it.”

Edinburgh City: Stobie, Carse (Vanson 74), Donaldson, Harrison, Paterson, McKee, McFarland, Muhsin, See (Wishart 90), Dunn, MacDonald.

Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale: Swain, Moore, MacKenzie, Wilkes, Crawford, Mearns, Brown, Kerr ( Cummings 64), Hare, Smith, O’Donnell (Gormley 64).