Edinburgh CITY striker Robbie Ross pounced on a short pass-back on the sticky Meadowbank surface midway through the second half and slotted the ball behind the students goalkeeper to knock the stuffing out of a University side who, at that stage of the game, were threatening to go ahead.
“It was a difficult pitch to play on and I had noticed throughout the game they had been trying to play back-passes to their goalkeeper and the ball was bobbling about,” said Ross afterwards. “I thought that I might get one chance and luckily that’s what happened.”
The goal changed the game because at that time the students were enjoying a good spell.
The first half provided very little in the way of flowing football and goalmouth action as both sides struggled to come to terms with a surface which was not conducive to attractive football. Cyrus Moosavi had an early chance for the students, but blasted his shot over the bar, while Dan Ward had a 30-yard free kick well held by Andrew Stobie. Andy Howat and Nico Gibson had good efforts both gathered comfortably by the students goalkeeper Mark Tait.
The game swung in City’s favour three minutes before half time when Ross Guthrie, at the apex of the penalty box and going nowhere, was brought down by Shawn McMaster and the referee immediately pointed to the spot. Dougie Gair wasted no time in dispatching the ball low behind Tait.
The University started the second half on the attack and deservedly equalised on the hour mark when a David Connolly cross into the penalty box found Jack Beacher with his back to goal. He controlled the ball and swivelled in an instant to fire it behind the startled Stobie.
But in the 64th minute McMaster’s short pass back allowed City’s leading goalscorer Ross to steer the ball behind Tait.
Only six minutes later a loose ball bounced around the University penalty box before Ross Guthrie strode up and hit an unstoppable rising shot from 14 yards into the roof of the net. The students battled hard to get back into the game but the City defence held firm.
Gary Jardine, the City manager, said: “To be honest I am ecstatic because the result was so much more important than our performance. I had to ask the boys at half time to kick the ball longer in our half and shorter in their half. We rolled our sleeves up after they equalised and there was also a bit of quality. I thought that our two second half goals were cracking finishes. The objective two weeks ago was to move up the league and we have done that. A Saturday night is so much better when you win!”
The disappointed Edinburgh University head coach, Dorian Ogunro, said: “That was an immensely frustrating 90 minutes. We nullified each other in the first half and the penalty we gave away was a silly mistake. My players did everything I asked from them but sloppy pieces of concentration cost us dearly and we have to rectify that situation.”
Edinburgh City: Stobie, Dingwall, Scott (Vanson 52), Torrance, McLean, Mejri (Devlin 63), Howat, Gair, Ross, Guthrie (Stenhouse 84), Gibson. Subs: Wishart, Trialist.
Edinburgh University: Tait, Cumming, Main, Hamilton, McMaster, Connolly, Willaghan (Gray 70), Ward, Beacher, Habata (Rankin 81), Moosavi. Sub: Whelan.