Edinburgh City boss Gary Jardine felt his team were back to their usual selves as they completed a Lowland League derby double over Spartans with a 2-0 win at Meadowbank.
An Ortega Deniran header and Ross Allum’s penalty in the first half gave the champions an unassailable lead over the Ainslie Park side, who had Alan Brown sent off after the break when he received a second yellow for dissent.
Jardine was pleased with the way his players responded to last week’s 5-0 South Challenge cup semi-final humbling at the hands of BSC Glasgow. “The boys were annoyed because we didn’t do well in the cup game last Saturday,” he said. “It’s probably wrong to say we’d had a slump because from the previous two league games we’d taken four points, but we took our foot off the gas a wee bit.
“That’s probably natural, but we don’t have to like it and we spoke about things we needed to do better to get back to our old selves. Despite the wind, I thought we passed it quite well and had a bit of energy about us – we deserved to win the game.
“It’s now about keeping that momentum going into the play-offs – keeping everybody fresh and sharp. You don’t know when Player A or Player B will be needed, so we’ll keep them fresh and try a few new things in preparation for the game [against Brora Rangers] in a fortnight.”
Spartans were unfortunate to take the lead within five minutes. Donal Henretty’s flick found Dean Horribine, and the former Hibs youngster saw his effort deflected over for a corner.
The No.7 threatened again soon after. Gary Cennerazzo turned John MacDonald before picking out Horribine with a cut back, but his shot was higher than the previous effort and flew over.
City then woke up and took the lead on 27 minutes. Arron James, recently re-signed from Forfar, sent in a pin-point cross from the left and Ortega Deniran rose to head powerfully past Swain, which was followed by vociferous claims for offside from the Spartans defence.
City were visibly lifted by the goal and were inches away from doubling their lead when Allum teed up Grant Vanson, and his first-time effort struck the far post with Swain beaten. Allum then hit the same post after Deniran had scooped a wonderful pass over the top and his strike partner was desperately unlucky to see his side-foot volley strike the woodwork.
The City strikers were heavily involved as City scored a second three minutes before half-time. Deniran was caught late in the box by Motion and ref Paul Reid had little option but to award a spot-kick. Allum stepped up and smashed it high into the net beyond Swain.
Half-time sub Errol Douglas became the third player to strike the same post with a header from Cennerazzo’s deep delivery on five minutes. An uphill struggle then got even tougher for the visitors when Alan Brown was shown a second yellow card for dissent. They had Swain to thank for keeping the score at 2-0 when he saved well from Allum after he was played in by McFarland.
Spartans manager Dougie Samuel felt the first goal was key. “I thought we started quite well but the first goal completely changed the game. It gave them a huge boost, and for us probably injected a bit of self-doubt. After half-time we started really well again, and if Errol’s header goes in it might be different. But once Hovie [Brown] is sent off it’s game over.”
Edinburgh City: Stobie, James, Harrison, Allum, McKee, Vanson (McConnell 46), McFarland (Torrance 85), Deniran, Dunn, MacDonald, Mbu.
Spartans: Swain, Cennerazzo, Malone (Beesley 78), Sivewright, Mackinnon, Motion (Stevenson 46), Horribine, Grant (Douglas 25), Henretty, Sludden, Brown.