Gray day lights up city derby

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Edinburgh City 2

Edinburgh University 4

A COMBINATION of shrewd substitutions by the Edinburgh University head coach Douglas Samuel and two exceptional goals from striker Mike Gray saw the students recover from a 2-0 deficit at half-time to gain all three points in an enthralling contest at Meadowbank Stadium.

The quality of play from both sides belied their lowly positions in the Central Taxis Premier Division and it is nigh impossible to envisage that either of these two teams could find themselves fighting relegation come the latter part of the season.

Gray said: “I won’t score many better goals than these two. It is a massive three points for us because we had not won a league game since the first day of the season.

And Samuel added: “On the balance of play in the first half the score flattered City and it was disappointing to go in two down from set pieces. We started the second half well and got ourselves on to the front foot. I thought it was the right time to go 4-2-4 and we had every attacking player in our squad on the pitch at the same time.

“The confidence oozed through the guys when we scored our first goal Mike’s vision and execution of his second goal was excellent. We now need to try to back this result up with another win.”

The students had chances before former student, Andy Howat, hit a 25 yard free kick onto the bar then City did take the lead in the 15th minute via the penalty spot as Struan Scott-Woodhouse was adjudged to have pushed Ruaraidh Scott. Douglas Gair converted the resultant penalty.

Ten minutes later Scott-Woodhouse was again guilty of another push, this time on Miles Hunter, some 25 yards from goal and up stepped Shaun Harrison to place the ball into an unstoppable position in the top left hand corner. The scoreline was slightly against the run of play and soon afterwards Olli Vakalla hit the City crossbar with a header.

The second half started with the University on the attack when Jack Beacher fired over from close range, Gair brought out a good save from Andrew Stobie, Beacher headed wide and Craigen lifted an effort over the target.

City’s Harrison was injured in the 57th minute and had to leave the pitch while at the same time Samuel made a triple substitution.

The introduction of Gray was to prove a pivotal moment because, within two minutes of his arrival, he bulleted a superbly delivered Mark Gair corner into the net. The University were now playing with four strikers against a hesitant City defence and a 40 yard free kick from Mark Gair deceived everyone in the City penalty box and the ball bounced behind Stobie for only Gair’s second goal in four seasons.

Two minutes later the students took the lead when a quickly taken free kick from Craigen found Gray. He slipped the ball into the path of Dan Ward who rattled home in a shot from 20 yards.

In the final minute the University’s mission was completed when Gray, some 30 yards from goal, looked up and saw Stobie off his goal-line and his accurate dink floated serenely into the net to earn the students all three points.

Gary Jardine, City’s co-manager, said: “The changing point in the game was Shaun Harrison going off as we did not have a centre half to replace him. We sort of retreated and got deeper and deeper.”

Edinburgh City: Stobie, Vanson, Cennerazzo, Harrison (Dick 57), Scott, McFarland, Hunter, Gair, Devlin (Melon 85), Torrance (MacFarlane 46), Howat. Subs: Guthrie, MacKintosh.

Edinburgh University: Tait, Scott-Woodhouse, Gair, Cathcart (Frain 57), Main, Vakalla, Moosavi, Rawlinson (Gray 57), Beacher (Chattergee 57), Craigen, Ward. Subs: Brownie, Murray.

Referee: Daid Somers.