‘Silly mistakes’ leave Edinburgh City in the mire

Edinburgh City's Mark McConnell and Gretna's Nikki White tangle for possession. Pic: Malcolm McCurrach
Edinburgh City's Mark McConnell and Gretna's Nikki White tangle for possession. Pic: Malcolm McCurrach
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EDINBURGH CITY must improve defensively if they are to have any aspirations of finishing higher than the ninth position they currently occupy in the Lowland League table.

On Saturday they succumbed to a heavy 5-1 defeat at Meadowbank, opponents Gretna 2008 leaving the Capital with a well-deserved three points.

The home side carried a threat of their own in the final third all afternoon, carving out some decent opportunities, but found themselves a goal down at the interval courtesy of David Renyard’s sixth minute opener.

With an opportunity to regroup at the break and instil a belief in his players that the three points were still there to be won, manager Gary Jardine had barely positioned himself on the touchline for the second half when Renyard stuck again with his and Gretna’s second of the afternoon.

“We cannot afford to defend the way we are and we’ve spoken about that – how hard did Gretna really have to work for their goals? It is unacceptable.

“We need to work on certain things, there’s no doubt about that, and we’re really disappointed with the way we’ve played. We want to win games of football and at the moment we’re not doing that. There are reasons for it and it’s because we’re conceding silly goals.”

Indeed, for the first goal Renyard was given time and space to cut in from the right and with the City rearguard hesitant to close the player down he had all the time to fire a low-driven effort into the bottom right corner of the net.

Gretna were threatening to add to their tally just moments later, but a great intervention from Frazer Paterson prevented Will Heaney getting his shot off on Alan Mackintosh’s goal.

An Aaron James corner from the right then had Gretna goalkeeper Graham Wright getting a tip on the ball from just under his crossbar as City began to assert some authority.

Ross Guthrie had his snap-shot blocked by Wright after clever link-up play with Peter Stenhouse, before Sam Atkinson forced a good stop from Mackintosh at the other end.

Both Ryan Wilson and Ross MacNamara were introduced into play by Jardine at the beginning of the second half, but it was Renyard once again making the greatest impact as he raced onto a long ball before cleverly lofting the ball over the advanced Mackintosh and into the net for number two after just 47 minutes.

However, substitute Wilson was proving a handful for Gretna defender Greig Thorburn with his willingness to drive at his opponent and it was from his cross that City reduced the deficit when Mark McConnell got the slightest of touches to deflect the ball into the far corner past Wright.

Wilson’s expert delivery then picked out fellow substitute MacNamara in space at the back post, but the No. 16 could only volley his effort over the bar from eight yards.

City were dealt a sucker punch after 64 minutes when the visitors added a third and with that went the hosts’ chances of taking anything from the match as Brandon Longcake simply headed in Atkinson’s corner from the left.

Heaney added some gloss to the scoreline with a superbly taken fourth 15 minutes from time when he curled in an 
exquisite free-kick from the angle of the penalty box into the top corner of Mackintosh’s net.

The same player then notched a fifth right on the stroke of full-time when Renyard rolled a pass to his team-mate through an exposed City penalty box and Heaney had time to pick his spot for number five.

Edinburgh City: Mackintosh, Caddow, James, Harrison, Paterson, McFarland, Guthrie (Wilson 46), Torrance, Gibson (Donaldson 77), Stenhouse (MacNamara 46), McConnell. Sub: Stobie.

Gretna 2008: Wright, Blake, Thorburn, Rudd, Bulman, White, Renyard (Slattery 90), Atkinson (Inglis 90), Longcake, Todd, Heaney. Sub: Underwood.