Victory sets up Edinburgh City for showdown with Cove

James McDonaugh well pleased as his team win and Rangers lose
Danny Handling sdores his penalty, one of his two goalsDanny Handling sdores his penalty, one of his two goals
Danny Handling sdores his penalty, one of his two goals

Edinburgh City boss James McDonaugh praised the response of his players after a comfortable 3-0 win over Annan Athletic closed the gap on Ladbrokes League Two leaders Cove Rangers to three points.

The Citizens ran out comfortable winners at Ainslie Park to erase the disappointment of the 1-0 defeat by Stirling Albion nine days ago, and keep their hopes of title success very much alive.

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The win over the Galabank outfit, coupled with Cove’s 3-0 loss at Elgin City, means City could draw level on points with victory over their rivals at the Balmoral Stadium on Saturday.

Danny Handling’s brace, one from the penalty spot, and a Liam Henderson strike right at the death, saw City pick up their 16th win of the campaign.

Last season’s top goalscorer and striker Blair Henderson also made his first start since the middle of December.

“I was critical of them last week but it was a really good response,” McDonaugh said. “I thought we played some good football and we handled the conditions well.

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“I couldn’t have asked for much more, three goals and a clean sheet.

“Blair should have perhaps had two but he was a wee bit unfortunate. Saturday was his first 90 minutes for a long time so it’s good to have him back in the side.”

On this weekend’s trip north to face Cove, McDonaugh added: “I think the big thing for me is if results had gone against us on Saturday and then we’d lost up there this weekend, the gap would have been 12 points so it would have been over.

“The important thing is no matter what happens this weekend we’re still in the hunt. They haven’t won their past couple of games so I expect them to come out and have a go.

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“I’ll try and pick a team that can go up there and do more justice than we did last time when we lost 5-0 on the opening day.”

Edinburgh City: Mason, Thomson, Kane, Laird (Holmes 79), B Henderson, Handling, Sinclair, Crane, L Henderson, Court (McIntyre 86), Savoury (Brown 83). Subs: Beveridge, Shepherd, Harris, Stewart.

Annan Athletic: Mitchell, Hewitt, Sonkur, Swinglehurst, Docherty, Muir, Flannigan, Holt, Watson, Clark, Nade (McLear 75). Subs: Avci, Ballantyne, Bradley, McLean, Joseph, Wilkie.

Referee: Steven Kirkland.

Attendance: 207.