Brechin City 1-1 Saints (26.7.16)

Saints continued their Betfred League Cup campaign this evening when they made the trip to Angus to take on Brechin City. Tommy Wright made six changes to the side that defeated Falkirk 3-0 on Saturday as Zander Clark, Murray Davidson, Michael Coulson, Paul Paton, Chris Kane and Craig Thomson came into replace Alan Mannus, Blair Alston, Chris Millar, Steven MacLean, Danny Swanson and Graham Cummins. Brechin City, who are managed by former Saints player Darren Dods made two changes to the side that started Saturday’s 4-2 defeat at Elgin City as Finn Graham and Ross Caldwell came into replace Alan Trouten and Euan Smith.

Saints got the match underway and they created an opening on 8 minutes as Liam Craig did well to beat his man before delivering a good ball into the box when was knocked behind for a corner by former Saints player Gareth Rodger. The corner was taken by Michael Coulson however, his ball into the box was well held by Graeme Smith in the Brechin goal.

On 14 minutes a teasing cross by Murray Davidson into the box was tipped away by Smith. Then shortly after a Craig free kick was headed well over by Joe Shaughnessy.

Saints came very close to opening their account on 24 minutes as a Craig corner found Shaughnessy in the box whose powerful header was well saved on the line by Smith.

Saints continued to press for the opening goal and on 32 minutes Craig saw his curling effort from the edge of the box go inches wide. 2 minutes later Kane had a shot deflected for a corner which was well dealt with by the home defence.

With 10 minutes of the first half remaining the home side took the lead against the run of play as Chris O’Neil delivered a good ball into the box which found former Saints striker Andy Jackson who got in between Steven Anderson and Tom Scobbie to bullet a powerful header past Zander Clark.

Saints made a change at the start of the second half as Blair Alston came onto replace Craig Thomson.

Alston was very quickly involved in the action barely a minute after the restart as he linked up well with Coulson who saw his effort well saved by Smith.

On 49 minutes Murray Davidson saw his shot at goal blocked, the loose ball then fell to Craig however, his shot was deflected for a corner which was comfortably cleared by the City defence.

Craig was again involved in the action a minute later as he did well to keep the ball in before firing inches wide.

Coulson saw his cross into the box on 55 minutes deflected for a corner which was taken by Craig and his inviting ball into the box found Steven Anderson whose header was cleared off the line at the back post.

Brechin almost made it 2-0 on 58 minutes as a Jackson effort almost slipped through the legs of Clark however, the Saints keeper recovered well to save.

Saints made a second change on 65 minutes as Danny Swanson replaced Liam Craig.

A nice flick on by Coulson on 68 minutes set Swanson free and he broke forward at pace to find himself one-on-one with Smith who made a good save as he turned Swanson’s shot behind for a corner.

It was all Saints at this point and Davidson did well to shrug off a challenge on 70 minutes before having a shot which was pushed behind for a corner. Then 2 minutes later Alston saw his shot saved by the City keeper.

Graeme Smith was having a great game in the City goal and he was called into action again on 74 minutes this time using his feet to save a Chris Kane effort.

A rare attack by the home side on 77 minutes saw substitute Alan Trouten have a shot from the edge of the area which took a deflection off a Saints player for a corner.

Clark had to look lively with 10 minutes remaining as a challenge by Davidson on Trouten saw the ball break to Jackson but Clark did well to save from close range.

Saints eventually broke down the stubborn City defence to draw level with four minutes remaining as Paul Paton’s ball into the box found Graham Cummins at the back post and he headed the ball back across goal and it was knocked home from close range by Kane.

Cummins then almost snatched a winner with a minute remaining as he sent a looping shot towards the top corner however, it went inches wide.

That would prove to be the last chance of the match as it finished 1-1 and went to penalties to decide who would be awarded an extra bonus point.

The penalties were taken at the Cemetery End of Glebe Park and first up was Brechin City’s Dougie Hill who scored. Saints first penalty was taken by Danny Swanson who scored to level the shootout at 1-1.

Former Saints player Willie Dyer was next up for City and he calmly slotted the ball past Clark. While Saints second penalty was taken by goal hero Chris Kane however, his effort hit the post.

Finn Graham was the next player to take a penalty for Brechin however, Saints keeper Zander Clark got down low to his left hand side to make a great save. Saints now had the chance to level the score and their next penalty was taken by Graham Cummins who converted his effort to make the penalty shootout 2-2 after 3 penalties each.

Brechin then regained the lead with their fourth penalty which was taken by Alan Trouten before Michael Coulson missed his penalty for Saints as it hit Smith’s right hand post.

This then setup Ally Love to win the shootout for City and he slammed home the winning penalty despite the best efforts of Zander Clark who got a hand to the ball but could not keep it out.

Man of the Match: Murray Davidson

Brechin City: Smith, O’Neil, Dyer, McCormack, Hill, Rodger, Graham, Dale, Jackson, Caldwell (Trouten 69), Love Unused Substitutes: O’Neil (GK), Ford, Lynas, Fusco, Dods Booked: Graham Scorers: Jackson (35)

Saints: Clark, Scobbie, Anderson, Davidson, Shaughnessy (Cummins 79), Coulson, Paton, Easton, Kane, Craig (Swanson 65), Thomson (Alston 45) Unused Substitutes: Mannus (GK), MacLean, McKay, Comrie Booked: None Scorers: Kane (86)

Referee: John McKendrick

Match Report by Daryl Scott