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Forfar Athletic 1 Brechin City 2

Saturday, 30 April 2016 20:19

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Brechin Survive As Loons Start Planning Their Return

What a difference a season can make.  This time last year the Loons were pushing for promotion to the Championship, but fast forward to now and after relegation to League 2 being confirmed last Saturday it was visitors Brechin who had all to play for.  One final positive result would complete an unlikely and remarkable escape from the drop for our near neighbours after having spent most of the season in the bottom two.

Brechin had an early chance when Thomson saw his effort saved by Hill with Forfar responding soon afterwards as Craig fired wide of the target from a Hodge free kick.  The Loons nearly took the lead when Ryan saw his goal bound effort cleared by McLean with Smith well beaten.  As the half wore on Brechin were just shading the contest however, with five minutes to go in the first half controversy raised its ugly head when referee Northcroft chose not to award the home side a penalty after Smith in the Brechin goal cleaned out Ryan on the edge of the six yard box.  Furthermore, the Loons striker was given a yellow card to quell his protests.  To make matters worse for the Loons Brechin took the lead on the stroke of half time when McCormack headed home a disputed Dyer corner.

Early in the second half Hill had to look lively to parry a Thomson strike away from his goal before Northcroft compounded his bizarrely erratic performance by giving Forfar striker Ryan a second yellow card for diving when he was clearly fouled by McLean about twenty five yards out on the left.  The fifty second minute departure of the Forfar striker was a sore one for the Loons to take, but they kept at it and Craig went close when he headed a Denholm free kick over the bar.  Brechin then had the ball in the net, but once again Northcroft baffled those in attendance by disallowing the header.  In the final ten minutes Forfar’s Craig saw his volley go just wide but Brechin effectively sealed victory when Robson cracked the ball into the roof of the net on eighty-eight minutes.  As the game moved into added time Brechin substitute Molloy was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Fotheringham, then Denholm headed home a consolation goal for the Loons.  As the final whistle sounded the contrast on the park was there to see.  Brechin, with eight wins from their final ten games of the season, deservedly safe from the relegation play offs with celebrations to suit, back-dropped by the possible final walk up the tunnel for some familiar names who have served the club in recent times.

So the curtain has fallen on what has been a difficult campaign on the park for the Loons, but it is worth remembering the strides forward the club has made as a whole over the past seasons.  Getting the balance right on and off the park is a tricky business and there can be times when things can tip too far in one direction.  Perhaps a successful team came to a natural conclusion, but the best and only response is to build again using the foundations already in place and to back the club to bounce back even stronger.  The support from the terracing which the team enjoyed during the latter stages of last season’s push for promotion was outstanding.  However, going forward, that level of encouragement should not just be reserved for the good times as, arguably, it is needed even more now than it was this time last year.

Full-Time: Forfar Athletic 1 Brechin City 2

Match report by Cameron Davidson

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