MATCH REPORT: Edinburgh City 2-2 Elgin City
Edinburgh City began 2022 with a hard-fought 2-2 draw to Elgin City at Ainslie Park. Aaron Fraser reports.
The new year was barely a week old before excitement began to grow once again for Edinburgh City fans. In the days leading up to the match, City bolstered their ranks with a series of impressive signings who were all involved in the squad from the get go. Jack Leighfield took his place on the bench while Anthony McDonald, Jack Brydon and Cammy Logan were thrown straight into the starting lineup to face Elgin City, who had not won against the Citizens in 14 attempts.
The opening stages of the game saw both sides create chances. Innes Murray fired a shot wide of the target before a dangerous volley from the visitors was flashed just over Brian Schwake’s crossbar.
It would be Elgin to draw first blood in the capital. A corner was whipped in from the left hand side and after a scramble in the box, Matthew Cooper slammed home the loose ball to put his side 1-0 up away from home.
City began to get into their rhythm after going behind. Ouzy See appeared to be on a one-man mission to equalise. First of all, he brought out the step-overs and fired a vicious ball across the face of goal, which was cannoned off the post and out to safety by an Elgin man. He then took down an excellent cross-field ball and lashed it with aplomb into the back of the net, but was flagged offside by the linesman.
The goal City craved would eventually arrive on 37 minutes. Another excellent cross from the right-hand side found Danny Handling, who inadvertently diverted the ball into the path of the onrushing Callum Tapping. City’s number eight gleefully smashed home from close range and wheeled away with his arm held aloft to celebrate his first goal in black and white.
The second half was devoid of much action until the 59th minute when Elgin would regain the advantage. Slack defending allowed Kane Hester clean through on goal and he drilled a low finish beyond Schwake.
Edinburgh City’s long unbeaten run against the Highlanders once again looked to be under serious threat, however such fears were eased again on 71 minutes when the game was levelled for a second time. Murray’s cross found the head of See, who headed the ball back to Michael Travis. The ball was then chested down and lashed into the net on the half volley by Travis, who was playing as a trialist and had only been cleared to play less than two and a half hours before kickoff.
As the match wore on, temperatures continued to drop and the artificial surface at Ainslie Park began to freeze over, which made it increasingly difficult for both sides in the closing minutes of the game. A draw was probably a fair result for both teams, but for Elgin fans, the long wait for three points against the men from Edinburgh goes on.
City manager Gary Naysmith had mixed emotions about the game: “On the balance of play, with how we’d started the game, bearing in mind two of the lads only turned up tonight to join in, I thought we should have been two or three-nil up at half time. But then Elgin went twice in front, so I’ve got to give the players credit for actually fighting back and making sure we got something.”
When asked about his confidence in City still being able to achieve a playoff spot at the end of the season, Naysmith was optimistic: “You would think Kelty and Forfar have got two of the four places taken up, but you could say everybody right down to Elgin would fancy getting third or fourth place, and we’re no different. What we need to do is get as many points as we can on the board and try to make sure that we’re in the playoffs because when we’ve got everybody back fit, we’ve got as strong a team as anybody in this league.”
Edinburgh City’s next match is away to runaway league leaders Kelty Hearts, while Elgin City take on Albion Rovers at Borough Briggs.