On a controversial afternoon at Meadowbank, with a hugely debatable goal and a red card, Ousman See must have thought he’d given Edinburgh a precious three points when he slipped the ball under Ricky Gomes with 15 minutes to go, after Shaun Harrison’s wonderful cross-field pass. But defensive frailties came back to haunt the side from the capital, and Martin Scott bundled home a scrappy equaliser with 10 minutes left.
It was a rip-roaring start on a chilly Saturday afternoon at Meadowbank. There was plenty of early Edinburgh City pressure, and centre back Shaun Harrison went close on a couple of occasions. His 25-yard free kick was well pushed around the post by Arbroath keeper Robbie Mutch, and from the resulting corner he stabbed a loose ball inches over the crossbar. However, it was Omar Kader who put the away side ahead after 8 minutes.
Teenager Josh Skelly, who caused problems for the City defence all afternoon, whipped a devilish ball across the six-yard box, and Kader was there to slide it home. Barely a minute later though, a cross-field ball found John Dunn. He calmly laid it back to Marc Laird, and the ex-Tranmere Rovers and Yeovil Town man crashed it into the roof of the net to equalise for Edinburgh on his home debut
City continued to create chances and terrible confusion in the Arbroath defence allowed Craig Beattie to stab the ball past the keeper, but the ball rolled agonisingly wide. Then, after a long Andrew Stobie goal kick was nodded down by Beattie and laid off by See, Dunn rifled a shot just over.
Just before the half hour though, Arbroath were frustrated not to regain the lead. A deep corner by Bobby Linn was bundled home following a scramble but the goal was disallowed for pushing, which seemed soft to say the least.
Young Skelly continued to be a threat and not long before half time he won a free kick after a great jinking run. He took the set piece but it was well saved by Stobie. Five minutes later, goal-scorer Kader somehow spooned the ball over from 3 yards, although credit must go to the covering defender for applying great pressure.
It was a dreadful start to the second half for City, a half cleared corner came back to Linn, and his dangerous ball was nodded down and in by Ricky Little, only his second professional goal in over 200 appearances!
The major talking point of the match came in the 53rd minute when Ousman See went up for a hanging cross by City full-back Aaron Dunsmore. He caught the goalkeeper, with what looked like an elbow. Although it was purely accidental, See seriously injured the Arbroath man, and when he slammed in the loose ball, the crowd on both sides were shocked to see the referee point to the centre circle and award the goal.
After a lengthy delay in which Mutch was stretchered off and taken to hospital and one of Dick Campbell’s backroom staff was sent to the stands for (perhaps justly) questioning the referee’s decision, the game finally resumed just before the hour mark.
Buoyed by this stroke of luck, City took the lead for the first time when See outdid substitute keeper Gomes in a one-on-one situation. But Scott’s equaliser ensured any home joy would be short-lived.
A major flashpoint occurred almost straight after Scott’s equaliser, when Jassem Sukar clattered into City midfielder Ian McFarland with an extremely hefty challenge. After a spot of hand-bags the Arbroath defender was dismissed.
Arbroath nearly stole the win in the dying minutes, but City midfielder Dougie Gair was the hero, scrambling the ball of the line following a corner for the away side.
Dick Campbell was furious after the match, and expressed his disbelief and anger at both Sukar’s red card and City’s controversial goal. However, Gary Jardine, his Edinburgh counterpart, insisted that he didn’t think See fouled Mutch, although he did concede that the referee was “brave” to give the decision in his side’s favour
The injury to Mutch certainly soured the day to an extent, and FreshAir.org.uk wishes him a speedy recovery. However, all in all, it was a wonderful afternoon of entertainment at Meadowbank, and City will be buoyed by their excellent performance. Unfortunately, that first win of the season still remains elusive.
Edinburgh City Manager: Gary Jardine
Edinburgh City: Stobie, Dunsmore, Mbu, Harrison, Laird (McConnell 80), McKee, McFarland, Gair, Beattie (Allum 75), Dunn, See Subs (not used): Donaldson, Porteous, Caddow, Guthrie, Antell
Yellow Cards: See