Stenhousemuir 1 Brechin City 0: Hopkirk header seals all three points for Stenhousemuir

Man of the match Wullie Gibson
Man of the match Wullie Gibson

David Hopkirk's 69th minute header was enough to give Stenhousemuir the win over Brechin City at Ochilview.

With the departure of manager Colin McMenamin, former Warriors manager Davie Irons stepped in to take caretaker charge of the team but had to watch the game from the stands as he was serving a touchline ban.

Stenny had won just one of their opening six league fixtures going in to the game and were given an early scare as Brechin's Emile Ngoy showed incredible pace for a player of his stature to break down the left wing and cut back to Ryan McCord but the former Arbroath midfielders shot was straight at Graeme Smith and easily held.

The game had the first of what would be a foray of bookings for the visitors when Ross Brown saw yellow for a cynical challenge in the centre circle on Wullie Gibson who was looking to break up the park.

On 25 minutes referee Gavin Ross dished out four yellow cards after a goalmouth indecent which saw City's Keiran Inglis collide with Graeme Smith.

An almighty stramash broke out and, once the dust had settled, Inglis was booked for the initial challenge while Brechin captain Paul McManus saw yellow for his involvement in the scuffle and McCord as well for his protestations to the referee.

Stenny's Wullie Gibson also saw yellow for his reaction.

It had been a fiery first half but that hadn't really manifested in any clear cut chances until former Stenny keeper Lewis McMinn, in the sticks for City, made a good save to deny David Hopkirk who lost his marker in the box and headed low for the bottom corner only for McMinn to block on 38 minutes.

That was the only real save either keeper had to deal with in the half and, after the break, the game did not look like settling down.

Emile Ngoy was the next player to go in to the referees book for a late challenge on Chris O'Neil on 55 minutes and, shortly after, McCord was perhaps lucky not to see a second yellow when he caught Marky Munro with his studs.

Graeme Smith's only real save of the match came on the 67th minute when a Chris McLaughlin free kick found Paul McManus at the back post but the veteran striker didn't make the best connection with his volley and Smith just managed to scramble across and keep it out.

Two minutes later and Stenny had the lead, Wullie Gibson's sublime delivery from a corner kick was met at the near post by Hopkirk who had lost his marker and had a simple header from inside six yards to break the deadlock.

Brechin pressed late on for an equaliser but Graeme Smith was not called in to action.

After receiving six yellow cards in the game it might have come as a surprise that Brechin finished the game with 11 men but, moments after Gavin Ross blew the full-time whistle, substitute Olly Hamilton was shown red for a verbal altercation with the official.