Stenny 1-1 Brechin City

It was honours even at Ochilview - but the point meant far more to Brechin.
It was honours even at Ochilview - but the point meant far more to Brechin.

There were tears of joy for Brechin but of agony for Stenny at the conclusion of these 90 minutes.

Ochilview joined a host of grounds across the country set for a nail-biting hour and a half as Scotland played out the final league games of the Championship, League One and Two seasons.

Plenty of sides still had a lot to play for with titles, play-off places and relegations to be decided.

In the central belt Stenny were aiming to keep their noses in front of Peterhead and finish in the relegation play-off zone while Brechin were in pursuit of the point which would seal their place in the top four.

As it turned out, the visitors got what they needed, but The Blue Toon's win over Alloa meant Brown Ferguson's side were doomed to League Two football next term.

Brechin left the pitch with clenched fists after doing enough to book a play-off match with Championship strugglers Raith Rovers.

But with player of the year prizes to be given out to the home players after the game, the Warriors returned to the park visibly distraught at how their campaign had ended.

It was difficult not to have complete sympathy with the likes of Connor Duthie who entered and left the pitch for the short ceremony with tears in his eyes.

His club's survival clearly meant something to him, and they'd come up just short.

Of course a relegation isn't booked on the back of one result but this was a game Stenny will feel they could have enforced themselves more on.

Brechin didn't arrive looking to play for the point and started on the front foot and Stenny's hopes looked doomed from the start as the visitors raced into an early lead.

Ally Love found his route to goal blocked off and the Brechin forward hit the deck.

Ref Greg Aitken pointed straight to the spot and visiting striker Alan Trouten stepped up to calmly side foot the penalty home.

It was all Brechin and Love went close with a range drive 'keeper Graham Bowman managed to beat away.

Stenny took a good 20 minutes to settle into a game Darren Dods' side had started by far the better.

But they went close to pulling one back when Olly Shaw's header from a Willis Furtado cross dropped inches past the post.

With their league survival at stake Stenny needed a reaction in the second 45 but just found City too well drilled to break down.

The normally potent Furtado was snuffed out by the visitors as Dods' side aimed to reinforce their play-off credentials.

But the hosts gradually turned the screw as the half went on as they went for broke.

Shaw was again unlucky to see a close range drive turned around the post for a corner which came to nothing.

The on-loan Hibs striker wasn't to be denied a further time when he gave his side a crucial lifeline.

Duthie's cross was pinpoint and just couldn't be defended by the visitors.

First to react with Shaw who glanced his header beyond Graeme Smith.

It was game on and everything to play for for both sides.

Brechin tried to wrestle their advantage back and Andy Jackson went close with a drive which flashed past the post.

Jackson again pestered Bowman's goal but found the Stenny 'keeper equal to his strike.

The ref's whistle arrived and the Stenny players waited on the park for a few moments until final confirmation arrived from Balmoor.

It duly did, and they left the pitch as one with the applause of a support who knew their side had given everything ringing in their ears.

For Brechin, it was a quick celebration before attention focused on their next hurdle.

Visiting boss Dods said: "I'm really happy.

"People had written us off when we dropped down to sixth but we've bounced back and got there.

"We're delighted to be in the play-off."

For Brown Ferguson, the relegation is a chance to take stock of what now lies ahead.

He said: "It's been a very disappointing and topsy turvy season and we now just have to regroup and look forward."