CITY take what could be a valuable 1-0 lead into Saturday's second leg of the Irn-Bru promotion play-off clash against Albion Rovers at Cliftonhill.
A 1,200 crowd turned out at Borough Briggs for City's historic encounter and an early second-half Paul Millar counter proved to be the winner over a 90 minutes the Black and Whites should have won by a bigger margin.
A bruising battle always looked on the cards against opponents City had more than a few tasty clashes with over the seasons and in a torrid opening spell the visitors went down to 10 men inside half an hour when Michael O'Byrne was shown a red card.
Elgin manager Ross Jack resorted to a more familiar formation to the one which started the win at Hampden against Queen's Park, with Jamie Duff, Mark Nicolson, Stuart Leslie, Brian Cameron, Craig Gunn and Daniel Moore returning to the starting line-up.
Archie MacPhee and Jason Crooks, both scorers against the Spiders, Graeme Beveridge, Ross O'Donoghue, Paul McMullan and the now retired Barry Wilson were the players to make way.
Elgin started positively and Cameron's low shot, blocked by keeper Gaston, and a Gunn effort which flashed just wide inside the opening 10 minutes set the tone for the game in front of a big crowd.
But it soon became apparent the visitors were more intent on containing City rather than coming north to make a game of it and their 'thou shalt not pass' approach saw the Coatbridge side reduced to 10 men in 29 minutes.
Albion's Lumsden had already been booked for a reckless challenge on Millar when Cameron sent the big City striker clear. Last defender Michael O’Byrne made a desperate, last-ditch rugby-style challenge and was shown a straight red for the offence.
Despite the extra man and Albion's even more negative tactics, City were unable to capitalise on their superiority and there was clear frustration in the home ranks as the scoreline remained blank at the break.
But the Black and Whites restarted on the front foot and they got their reward, much to the relief and delight of the Borough Briggs faithful when they breached the stubborn and dogged Rovers rearguard in 53 minutes.
Daniel Moore, the target for much of the strong-arm stuff dished out by the visitors, fired in a shot which broke kindly for Paul MILLAR and the City striker made no mistake with a clinical finish from eight yards.
It was the least City deserved and they kept pounding away at an Albion side which defended in depth and failed to create one serious threat on Clark's goal.
But, despite keeping Albion on the back foot until the final whistle, which stretched six minutes into stoppage time, City failed to grab a crucial second goal despite several good chances.
However, with Albion having to seriously overhaul their strategy for the second leg on Saturday, Millar's strike could yet prove a vital lead at the end of the day.
Elgin City – Clark, Niven, Durnan, Duff, Leslie (O'Donoghue 80), Cooper, Gunn, Cameron, Millar (Crooks 72), Nicolson, Moore (MacPhee 80). Subs not used – Calder, Beveridge.
Albion Rovers – Gaston, Reid, Donnelly, O'Byrne, Russell, McStay, Ferry, Lumsden, Werndly (Marriot 30), Gemmell, Love (Pierce 69). Subs not used – Gilmartin, Acqua, Chaplain.
Ref – F McDermott.
Att – 1248.
(Report by Louise Shaw)