Brechin’s Alan Trouten admitted his side were lucky to win after one of their poorest performances of the season.
The midfielder slotted the opener against Stenhousemuir from the spot after Ross McMillan was sent off but Brechin didn’t make the League 1 points safe until Robert Thomson struck at the death.
Trouten said: “The penalty decision and their player getting a straight red card obviously was a big moment in the game. I am always confident from the penalty spot and that gave me my ninth goal of the season.
“We did not play well and Stenny were excellent after they went down to 10 men. I think it’s a good thing that we are unhappy with our performance when we have gained a vital away win.”
Brechin might have been behind on 27 minutes when only brave defending by Colin Hamilton denied Colin McMenamin following a pinpoint cross from Bryan Hodge.
Hamilton somehow blocked McMenamin’s close range header and then smashed his head against the post in the process.
After a stoppage of three minutes the Brechin defender was given the all clear to continue.
But the game turned on 31 minutes when McMillan was shown a straight red for holding Andy Jackson and Trouten netted the penalty.
Despite being a man short, Stenny took the game to Brechin but determined defending denied them.
McMenamin hit the bar on 73 minutes with a left-footed shot that for once had the impressive Graeme Smith beaten.
City clinched the points in stoppage time when sub Thomson converted Bobby Barr’s pass.
Brechin boss Ray Mackinnon said: “It’s a good result but we never played well and Stenny take a lot of credit.
“What does please me is that we have managed to see out the win as recently late goals have cost us. We should be in a better position as we have lost 10 or 12 points in the last minutes of matches.
“We lost 93rd minute goals against Morton and Stranraer recently but today we were resilient. We are on a good unbeaten run and we have gained points on Dunfermline and Morton above us.”