Brechin manager Ray McKinnon refused to criticise his side after their four-month 17-game unbeaten run came to a shuddering halt at Peterhead.
Goals from former St Johnstone midfielder Gary MacDonald, David Cox and Jordon Brown saw the Blue Toon home as City, who had defender Colin Hamilton sent off, crashed to their first league defeat since October 18.
McKinnon said: “We went four months unbeaten so I am not going to be too critical and our commitment and effort were excellent today.”
Brechin started strongly and Robert Thomson went close after four minutes with an under-hit glancing header that home keeper Graeme Smith held with ease diving to his right.
Seconds later Smith had to look lively to smother a close-range shot from Andy Jackson.
Peterhead should have taken a 12th minute lead, Cammy Kerr seeing his shot following a Jamie Stevenson free-kick touched on to the crossbar by Graeme Smith.
Then Andy Rodgers saw a ferocious drive deflected out for a corner.
On 22 minutes a 25-yard effort from Stevenson was tipped over by Smith as the action raged from end to end.
The deadlock was finally broken after 32 minutes.
Andy Rodgers played the ball into Rory McAllister and his pass across goal was snapped up at the back post by Gary McDonald for his fourth goal for the club.
Brechin started the second half like they meant business but were down to 10 men when Hamilton was shown his second yellow after bringing down Kerr.
The Blue Toon made their extra man count on 71 minutes.
A Stevenson free-kick on the left was lost in the air by keeper Smith and the ball fell to substitute David Cox to score at the far side of the six-yard box.
The icing on the victory came four minutes into added time when they scored a third, a Cox corner kick being flicked on to sub Jordan Brown to side foot home and round off a fine performance.