The draw feels like a defeat

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ARBROATH player-manager Paul Sheerin described the disappointment after the Airdrie game as palpable.

A shock counter-attack by the Diamonds left the two goal lead by Arbroath in tatters and the match ended in a draw, scuppering the first opportunity for Arbroath to overtake league leaders Cowdenbeath.

Asked if he was disappointed, Mr Sheerin told HeraldSport: “That’s an understatement to be honest.”

Post-match the dressing room was not the usual bustling, high energy place, Mr Sheerin added: “It was like a morgue after the game last night.

“It might have been a draw, but it felt like a defeat.”

And this isn’t the first time lately that Arbroath have had a hiccup on the field. He explained: “We’ve not had the best second half starts for the last three or four games now.

“It’s not because we’re taking the foot off the pedal, we’ve not started games well either.”

The Lichties have endured a tough playing schedule lately, squeezing five matches into just 15 days, so fatigue may have crept in to the squad.

Mr Sheerin however, disagrees. He stated: “It’s not fatigue, maybe when you look at it the last 30 minutes of the second half of the game, but for 15 minutes there we looked really energetic.”

That drive is something missing from Arbroath’s form just now, and Mr Sheerin is adamant his players need to recapture their form.

He said: “We shouldn’t have that desire for just 15 minutes, we should have that from the start.”

Tomorrow (Saturday) league-leaders Cowdenbeath will face Airdrie, and there is the possibility that the Blue Brazil will get the same kind of surprise as Arbroath.

Mr Sheerin said: “I’m sure they’ll have a good go at giving everything on Saturday.

“A lot of teams have still got something to play for, like relegation. I’m under no illusion that Jimmy Boyle will tell his team to go out and win.”

Relying on this, however, would be a dangerous tactic explained the gaffer. He said: “Having to rely on other teams for wins is definitely not what we want.

“Last night a win is what we needed, but now it’s taken out of our hands a little bit.”

For Arbroath it’s now a case of moving past this and continuing the drive for the top spot and a chance at promotion into the First Division.

Mr Sheerin explained: “We’re just going to have to pick ourselves up and take control again.”

Arbroath are at home again tomorrow (Saturday) to East Fife, who are currently sitting in fifth place 18 points behind the Lichties.

Mr Sheerin is confident that based on their previous form his side will be able to add more than a point to their tally.

He said: “Our home form has been excellent up until now. I think I’m right when I’m saying that we’ve had no draws in nine months which is a decent run. Hopefully we’ll pick ourselves up and continue this.”

And if the need to make amends for the draw with the Diamonds is not enough, then a few faces missing from that clash will be available to boost the squad.

He said: “Josh Falkingham was suspended, so he’s back on Saturday. Mark Baxter is fit and Colin Samuel is fit too.”

Unfortunately, it seems however that Jordan Elfverson will sit it out again this weekend after picking up a back injury against Stenhousemuir, the latest in a string of unlucky breaks for the 19 year old.

Mr Sheerin commented: “Elfverson is struggling again, it’s been a bit of a write-off season for him.”