ACSC 2, St James 1
ACSC faced St James in a top of the table clash on Saturday in the George Buckman Premier League.
Having been on the end of a ‘freak’ 7-0 drubbing in the return fixture at Fairfield Park, ACSC had a point to prove and were looking to banish the ‘demons’ that had haunted them following that game.
This was the Arbroath men’s fourth home game of a promising start to the season that had seen them win four of their five games on the road, as well as their three home fixtures to put them on top of the league at this early stage.
Manager Gunning had to shuffle his pack again and opted to go with a 3-5-2 formation with a number of personnel returning to the fold. Graham, Gardiner and Mattheson made up a solid looking back three, with a midfield five of Gatrick, Gersok, McDowell, Spurek and McKenzie. Up top Pearson joined R. Gillespie in a formidable looking ACSC team.
Both teams started well looking, competing for every ball, St James starting the game with the strong wind behind their back.
The skilful Martin for the visitors was proving a real handful with his ‘right foot’ and all of St James good play was coming through him.
On the 25 minute mark the Dundee side took the lead after the aforementioned Martin threaded a nice ball through for the St James striker. The ACSC defence was caught out with a momentary loss of concentration and the front man finished with a neat angled drive past the helpless Cargill.
The ACSC went looking for a quick reply and almost got one when R. Gillespie found himself through on goal after neat work from Pearson and, with only the ‘keeper to beat, his shooting deserted him.
R. Gillespie was to come close again soon after another chance coming from a similar position only for the keeper to smother the resultant shot. St James then had a free kick from 25 yards thunder off the crossbar with Cargill rooted to the spot before the referee signalled for half-time the game well and truly in the balance.
Half-time: ACSC 0, St ames 1.
ACSC started the second half confident that the equaliser would come but after Spurek received his marching orders 15 minutes in for dissent their task was to become even harder.
Despite this the ACSC continued to look like the team more likely to grab the next goal and Pearson and R. Gillespie both had good opportunities after some fine build up play. The ACSC had managed to nullify St James’ main threat (Martin) by showing him onto his left foot by this point.
St James’ best chance of the half came from a lobbed ball which fell to the nippy young striker, but the half chance was saved well by the ever dependable Cargill who was down sharp to block the effort.
With the Jamsies looking content to sit in and defend their slender lead the game was to change when the ‘direct’ method wasn’t dealt with by their defence and Pearson sneaked in behind them to prod a shot beyond the outrushing ‘keeper. Game on, and a well-deserved equaliser.
It only looked like one team that had the hunger to go and win the game after this but when Graham was sent off for what the referee considered to be a second foul (Penman usually has a good game, but not Saturday) it looked as though the tide may turn.
However it seemed that St James were rattled judging by the centre half’s touch who, when standing in the centre of the park tried to control the ball and it went out for a throw at what can only be described as a right angle possibly the worst touch in amateur football ever?)
The ACSC managed to add to their tally when McKenzie floated in a delicious cross come shot which sailed beyond the St James ‘keeper with two ACSC players waiting to nod home from the back post.
Now it was about the ACSC holding out with their nine men, which they managed to do quite comfortably, considering, which saw them collect the three points to see them open up a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
Another three important points in the league campaign and a victory that was well deserved after a fantastic team performance from a hungry ACSC team.
The desire and commitment the players showed to the cause has to be mentioned with every player playing their part in another excellent home win.