IT MAY have taken until the last Saturday in February, but Arbroath Vics were at last able to get a game under way on home soil when they entertained Dundee Violet in a league fixture at Ogilvy Park on Saturday.
Having played only once since November, Vics included latest signing Ryan Owbridge on the substitutes’ bench. Injuries ruled out Steven Florence and Matthew Gove.
The home team made a positive start in the bright sunshine and almost bagged a goal in the opening minute. Gavin Norrie sent a terrific cross into the Violet box from wide on the left and Ryan Low just failed to reach as he dived forward with his head and the ball ran behind for a goal kick.
Violet responded with Ryan Tennant picking out Andy Ballantine on the right touchline and his cross into the box was gathered by Ross Lunan, whose 16 yard shot was deflected behind for a corner.
At the other end, Scott McDowell sent a searching ball through the Violet defence for Lee Jones to chase, but goalkeeper Mark Stewart was quickly out of his box to kick clear. His clearance was not the best and only went as far as Garry Warren, but his effort cannoned off Mark Kohler and ran out for a throw-in.
Vics were forced to make an early change when McDowell fell heavily and was taken to hospital with a broken wrist. Owbridge made his debut, taking his place with 13 minutes on the clock.
The substitute was quickly involved, laying off a David McLeish pass to Lee Jones on the 18-yard line, but he sliced his shot wide of the target.
With 17 minutes gone, Violet opened the scoring. Martin Szpak swung over a corner, which Vics were unable to deal with and PAUL LUNAN turned the ball over the line from close range at the back post.
Midway through the half, Vics were awarded a free kick on the right-hand edge of the box when Jones was pushed from behind. Warren swung the free kick into the box but Owbridge got too much on the ball and his header drifted over the bar.
Vics might have levelled in the 39th minute when Warren set off on a solo run before firing in a drive which forced Stewart to dive across his line to push it aside. Jones was first to the loose ball, but the ‘keeper did just enough, getting off the ground to dive at his feet and force him to steer his attempt wide.
Half-time: Arbroath Vics 0, Dundee Violet 1.
Violet had the first attempt on goal after the interval and it almost led to them increasing their lead. Ballantine launched a ball into the box, which Tennant got to before Reid and although his header ran towards goal, Johnston got back to clear it away at the expense of a corner. From the flag-kick, Scott Reynolds swung a dangerous cross under the bar, which Reid, under pressure, did well to push over.
On the hour mark, Violet made a change when Hood was replaced by Milton.
Jones had another great chance to put Vics on level terms when he sprinted clear of Ogilvie and into the box, but again he fired his shot off the legs of the ‘keeper as Ogilvie did just enough to nudge him as he lined up his effort.
Vics continued to push for an equaliser and Owbridge was the next to be denied by Stewart, the ‘keeper again saving with his legs inside the six-yard box after Warren had cut the ball back from the left.
A minute later the ‘keeper incredibly used his legs to good effect for the fourth time, when Low stretched to get a toe to a Richardson cross and the ball rebounded back of his shins.
Midway through the half, Vics made a second change when Low was replaced by Colin Lawson.
The Violet ‘keeper was kept busy as Vics continued to push forward and he made another good save in 71 minutes, flicking a Richardson header over the bar following a Warren corner.
The Dundee side then made a change when Steven Leahy came on for Reynolds.
Having had most of the second half, Vics had a let off soon after when a quickly taken free kick allowed R. Lunan to stride into the box and take the ball beyond Reid only for his shot to smack off the post.
Two minutes later, Reid kept Vics in the hunt with a terrific save to keep out an R. Lunan header from point blank range, with Durno completing the clearance by booting the ball off the line.
Both teams then made further changes with Vics sending on Danny McKenzie for Owbridge and Violet replacing Tennant with Ross Sievwright.
Five minutes from the end, Durno looped a pass out to Warren who cut into the box from the left and fired in a shot which Stewart dived to push round the post. From the resultant corner, Jones’s cross bounced around the box before Durno saw a shot blocked where it spun into the air and was headed over by Richardson.
Just when it looked as if all Vics’ efforts were to lead to nothing, they snatched a deserved equaliser with two minutes left. Richardson launched a throw-in into the box and when the Violet defence failed to deal with Durno’s header on, ANDERSON smashed a low shot into the net from just inside the six-yard area.
Arbroath Vics: Reid, Richardson, Johnston, Norrie, Durno, McLeish, McDowell (Owbridge 13 (McKenzie 75), Anderson, Low (Lawson 70), Jones, Warren. Unused substitutes: Laing, Sturrock and Cargill, gk.
Dundee Violet: Stewart, Kohler, Robertson, Ogilvie, P. Lunan, Szpak, Ballantine, Hood (Milton 60), R. Lunan, Tennant (Sievwright 83), 11 Reynolds (Leahy 72). Unused substitutes: Lauder, Smith, Simpson and Grant.
Referee: Mr. M. McIlvenny.
Vics are again at home tomorrow (Saturday) when they play host to Brechin Vics in a league fixture. Kick-off is at 2.15 p.m.
This week’s winners were: £70 - No. 124, Lee McLean; £30 - No. 21, Coby McKenzie; £15 - No. 7, Mark Fotheringham; £15 - No. 101, Jim Hodson; £10 - No. 100, Anita Boyes; £5 - No. 118, L. Hodson.
East Region North District League
P W D L F A Pts
Downfield 14 9 3 2 35 20 30
Arbroath Vics 13 8 2 3 31 19 26
Montrose Roselea 12 8 2 2 24 12 26
Blairgowrie 13 7 1 5 37 26 22
Dundee North End 12 7 1 4 30 20 22
Dundee Violet 13 7 1 5 31 22 22
Arbroath SC 13 6 3 4 29 21 21
Kirrie Thistle 10 4 3 3 28 23 15
Forfar Albion 14 3 4 7 26 37 13
East Craigie 13 3 2 8 17 31 11
Brechin Vics 11 2 2 7 13 30 8
Lochee Harp 8 2 1 5 10 14 7
Coupar Angus 14 1 1 12 14 50 4