Arbroath defender Gary Phillips focusing on positives after Betfred Cup knockout

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Left-back Gary Phillips admitted Wednesday’s Irn-Bru Cup loss to East Fife was a sickening blow to the Arbroath players.

The Lichties looked like they’d have their names in the hat for the next round when Kane Hester put them 2-1 up with six minutes to go.

But a defensive lapse allowed Kevin Smith to cut inside and curl a shot inside Robbie Mutch’s far post.

Extra-time followed and it was former Arbroath hitman Paul McManus who landed the knockout blow, converting a fierce penalty kick after he was fouled by loanee defender Jassem Sukar.

The hosts did more than enough to win the tie and should have seen the game out following Hester’s strike, but despite the disappointment Gary says the side have to take the positives out of their much-improved performance and carry them into league action.

He said: “It’s disappointing as you can imagine, especially with the effort we put into the game.

“We felt we’d done enough to get something out of it then obviously, going ahead so late to get pulled back was tough.

“There’s still a lot of positives to take and that’s what we’re going to do.

“It’s a bit of a sucker punch that second equaliser, it’s always going to be. It’s football though and it’s how you react to it as a team.

“The extra-time takes its toll on the squad obviously but we want to win games, so it takes it out of you but if you win the game it feels great.

“Hopefully we take the performance forward, that’s what we’ve got to build on.

“If we can take that into Saturday and into the rest of the league we should be doing all right.