Arbroath Vics 2
Having picked up seven points in their previous three matches, Arbroath Vics faced a much tougher challenge on Saturday when they travelled to Dundee to meet league leaders Downfield in a McBookie.com North Division fixture.
With both teams having submitted their team lines to the match official, there was a late change from both camps with each of them having a player injured during the warm up.
For Vics, Steve Florence picked up a calf strain and Kevin Durno was promoted from the bench to the starting line-up, while in the Downfield ranks, goalkeeper Jamie Kelly went over his ankle and replacement Mark Stewart was forced to deputise.
The match was only two minutes old when Downfield player Danny Cavanagh went down in a heap at the corner flag with an ankle injury and the match was held up for around five minutes before he was carried off. Gavin Hood came on as his replacement.
When the teams eventually got round to playing football, it was Vics who carved out the first opening when Danny Ross played the ball through the Downfield defence for Kane Hester to roll across the 18 yard line looking for Scott Donald, but James Thomson came across to sweep it away.
The 13th minute proved unlucky for Vics as in their next attack, Downfield took the lead. Clark sent the ball out wide to Connor MacLeod who played it on for Scott Reynolds. His cut-back from the by-line was met at the far side of the box by Gavin Hood and when he returned it into the middle, CONNOR MacLEOD sent a header on to the post, but he was first to the rebound to stab it into the net from close range.
Vics responded with Grant Mowatt breaking deep into the Downfield half and linking up with Scott Donald to set up a shooting chance for Kane Hester, but his effort lacked enough pace to trouble Stewart in the home goal.
The ‘keeper made a great save to preserve Downfield’s lead four minutes later when Mowatt got on the end of a MacGregor cross to power in a volley, which Stewart dived to push a way from goal.
Sixty seconds later, the ‘keeper almost gifted Vics an equaliser when he spilled a Mowatt free kick, but just got enough on Kane Hester’s follow up to deflect the ball behind for a corner.
Vics got back on level terms in the 37th minute. JOSH CHALMERS broke forward on the right and sent a low cross into the box intended for Hester, but when the striker swung a foot at it and missed, it deceived Stewart in the home goal and the ball ran into the net just inside the far post.
Two minutes later, Vics had a great chance to take the lead when Mowatt carried the ball into the Downfield box before being upended by Robert Boyd to concede a penalty. The Downfield player was booked before Donald stepped up to take the kick, but his shot came back off the post and he was then penalised for playing it a second time as his shot from the rebound was deflected wide.
Vics might have gone in ahead at the break, but they conceded two goals in the time added on for the early stoppage to Cavanagh to trail 3-1.
The first of the goals came when they struggled to clear a Gavin Hood cross and the ball bounced around the box before TERRY CONNELL drilled it into the back of the net.
Seconds before the whistle, Sturrock was penalised for a foul on the corner of the box and ROBERT SMITH could hardly believe his luck when his free kick took a wicked bounce in front of the diving Cargill and bounced over his body and nestled in the back of the net.
Half-time: Downfield 3, Arbroath Vics 1.
Vics made a change at the start of the second half when Paul Weir replaced Dale Riddell in the centre of defence.
The home side was on top and extended their lead to 4-1 in the 63rd minute. Reynolds flighted a free kick to the far post and TERRY CONNELL came charging in to bullet a header in off the body of Cargill.
Just when it looked as if the game would be out of Vics’ reach they gave themselves a glimmer of hope by pulling it back to 4-2 within a couple of minutes. Mowatt swung over a dangerous cross from the left and JOSH CHALMERS nipped in behind the defence to steer a shot beyond the advancing keeper.
Despite that, Vics found the game well and truly up when Downfield scored again in the 73rd minute. Stewart gathered a Mowatt free kick and quickly launched the ball down the park where BRIAN CLARK got the break of the ball in a challenge with Cargill to turn it into the net.
With 15 minutes left, Downfield made a third change when Tommo Thomson came on for Boyd.
Only a tremendous save from Cargill prevented Downfield from scoring again; the keeper being at full stretch to turn a Clark shot round the post following a solo run from the Downfield player. Lunan got on the end of Reynolds flag kick and his header caught the bar and dropped over.
A sixth goal was only delayed for a further minute when BRIAN CLARK got the break of the ball and enjoyed further good fortunate when his shot, which appeared to be going wide, was deflected over Cargill and dropped inside the near post.
Connell gave away a penalty in the 88th minute when he impeded Andy Ballantine in the box. Clark took the kick, but Cargill prevented him from increasing Downfield’s lead by holding on to his low shot.
In spells Vics played reasonably well and had the penalty gone in when the scores were level they might have gone in ahead at the break. However conceding six goals in the manner they did was never likely to see them take anything from the game as Downfield continue to make strides towards the league title.
Arbroath Vics: Cargill, MacGregor, Sturrock, Riddell (Weir 46), Durno, Thomson, Chalmers (Lawson 83), Ross, Donald (McNaught 78), Hester, Mowatt. Unused subs: Swan and Martin.
Referee: Mr. B. Cooper (Glenrothes).
Vics are at home to Lochee Harp in the league tomorrow (Saturday) with a 2.30 p.m. kick-off.
McBookie.com East North League
P W D L F A Pts
Downfield 17 15 1 1 53 14 46
Star Hearts 21 11 6 4 72 42 39
Blairgowrie 20 12 3 5 50 27 39
Brechin Vics 19 12 0 7 51 35 36
East Craigie 18 10 4 4 55 28 34
Thornton Hibs 16 9 4 3 57 28 31
Newburgh 19 9 2 8 39 32 29
Lochee Harp 18 9 0 9 41 36 27
Luncarty 19 7 4 8 41 38 25
Scone Thi 19 8 1 10 35 42 25
Arbroath V 19 6 5 8 38 43 23
Lochore 18 5 2 11 33 62 17
Kirkcaldy YM 19 4 2 13 37 64 14
Kirrie Thistle 18 3 4 11 20 47 13
Forfar Albion 20 1 0 19 17 101 3