Arbroath Vics 2, Brechin Vics 0
ARBROATH Vics were back on home territory with a league match at home to Brechin Vics on Saturday.
The Ogilvy Park side kept faith with the same starting 11 that began in the 2-1 win away to Blairgowrie the previous week.
Brechin Vics, created the first half chance of the game in the fifth minute when a Martin Strachan corner was cleared back out to him and the number eight’s second cross into the box was gathered at the near post by Lee Hutcheson, before Adam McWilliam could get a touch.
The home side began to settle and visiting ‘keeper Jamie Robbie had to be out of his box quickly to kick clear from Chris Simpson on two separate occasions as through balls from Andy Cowan and Garry Warren breached the Brechin defence.
In the 15th minute, Arbroath’s early pressure was rewarded with the opening goal. Garry Warren sent over a cross, which the Brechin defence managed to clear, but the clearance was picked up by David McLeish, who swung it back in from the opposite side and GRANT MOWATT met it on the volley some 16 yards from goal and cracked a drive into the corner of the net, which Robbie was never going to reach.
Soon after, Brechin ‘keeper Robbie was yellow carded for dissent after a throw-in decision went against his side, and he believed it should have gone Brechin’s way.
At the other end, Martin Strachan sent Kevin Barker away, but he seemed to run out of ideas as he reached the 18-yard line and the move eventually fizzled out. Arbroath broke quickly when he lost possession of the ball and Andy Cowan was able to play Chris Simpson in, but Robbie stood his ground to block his shot away for a corner.
Three minutes later, Paul Tosh released McLeish on the overlap down the right and Robbie again did well to get hands to the ball to push his shot round the post for another flag kick.
Another fine Arbroath move saw Sturrock collect a Cowan pass and set off down the left before pulling the ball back for Mowatt who drilled a 22-yard shot low past Robbie’s right-hand upright.
A second goal looked likely and it duly arrived in the 27th minute. Craig Stephen won the ball in midfield and sent Warren away down the right where he took the ball along the by-line before squaring it across the face of goal for CHRIS SIMPSON to turn into the net from close range.
Before play restarted, Euan Buggins was yellow carded for disputing the validity of the goal, although it was difficult to imagine what he was complaining about.
Robbie was being kept busy and he made a double save in the 31st minute to prevent Brechin from falling further behind. Simpson fired in a volley, which the ‘keeper did well to block with his legs before getting back to his feet to dive and push Cowan’s follow up behind for a corner.
Brechin carved out an opening three minutes later when Chris Eaton sent the ball up the left to Kevin Barker who turned neatly inside the box before squaring the ball into the path of Lewis Robertson, whose shot might have been on target, but it took a deflection sending it spinning just wide of the post.
Barker again showed quick feet to gather in an Alasdair Duff pass before getting away a shot from distance, but it was too far out to trouble Hutcheson who gathered it comfortably.
The half ended with Mowatt racing through the Brechin defence from a seemingly offside position to try and reach a Warren pass, but it mattered little anyway as Robbie had read the situation and was quickly out of his area to kick clear.
Half-time: Arbroath Vics 2, Brechin Vics 0.
Stephen was the first to have an attempt at goal in the second period when he won the ball from Brechin’s Strachan in midfield and sent in a long-range shot, which Robbie threw up a hand to divert round the post.
Arbroath might have increased their lead a minute later when Mowatt clipped a cross to the back post, which Simpson, stretching to reach, nodded over with Warren coming in behind him looking to be better placed.
Strachan tried his luck with a snap-shot from distance which went wide of the mark before Brechin made a couple of changes sending on Kieran Darar for Eaton in the 51st minute and then replacing Smith with Lewis Fyfe six minutes later.
Stephen, again, wasn’t far away from getting on the score sheet when he got on the end of a Sturrock cross, which Robbie leapt to tip over the bar.
A fine Arbroath move involving Cowan, Simpson and Warren opened up the Brechin defence, but Robbie dived to smother the ball at the latter’s feet as he advanced into the box.
Midway through the half, Mowatt was booked for clattering into Adam McWilliam and from the free kick; Brechin came the closest they had done all afternoon to scoring. Barker sent the ball into the box and Buggins got his head to it and his effort struck the bar and bounced over.
Despite both teams having pockets of possession, neither side was able to make much in the way of clear cut chances, with Brechin in particular seeing most of their moves break down long before they reached the penalty area.
In the 71st minute, Mowatt got the better of Darar at the corner flag before crossing into the box, but Simpson scooped the ball over the bar at the near post.
Five minutes later, Brechin were given a promising chance when Steve Florence was booked for pulling back McWilliam a few yards outside the box, but Lewis Fyfe fired the resultant free kick straight into the ‘wall’, with Barker coming closer from the rebound with a shot, which dipped over the bar.
Inside the final 15 minutes, Arbroath replaced Warren with Mark Fotheringham, before Cowan got to the by-line and pulled the ball back for Stephen, but Robbie dived out to push it away before the Arbroath player could reach.
A surging solo run from his own half saw Sturrock evade a couple of challenges, but his parting shot didn’t match the rest of the move as he slashed the ball yards wide of the intended destination.
Further changes saw Arbroath send on Colin Lawson for Stephen, Brechin replace Lewis Dunn with Steven Eaton and Craig Watson take over from Mowatt in the Arbroath ranks as the match drifted to a conclusion.
Arbroath won more comfortably then the two-goal margin would suggest despite being unable to add to the first half goals. Brechin, despite playing some neat possession football when they had the ball, rarely looked like making any inroads into the Arbroath lead and subsequently the game went a little flat in the second-half.
Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, McLeish, Sturrock, Tosh, Durno, Florence, Mowatt (Watson 88), Stephen (Lawson 86), Simpson, Cowan, Warren (Fotheringham 77). Unused subs: Johnston, Campbell and Stewart.
Brechin Vics: Robbie, Duff, Eaton (Darar 51), Buggins, Gourlay, Dunn (Eaton 86), Smith (Lewis Fyfe 57), Strachan, McWilliam, Barker, Robertson. Unused subs: Crowe and Cairney.
Referee: Mr. S. Leslie (Brechin).
Vics travel up the coast into Kincardineshire to meet Stonehaven of the North Region Super League in the second round of the G.A. Engineering Cup tomorrow (Saturday).
Vics are taking a bus to the match, which leaves Ogilvy Park at 12 noon, and anyone wishing to come and support the team will be made welcome. Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m.
McBookie.com East North League
P W D L F A Pts
Dundee NE 15 10 2 3 47 19 32
Downfield 17 10 1 6 48 33 31
Kirrie Thistle 12 9 2 1 38 15 29
East Craigie 15 9 2 4 37 25 29
A’roath Vics 14 8 2 4 39 25 26
Forfar WE* 14 10 0 4 34 25 24
Blairgowrie 15 8 0 7 29 25 24
Montrose 13 7 2 4 37 17 23
Lochee Harp 13 2 2 9 17 35 8
Brechin Vics 16 2 1 13 26 49 7
Forfar Albion 13 2 1 10 20 55 7
Coupar A’gus 15 1 1 13 13 62 4
*Forfar WE deducted 6 points for playing unregistered players