Jeanfield Swifts 3,
Arbroath Vics 4
Vics took a break from league football when they travelled to meet Jeanfield Swifts in the first round of the DJ Laing East of Scotland Cup.
Owen Bryce claimed a spot at right-back due to Matty Johnston being sidelined with a back injury, while Andy Cowan and Colin Lawson were also recalled to the starting line-up, with Craig Watson and Garry Warren dropping down to the bench.
Premier League side Jeanfield Swifts were hoping to emulate last season’s success, having won the GA Engineering Cup and having reached the semi-final stage of the East of Scotland competition.
The match got underway in the impressive Riverside Stadium and it was the home side who created an opening in the first minute when Robbie Holden back heeled the ball into the path of Fraser Mills who fired off a shot that was blocked by Kevin Durno.
The rebound fell to Gavin Mackie whose deflected shot was smothered by Jack Whitton on the line.
In the seventh minute Mackie pulled a free-kick back to Lee Bloomer stationed on the edge of the “D” with everyone expecting a cross, but his shot was easily saved by Jack Whitton.
In the 10th minute, Vics opened the scoring. Cowan picked up a Grant Mowatt throw-in and fired off a shot, which went way off target, but it flew across field where CRAIG STEPHEN picked it up.
He advanced into the box before drilling a low shot beyond Duncan Bruce in the home goal.
The goal appeared to rattle Jeanfield and after Bloomer was booked for a foul on Craig Sturrock, it led to Vics increasing their lead in the 13th minute.
The initial free kick was turned behind for a corner, but when Stephen sent the flag-kick into the area, Sturrock nodded it down into the six-yard box where Abdourahman NJIE swept the ball beyond the ‘keeper and defenders on the line.
Straight from the re-start, Jeanfield pulled a goal back. Vics failed to deal with a long ball launched forward and when it sailed over the head of Durno and Steve Florence, HOLDEN took full advantage to lob it over the advancing Whitton.
Whitton was called into action soon after when Danny Robbie played the ball into the box for Holden who squared it into the path of Colin Sinclair, but his weak shot was easily held by the ‘keeper.
The goal scoring continued in the 25th minute when the home side got back on level terms albeit in fortuitous circumstances.
BLOOMER attempted a cross from wide on the right, but completely miss hit it but the ball sailed over everyone and landed high inside the post at the far corner of the net.
Jeanfield had regained the impetus having levelled and when a Mackie free-kick was headed clear, the ball found its way to Aaron Whitehead just inside the box and his shot on the turn forced Whitton to dive and save on the line.
The ‘keeper was again in the thick of the action saving well from Mills on the six-yard line after a good move involving Sinclair and Holden had created the opening.
Whitton then ensured Vics went in level at the break with a great save in the 42nd minute when he denied Holden from close range when the number 10 was picked out by Jamie Reid on the six-yard line.
Half-time: Jeanfield Swifts 2, Arbroath Vics 2
The home side were first to show after the break when Reid swung a cross into the box, which Durno could only partially head clear and Mackie curled the loose ball just wide.
A minute later another cross, this time from Holden saw him clip the ball to the far post where Mackie played it back across the face of goal. Mark Fotheringham almost turned it into his own net, but Whitton leapt to tip it over the bar.
In the 49th minute, Vics made a double substitution when Watson and Warren replaced Lawson and Bryce; a move which saw Stephen switch to right-back.
Within six minutes the move had paid off when Vics reclaimed the lead.
Whitton sent a clearance down field, which saw Watson get above his marker to head the ball on and WARREN picked it up before cutting in from the left and firing a shot beyond the reach of the ‘keeper.
Sturrock picked up a yellow card for a foul on Reid a minute later, but within 60 seconds, Vics had restored their two goal advantage.
Yet another clearance from Whitton saw Watson beat Andy McCulloch in the air and this time his header to the opposite wing saw NJIE advance into the area and beyond a couple of defenders before drilling a shot beyond Bruce.
Njie almost bagged his third of the match minutes later when Fotheringham and Mowatt combined to work the ball out to the right where he cut in and fired a shot across the face of goal and just wide of the far post.
Watson was next to have a go as Vics took control of the match, advancing down the right before playing it inside to Mowatt who held the ball up, before teeing up the substitute who had cut inside to get in a shot, which Bruce was able to hold.
Midway through the half, Jeanfield made a change when Bloomer made way for Garry Sweeney.
Despite that, it was Vics who looked more likely to score and Mowatt teamed up with Njie to send a 20 yard shot over the bar.
With 20 minutes left, the home side made further changes when Phil McGuire and Jamie Gill were sent on for Sinclair and Mackie.
Bruce then kept Jeanfield in the hunt when he dived full length to his right to push a net-bound shot from Mowatt round the post.
However in the 75th minute, Jeanfield were back in contention when REID picked up the ball some 35 yards from goal and sent a tremendous drive rocketing high into the net just inside the post.
Three minutes later, Vics made their third change of the afternoon when Mowatt was withdrawn in favour of Chris Simpson.
The goal gave Jeanfield a new lease of life and when Jamie Gill got on the end of a Mills cross, it required a good save from Whitton to keep his header out.
Sweeney was next to have a go, gathering in a Mills pass on the 18-yard line before turning and firing in a shot, which Whitton managed to hold on to.
Vics however weren’t troubled from there on in and came close to increasing their lead in the 85th minute when Watson nodded down a Stephen free-kick to Simpson who lobbed a shot over the bar.
In the final minute, Watson sent a free-kick dipping inches over the bar, before Bruce prevented a certain goal by diving full stretch to tip the substitutes’ drive round the post in stoppage time.
Over the piece, Vics deserved their win against a team from a higher division. Vics, having taken an early two goal lead in the first half saw Jeanfield battle back and were deservedly level by the break, but in the second period, Vics two quickfire goals proved too much for them to claw back a second time, and Vics could have ran out more convincing winners in the end.
Jeanfield Swifts: Bruce, Jamie, Robbie, McCulloch, Whitehead, Sinclair (McGuire 70), Bloomer (Sweeney 63), Deans, Mills, Holden, Mackie (Gill 70). Not used: Gunnion and Davidson.
Arbroath Vics: Whitton, Bryce (Warren 49), Sturrock, Cowan, Durno, Florence, Mowatt (Simpson 78), Fotheringham, Stephen, Njie, Lawson (Watson 49). Not used: McWalter and Hutcheson.
Referee: Mr J. Reekie.
Vics are again in Perthshire tomorrow (Saturday) when they travel to meet Scone Thistle in a league fixture. Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m.
Winners this week were: £10 – No. 129 Bill Donald; £5 – No. 132 Kevin Durno.