HAVING originally been scheduled to take place in November last year, and postponed for a total of six times, the local derby between Arbroath SC and Vics went ahead at the seventh attempt when Seaton Park passed a morning inspection by referee Graeme Bowman on Saturday.
ASC included new signing, Gavin Beith from Carnoustie Panmure in their starting line-up, while trialist ‘keeper Graham Broomhall took over in goal from the unavailable Shaun Logie. Another new signing, Sam McDonald from Downfield, was also included.
Vics also fielded a debutant in their side, Ross Colquhoun from Preston Athletic, being handed the number nine jersey. With Kevin Durno working in London, Matty Johnston came in at centre-half.
Playing towards the Mayfield end, it was Vics who made the early running and they almost opened the scoring in the third minute. Garry Warren flighted over a corner, which Scott McDowell got on the end of, and although his header beat Broomhall, it was headed of the line by Steven Fallon, stationed at the ‘keeper’s left-hand post.
Vics continued to push, forcing several corners and it was from one of these that they opened the scoring in the ninth minute. Lee Jones sent the ball towards the near post and from just inside the six-yard box, MATTY JOHNSTON stole a yard on his marker to glance a header beyond the reach of Broomhall.
Having been seen little in the opening 15 minutes, ASC got back on level terms a minute later, when they were awarded a penalty in their first worthwhile attack. Steven McPhee made inroads into the box, where he was barged to the ground by Johnston. The Vics’ player was booked along with ASC’s Craig Brown for a comment passed to the referee, before TERRY GRAY calmly tucked the spot kick away.
Lee Jones then found his name in the referee’s book for a spot of dissent, before Ross Colquhoun had a decent chance to mark his debut with a goal following a poor clearance from Broomhall, but he rushed his effort and the ball drifted high and wide of the target.
At the other end, Gray sent Andrew Millar away up the right, but his cross was confidently gathered by Steve Reid.
Vics responded with Warren and Jones swapping passes down the left, creating an opening for Warren to send a cross into the ASC box, but the ball took a deflection and was eventually cleared.
The referee was keeping a tight lid on proceedings and Sam McDonald and Stuart Richardson were the next pair to be yellow carded following separate incidents within 60 seconds of each other.
As half-time approached, both teams had chances to go in at the interval a goal to the good. The first came Vics’ way in the 43rd minute when a Warren corner bounced around the box before Jones stabbed in a shot that was blocked inside the six-yard area.
Then a minute before half-time, Michael Stewart forced Reid to dive low to his left to turn his awkward bouncing drive from around 22 yards round the post as the half ended on parity.
Half-time: Arbroath SC 1, Arbroath Vics 1.
Having started the better side in the first half, Vics were first out of the traps in the second period and within three minutes had regained the lead. Steven Florence fed the ball to Gavin Norrie who in turn played it over the halfway line for Jones. The Vics’ player still had plenty to do as he was policed by Blair Mudie, but he held off his attentions before knocking the ball wide to DAVID McLEISH who caught Broomhall off guard, as he appeared to lose his footing, and the ball flashed beyond him and into the net.
McLeish was then brought down within shooting distance of goal, but Jones’ free kick was cleanly gathered by the ‘keeper.
ASC hit back and when a Beith free kick was turned back from the by-line, Brown got on the end of it, but Reid made a fine save, diving low to his right to keep the ball out.
Beith again surged forward from midfield before laying the ball off for Sean McVicar, but his shot was blocked away by Richardson.
In the 59th minute, Vics extended their lead to 3-1. The move again came from inside their own half with Florence and Norrie working the ball forward to Warren. He in turn released Jones, who was tripped just inside the box by Brown, resulting in a penalty. JONES took the kick and slotted the ball home.
Broomhall then made a good save, smothering a McLeish drive after Colquhoun had nodded a Laing cross into his path.
That proved to be Colquhoun’s last involvement as he was replaced a minute later by Ryan Low.
Warren had a great chance to seal the win for Vics in the 63rd minute when Florence and Norrie again combined to send him racing in on goal from the left. However with only the ‘keeper to beat, he dragged his effort across the face of goal and wide of the far post.
Two minutes later, McPhee did likewise for ASC when a fine move involving Mudie, McDonald and Millar had sent him through on goal.
Low almost flicked a Warren corner over the line from close range, but Broomhall was alert enough dive and smother the ball.
Soon after, McPhee seemed set to pull a goal back when he was played into the box by Gray but Florence nicked the ball off his toes to turn it behind for a corner.
From the flag kick, McPhee’s initial cross was cleared, but when he sent it back into the box, Millar’s header seemed destined for the back of the net until Reid made a wonder save, diving along his line to scoop the ball away.
With 16 minutes left, Vics made their second change of the afternoon when Craig Sturrock replaced Warren.
ASC were pushing hard for a goal to bring them back into the game and Millar should have done better than shoot high and wide, when Johnston failed to deal with a through ball.
Vics then made another change in the 80th minute when McDowell went off to be replaced by Colin Lawson.
Reid then made another great save, leaping to tip over a McPhee free kick, which was dipping under the bar.
The ‘keeper then did well to block away an angled drive from the same player, as ASC tried their best to reduce the deficit.
With four minutes left, ASC came the closest yet to grabbing a second goal when Fallon let fly from long range, only to see the ball crash against the bar before being turned behind for a corner.
From the flag kick, Beith powered in a header, which eluded Reid, but Laing did just enough with his head to deflect the ball away to safety off the bar.
The remaining few minutes saw Vics hold out fairly comfortably to claim the three points and stay close on the heels of Montrose Roselea.
ASC: Broomhall, Stewart, Fallon, Brown, Mudie, McVicar, Gray, Beith, McPhee, Millar, McDonald. Unused substitutes: Clark, McDonald, Wallace, McAvoy, Gersok and Scrimgeour.
Arbroath Vics: Reid, Richardson, Laing, Norrie, Johnston, Florence, McLeish, McDowell (Lawson 80), Colquhoun (Low 62), Jones, Warren (Sturrock 74). Unused substitutes: McKenzie, Gove and Cargill, gk.
Referee: Mr. G. Bowman, Dundee.
Tomorrow (Saturday), Vics are away to Blairgowrie in the league. Kick-off is at 1.45 p.m. and transport leaves Ogilvy Park at 11.45 a.m.
ASC have a league fixture at home to Dundee Violet. Kick-off is at 1.45 p.m.
This week’s winners were: £10 – No. 78, Alan Coull; £5 – No. 58, Peter McQuade.