Arbroath Vics 1, Montrose Roselea 3
ARBROATH Vics completed their programme for the season with a home match against Montrose Roselea in the league on Saturday.
Kevin Durno returned to the starting line-up following a spell on the sidelines due to a knee injury, replacing Matty Johnston, who was guest at a wedding, while Craig Stephen was handed the number nine jersey, with Craig Watson dropping down to the bench.
In a lively opening, Roselea won an early corner, which came to nothing, before Vics broke to the other end where Garry Warren got away a shot, but his low effort was easily held by Ross McLeod in the away goal.
Calum Watson came closer in the third minute when he gathered the ball in just outside the box, but after spinning round, he sent his shot high over the bar without troubling Lee Hutcheson.
With a fairly strong wind behind them, Vics forced a couple of corners, which had Roselea defending but the danger was eventually cleared when Ross McLeod got a good hand to the ball to fist clear.
Roselea came close to opening the scoring in the eighth minute when Calum Watson made space to send an angled drive from outside the area beyond the reach of Hutcheson, but the ball rebounded back into play from the base of the post.
The goal was only delayed for a couple of minutes however. Vics lost possession in their own half, which allowed Michael Cruickshank to play in CALUM WATSON and this time his shot from a similar distance found its mark just inside the upright.
Vics responded by fashioning out a chance when Grant Mowatt chipped the ball over the Roselea defence for Chris Simpson to race on to, but his shot was too weak to trouble Ross McLeod who saved comfortably.
Stephen then hooked the ball forward, which caused momentary indecision in the Roselea half as it swerved about in the wind, but McLeod eventually left his line to claim it.
As Vics began to get a grip on proceedings, Warren sent in a dangerous free kick, which McLeod did well to hang on to low down at the post.
Five minutes later, Vics forced a series of corners, before the danger was eventually averted when the referee gave a free kick to Roselea for a push on goalkeeper McLeod.
Ex-Roselea player, Simpson almost got Vics back on level terms in the 29th minute when Sturrock won the ball deep inside his own half, allowing Warren to send him away, but Ross McLeod came to the visiting sides rescue, blocking his netbound shot away for a corner.
Vics came even closer 10 minutes later when Paul Tosh nodded a Stephen cross back into the six-yard box and Warren saw his shot crash back off the bar with McLeod for once beaten.
The half ended with Vics on top, but the teams headed for the half-time refreshments with Roselea still a goal to the good.
Half-time: Arbroath Vics 0 Montrose Roselea 1.
Having been unlucky to go in at the break a goal down, Vics grabbed an equaliser three minutes after the restart.
Fotheringham and Simpson helped to work the ball wide to Stephen on the right and his cross was met around 12 yards out by GRANT MOWATT who directed a header beyond the reach of McLeod.
The goal seemed to alert Roselea to the danger that their title hopes might slip away and when James Collier headed a Cruickshank corner back into the box at the far post, there was an almighty scramble before Vics managed to get it cleared at the expense of another corner, which came to nothing.
Cruickshank then tested Hutcheson with a rasping free kick from distance, which the ‘keeper did well to dive across his line and push behind.
It was Roselea who were now calling the shots and they looked to have a certain penalty turned down when Florence tripped Cruickshank inside the area, but the referee allowed play to continue, much to Vics’ relief.
In the 60th minute, Roselea made a change when Ewan Graham came on for Cruickshank.
Although Roselea were back on top again, Vics were far from out of it and the match could still have gone either way and McLeod was happy to see a Stephen cross dip just over the bar from wide on the right.
Midway through the half, Vics sent on top scorer Watson for Simpson, while a couple of minutes later, Roselea replaced Dale Reid with Danny Ross.
In 71 minutes Roselea went back in front after a long spell of pressure. A corner was cleared only as far as Craig Anderson who hit a half volley from 20 yards and JAMES COLLIER was in the right place to deflect the off target shot into the net with his head.
Hutcheson then prevented Roselea from adding a third when he got behind a Graham free kick to push his fierce shot over the bar.
With 10 minutes left, Vics replaced Warren with Andy Cowan, but a minute later, Roselea made certain of the points when they went 3-1 in front. Callum Rae picked out CALUM WATSON and the centre-forward drilled a low shot beyond the reach of Hutcheson and just inside the post from distance.
In the closing stages, Vics sent on Colin Lawson for Stephen, but it was too late to alter the outcome as Roselea claimed the three points, which takes them back to the top of the table ahead of East Craigie, whose match at Dundee North End was postponed, on goal difference.
Yet again, Vics lost an early goal and were forced to chase the game. They had a good spell in the first half, without having any reward, before drawing level at the start of the second period. However they lost their way a bit in the second part of the half and Roselea just did enough to claim the win.
While Vics’ season ended disappointingly they were still in with a chance of promotion until defeat in the penultimate game. The league however is still there for anyone to win or lose, and although Roselea are now top, East Craigie, Dundee North End, Kirrie Thistle and Forfar West End are all still in with a chance and the destination of the title and the one other promotion place looks like going down to the wire.
Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, McLeish, Sturrock, Tosh, Durno, Florence, Mowatt, Fotheringham, Stephen (Lawson 85), Simpson (Watson 68), Warren (Cowan 80). Unused substitutes: Kenny and White, g/k.
Montrose Roselea: McLeod, Taylor, Taylor, Collier, Reoch, Whyte, Rae, Anderson, Watson, Reid (Ross 70), Cruickshank (Graham 60). Unused substitutes: Watt, Beedie and Riach.
Referee: Mr M Roncone (Monifieth).
McBookie.com East North League
P W D L F A Pts
Montrose 20 14 2 4 61 20 44
East Craigie 20 14 2 4 56 28 44
Kirrie Thistle 19 13 4 2 66 25 43
Dundee NE 19 12 3 4 55 22 39
Arbroath Vics 22 11 4 7 51 37 37
Downfield 21 11 2 8 56 40 35
Forfar WE* 18 13 0 5 51 30 33
Blairgowrie 22 10 2 10 49 40 32
Lochee Harp 19 5 2 12 26 47 17
Brechin Vics 22 3 1 18 31 73 10
Forfar Albion 19 2 1 16 23 88 7
Coupar Angus 21 1 1 19 19 94 4
*Forfar WE deducted six points for playing unregistered players