ARBROATH Vics continued their D.J. Laing League Cup programme with a difficult away match against Montrose Roselea on Saturday.
Missing from the previous week were Mark Fotheringham and Kevin Steele, but Nicky Smith and Garry Warren both came into the starting line-up, as did Ryan Owbridge, replacing Danny McKenzie in the number nine jersey.
The home side was first to show with Ross Colquhoun flighting a free kick into the box, which saw Joe Aitken get above the Vics’ defence, but he was unable to direct his header on target and the ball drifted wide.
Roselea almost drew first blood in five minutes. Aitken annoyed the Vics’defence and when the ball broke to Craig Anderson 25 yards out he hit a well controlled volley which Lee Hutcheson beat out at full stretch.
Soon after, Owbridge headed on a Lee Hutcheson clearance for Garry Warren who attempted to break up the left wing, but he was upended by Jordan Reoch, which earned the Roselea player a yellow card. David McLeish curled the resultant free kick into the box, but it went straight into the midriff of goalkeeper, Ross McLeod.
Matty Johnston soon followed Reoch into the referee’s book when he took the feet from James Collier as he tried to break into the Vics’ half.
Roselea took a quick free kick with Colin Kennedy feeding Ryan Taylor down the line before cutting the ball back for Kennedy to shoot, but Lee Hutcheson beat the ball out. Aitken followed up with a header, which was saved on the line.
On 16 minutes a Taylor corner found its way to Collier at the front post. However, his shot was blocked and Vics managed to clear the danger.
Soon after, Roselea were awarded a free kick 25 yards out and Lee Hood stepped up and sent a dipping effort just over the bar.
Vics replied with Smith sending Craig Stephen free on the right and his dangerous cross flew along the six-yard line with no one in support to turn it goalwards.
Back came Roselea and a Kennedy corner found its way to the back post where Hood sent a header into the side-net.
Owbridge almost played Smith in with a pass into the box, but McLeod was quickly off his line, diving to save at his feet before he could get a shot away.
McLeod then had to look lively, diving low to his left to push a Smith drive round the post for a corner as both sides strived for an opener.
Warren’s flag kick was not properly cleared and Kevin Durno managed to knock the ball back for McLeish whose shot was deflected behind for another corner. McLeish took the second kick and Owbridge and Durno both had efforts blocked before Roselea managed to clear their lines.
Vics were having the better of the exchanges at this point and after Kennedy was booked for disputing a free kick, Stephen nodded Warren’s cross down into the box for Scott McDowell whose shot was pushed behind for a corner by McLeod.
As half-time approached Vics had their best chance of the half in 37 minutes when Owbridge hit a low shot from the edge of the box which McLeod pushed to the side and the keeper had to get up quickly to block Stephen who was coming in to follow up and score.
Half-time: Montrose Roselea 0, Arbroath Vics 0.
The second half was only a couple of minutes under way when McLeish picked up a booking for going in late on Mustard. Vics were then awarded a free kick midway inside the Roselea half when Owbridge was bundled over and although Stephen got his head to Warren’s cross at the back post, he could only knock it back across the face of goal and away from the danger area.
Johnston then lost possession to Kennedy inside his own half, allowing the ex-Vics player to swing over an inviting cross into the box, but Aitken, racing in, volleyed a shot high over the bar.
McDowell was the next player to pick up a caution, when he prevented Roselea from taking a quick free kick inside their own box by blocking the ball with his foot.
Roselea then had their best chance of the game in the 62nd minute when Collier used his strength to hold off a couple of challenges before shooting under Hutcheson, but the ‘keeper got enough on the ball to send it inches wide of the post for a corner. From the flag kick, Durno tried to head clear but almost nodded the ball into his own net, but Hutcheson managed to claw it away from under the bar. As it dropped it was nodded over by a Roselea player, but the referee awarded a corner, which earned him a volley from Durno, resulting in a booking for the Vics’ captain.
Further bookings were dished out to Lee Hood and Craig Sturrock as neither side allowed the other to dominate.
Midway through the half, Kennedy nodded a Hood cross down into a crowded box, but Hutcheson was quickly out to smother the ball on the six-yard line.
Both teams made a change in the 72nd minute, Roselea replacing Aitken with Scott Riach and Vics sending on Ryan Low for Owbridge.
Warren then sent Stephen away, where he got in behind the Roselea defence but Reoch was well positioned to clear Low’s header.
With 11 minutes left, Roselea almost made the breakthrough. Hood was through on Hutcheson, but he elected to square the ball across to Collier who looked set to pick his spot until a tremendous sliding tackle from Durno robbed him of the ball.
In the 85th minute Roselea took off Hood and sent on Paul Taylor, while at the same time, Vics replaced Warren with McKenzie.
The last chance of an entertaining game fell to Roselea when substitute Taylor had a goalward header cleared after Collier challenged Hutcheson, but he failed to get it beyond Steve Florence who had read the danger and got back to clear it off the six-yard line.
Montrose Roselea: McLeod, Colquhoun, Whyte, Mustard, Reoch, Taylor, Hood (Taylor 85), Anderson, Collier, Aitken (Riach 72), Kennedy. Unused substitutes: Rodgers, Urquhart, Rae, Strachan and Craig.
Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, Johnston, Florence, McLeish, Durno, Sturrock, McDowell, Smith, Owbridge (Low 72), Warren (McKenzie 85), Stephen. Unused substitutes: Lawson, Laing, Moffat and Cargill, gk.
Referee: Mr S. Leslie, Brechin.
Vics complete their Group B fixtures in the D. J. Laing League Cup tomorrow (Saturday) with a home match against Blairgowrie.
Although the section is still anybody’s to win, Vics lead the way and a victory over Blairgowrie would ensure them a place in the semi-final. Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m.