Fateful five minutes

MAKING HEADWAY: Abdourahman Njie tries to get Vics going.

MAKING HEADWAY: Abdourahman Njie tries to get Vics going.

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Arbroath Vics 2, Kennoway Star Hearts 4

Scotland’s newest junior side, Kennoway Star Hearts, were the visitors to Ogilvy Park on Saturday as Arbroath Vics returned to league action.

The home side was looking to arrest a run of draws and defeats, which had seen them slip down the table.

There were three changes to the side that ran Tayport close in the East of Scotland Cup the previous week, with Lee Hutcheson replacing Jack Whitton in goal, Matty Johnston slotting into central defence in place of Steve Florence and Grant Mowatt taking over from Chris Simpson, who dropped down to the bench.

Vics forced a corner inside the first five minutes, but goalkeeper Michael Watson was quickly off his line to pluck Garry Warren’s cross off the head of Ross Kenny.

Liam Craig, who was to be a handful all afternoon, put Hearts into attacking mode making ground down the right before cutting the ball back for Kevin Byers who turned it back for George Field to set up Ryan Thomson, but the striker fluffed his shot, allowing Vics to clear their lines.

Soon after, Byers sent the ball out wide to Thomson on the left and he whipped a dangerous cross into the danger area, which Craig Sturrock managed to clear on the six-yard line.

Kenny had a couple chances in quick succession for Vics; a header, which dropped just wide and a shot smothered by the ‘keeper, but in any event neither would have counted as the referee gave offside on both occasions.

Hearts almost made the breakthrough in the 18th minute when a Stefan Anderson pass into the box picked out Thomson who turned quickly to fire in a shot which Hutcheson did well to stand up to and beat away.

Vics had an equally good chance three minutes later when Warren picked up a Sturrock throw-in and helped the ball on for Kenny to slip into the box for Mark Fotheringham, who had run from deep, but Watson made a good save diving to block his shot.

Scott Gilbert picked up the first booking of the afternoon when he hauled down Warren as the winger tried to make ground up the touchline.

Craig tried his luck with a shot from distance after being picked out by Field, but he screwed his shot wide without troubling Hutcheson.

Ryan Thomson was next to have a go from long range with a free kick and although he got his shot on target, it was comfortably gathered by Hutcheson.

At the other end, Anderson misheaded a Stephen cross into the path of Abdourahman Njie, but he recovered in time to block the striker’s shot.

In the 33rd minute, Hearts opened the scoring. Byers ran at the heart of Vics’ defence before playing the ball into the box, where THOMSON steered a shot beyond Hutcheson.

Vics had claims for a penalty waved aside six minutes later when an Njie shot appeared to strike an arm in the box, but the referee was having none of it.

Indeed, Hearts might have gone in two ahead at the break when Thomson set up Craig, but he failed to hit the target as Hutcheson left his line in an attempt to narrow the angle.

Half-time: Arbroath Vics 0, Kennoway Star Hearts 1.

Vics started brightly after the break and when Njie nodded a Warren free kick across the box, Andy Cowan got in a header, which Watson dived low to his right to smother at the base of the post.

Soon after the ‘keeper made a hash of a clearance as Warren chased him down, sending the ball straight to Kenny, but his first time shot went wide of the target,

Hearts responded with a fine move involving Iain Boylan, Thomson and Craig, which opened Vics up and created space for Field, whose shot flew a cross goal and just wide of the far post.

Hutcheson then had to be at his best to block away a Boylan shot after clever play from midfield by Thomson had created the opening.

Vics came close to getting back on level terms in the 54th minute when Kevin Durno picked out Njie on the right with a pass from defence and although his first cross was blocked, his second attempt picked out Cowan whose shot was deflected for a corner.

However, from the flag kick Hearts broke upfield to increase their lead, when CHRIS LORNIE curled a shot from the left high into the corner of the net from around 22 yards.

Within a minute, Hearts were 3-0 ahead. Hutcheson rolled the ball out to Mowatt who promptly lost it to Thomson. He set it up for FIELD to pick his spot.

On the restart, the visitors made a change when Scott Gilbert was replaced by Thomas Hush.

Vics were all over the place at this point and Byers looped a shot just over before Hearts took a 4-0 lead with their third goal in the space of five minutes. Craig took the ball to the by-line before pulling it back for LORNIE to drill low into the net.

Murdoch picked up a yellow card for a foul on Fotheringham who himself was booked a minute later for a similar tackle on Craig.

Midway through the half, Vics made a triple substitution, sending on Jake McWalter, Colin Lawson and Chris Simpson, to take the place of Mowatt, Warren and Kenny. At the same time, Hearts replaced Field with Ryan Robertson.

Watson was brought into action a couple of minutes later when Lawson played in McWalter, who got in a 20-yard shot, which the ‘keeper managed to gather.

Still it was the visitors, courtesy of a four-goal cushion, who looked the more likely to add to the score and Hutcheson made a good save diving to his left to push a stinging drive from Boylan round the post before the same player saw a spectacular overhead kick drop just wide.

Hearts made a third change when Kerr Brown was sent on for Anderson.

Vics kept plugging away and got some reward in the 80th minute when they pulled goal back. Sturrock sent a long ball forward, which found COWAN and his shot from the corner of the box, caught Watson off his line and the ball dropped into the far corner.

From the restart, Vics were awarded a free kick on the centre spot when the referee deemed Hearts to have kicked off illegally and when Johnston hoisted the kick deep into the box, Durno, up with the attack, got a foot to it and the ball went across goal and just wide of the post.

With time running out, Sturrock was yellow carded for taking out Craig, before Vics snatched a second goal in the final minute. NJIE was upended in the area by the ‘keeper and he got up to send to net the resultant penalty.

The Fife side had control of the match for long periods, but their cause was helped by a crazy five-minute spell in which, Vics shipped three goals to ensure they would pick up the points. The only plus point for the home side was a late rally, which helped put a better complexion on the scoreline with two goals inside the final 10 minutes.

Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, Stephen, Sturrock, Cowan, Durno, Johnston, Mowatt (Lawson 65), Fotheringham, Njie, Kenny (Simpson 65), Warren (McWalter 65). Unused subs: Campbell and Whitton, g/k.

Kennoway Star Hearts: Watson, Anderson (Brown 72), Davidson, Murdoch, Gilbert (Hush 56), Boylan, Craig, Byers, Thomson, Field (Robertson 65), Lornie. Unused subs: Wilson and Bremner.

Referee: Mr. R. Milne (Carnoustie).

Tomorrow’s match

Vics are out of town tomorrow (Saturday) when they travel into Perthshire to meet Blairgowrie in the league. The kick-off is at the earlier time of 1.45 p.m. and transport leaves Ogilvy Park at 11.45 a.m.

150 Club

Winners were: £10 – No. 46, Garry Warren; £10 – No. 4, Owen Bryce; £5 – No. 137, Peter Longmuir; £5 – No. 110, Russell Ruxton, jnr.

McBookie.com East North League

P W D L F A Pts

Luncarty 12 8 1 3 45 19 25

Dundee NE 11 7 3 1 35 14 24

Forfar West End 12 7 2 3 36 25 23

Star Hearts 12 7 1 4 48 24 22

Newburgh 11 6 4 1 38 19 22

Downfield 12 6 4 2 29 20 22

Lochore 13 6 3 4 28 27 21

Blairgowrie 12 6 1 5 37 23 19

East Craigie 13 6 1 6 31 24 19

Arbroath Vics 12 5 3 4 29 27 18

Scone Thistle 13 4 2 7 28 36 14

Thornton Hibs 12 4 1 7 31 31 13

Forfar Albion 12 4 0 8 20 49 12

Lochee Harp 12 3 2 7 20 30 11

Brechin Vics 11 2 2 7 11 24 8

Coupar Angus 12 0 0 12 8 82 0