Arbroath Vics 4,
Scone Thistle 5
Arbroath Vics extended a New Year welcome to Scone Thistle in their first league fixture of 2014 at Ogilvy Park on Saturday.
With both regular ‘keepers, Lee Hutcheson and Jack Whitton, sidelined, Vics had to call on Arbroath High School FP’s regular custodian Paul Saunderson to take the place between the sticks.
With Mark Fotheringham suspended, Kevin Durno moved into central midfield, while Colin Lawson came in at right-back. Craig Watson also started his first match for several months having come off the bench the previous week.
David McLeish was forced to act as an emergency substitute with the other three places on the bench being taken up by Ross Kenny, Craig Stephen and Chris Simpson who were not fully fit.
Scone looked the more lively in the early exchanges as a pleasant morning turned to rain just before the kick-off. Ross Mitchell played an inviting low cross across the Vics’ goal that Callum Robertson couldn’t quite get on the end of, the ball being cleared to Derek Keir who chipped the ball goalwards but over the bar.
From the resultant goal kick Jamie Ayton was sent clear from an R. Mitchell header but Saunderson in the home goal rushed from his line to make a brave save at the feet of the Scone player.
A couple of minutes later Scone had another chance when Robertson was released on the left before squaring to Ayton who saw his goalbound shot blocked for a corner, which when swung into the area by Keir saw R. Mitchell bullet a header towards the top corner only for Saunderson to pull off a great save and push the ball onto the crossbar.
Vics began to get their act together and took the lead in their first real attack into the Scone half in the 12th minute. Craig Sturrock sent Garry Warren free up the left and when he tried to pull the back from the by-line inside the box he was upended by Kenneth Hynd. ABDOURAHMAN NJIE stepped up to net the resultant kick.
Sturrock was yellow carded in the 17th minute for a foul on Hynd and from the free kick, Derek Keir swung over a cross, which R. Mitchell got his head to, but could only direct wide.
Five minutes later, Grant Mowatt sent Watson free on the left, and when he pulled the ball back across the face of goal, Matthew Curtis did well to dive out and push it away from Njie arriving at the back post.
Scone should have been back on level terms in the 26th minute when Keir and Scott Lafferty combined with R. Mitchell to release Ayton but he could only lob the ball into the side netting as Paul Robertson came racing off his line.
Vics however extended their lead to two goals in the 32nd minute. Watson sprinted away from the Scone defence up the right and when he pulled the ball back across the box, WARREN arrived to steer a shot into the net from around the penalty spot.
It should have been 3-0 three minutes later when Andy Cowan released Watson on the opposite wing this time and his cross found Njie unmarked at the back post, but the striker guided his header wide of the target from close range.
The away side got back into the game with a wonder strike in the 39th minute. Hynd brought down on the left just inside the Vics’ half took a quick free kick himself to R. Mitchell who released Ayton on the left. Jamie Ayton’s cross into the centre was cleared only as far as LAFFERTY about 35 yards out and he took a few steps forward before hitting a dipping effort in the top corner from just under 30 yards out.
Half-time: Arbroath Vics 2, Scone Thistle 1.
A minute into the second half, Scone were back on level terms. Scott Ballingall and Mitchell played some lovely football out of defence before Mitchell released Hynd. He in turn found Robertson on the right and his low cross was turned into goal at the near post by MITCHELL.
Vics came close to regaining the lead in the 49th minute when Sturrock rose above the Scone defence to get on the end of a Warren corner, but his header clipped the top of the bar and dropped over.
Despite that, Scone were soon at the other end and three minutes later had overturned the two-goal deficit to lead 3-2. Keir, C. Mitchell and R. Mitchell were all involved in moving the ball about the Scone midfield before Scott Lafferty on a great overlap crossed the ball into the box to Kenneth Hynd. His first shot was blocked on the line but CALLUM ROBERTSON was on hand to knock the ball into the net.
The lead was only shortlived as within five minutes, Vics had squared the match at 3-3. Sturrock swung in a deep cross from the left and MOWATT took advantage of hesitation in the Scone defence to turn the ball into the net from 15 yards.
A topsy-turvy match swung back in Vics favour in the 65th minute when McLEISH picked up the ball some 35 yards from goal and crashed an outrageous shot into the top corner beyond the helpless ‘keeper to give Vics the lead once again.
Before play resumed, Scone sent on Charlie Fertacz for Ayton.
Vics’ lead only lasted a couple of minutes before Scone again squared the match. Ballingall cut into the box from the right only to be tripped and CHARLIE FERTACZ penalty beat Saunderson to make it 4-4.
Play continued to swing from end to end and Vics were next to have a chance when Njie set up Watson on the edge of the box, but he failed to get enough purchase into his shot and Matthew Curtis was able to save comfortably on the line.
Fertacz came close to putting Scone ahead when he was played through by R. Mitchell and he took the ball around Saunderson and seemed set to score with the goal gaping, but Durno appeared from nowhere to block his shot on the six-yard line.
Incredibly, Scone went back in front in the 78th minute. A throw in on the Scone left was played to FERTACZ and he took the ball from the wing into the main area of the pitch past one defender, then turned another before cutting inside and rounding Saunderson to roll the ball home.
The Scone substitute came close to grabbing a hat-trick when he again broke through Vics’ defence, shrugging of a foul from Lawson to fire off a shot, which was blocked, with the Vics’ player being shown a yellow card once the ball went out of play.
R. Mitchell was then yellow carded for a foul on Cowan before McLeish also saw yellow for a foul on the same player. Further bookings saw Cowan noted for a foul on Keir in a heated last three minutes.
As the match entered injury time, McLeish picked up a second yellow card when he went in late on Keir, leaving Vics with 10 men for the final few seconds.
Scone took the sting out of the match by sending on Jordan Brown for Hynd just as McLeish was heading off, but he was barely on the pitch when the referee blew for full-time.
The New Year began with Vics involved in a nine-goal thriller, but it is not a match they will want to linger long in the memory after twice being in winning positions only to throw them away, with Scone showing the tenacity to come from behind on both occasions to earn the points.
Arbroath Vics: Saunderson, Johnston, Sturrock, Cowan, Durno, Florence (McLeish 60), Mowatt, Lawson, Watson, Njie, Warren. Unused subs: Kenny, Stephen and Simpson.
Scone Thistle: Curtis, Ballingall, Lafferty, Laing, MacLeod, Mitchell, Keir, Mitchell, Robertson, Ayton (Fertacz 65), Hynd (Brown 90). Unused subs: Michie, Dudek and Adam.
Referee: Mr. R. Milne (Carnoustie).
Vics continue their league programme tomorrow (Saturday) with an away match against Coupar Angus. Kick-off is at 1.30 p.m. and transport leaves Ogilvy Park at 11.30 a.m.
Winners this week were: £10 – No. 84, Elaine Simpson; £5 – No. 59, Peter McQuade.
McBookie.com East North League
P W D L F A Pts
Dundee NE 17 12 4 1 67 21 40
Luncarty 17 11 1 5 56 31 34
Star Hearts 15 10 1 4 57 26 31
Blairgowrie 15 9 1 5 50 25 28
Downfield 14 8 4 2 33 22 28
Newburgh 14 7 5 2 52 24 26
Forfar WE 15 8 2 5 40 28 26
Lochore 15 7 3 5 34 32 24
Scone Thistle 18 7 2 9 40 54 23
East Craigie 17 7 1 9 44 35 22
Arbroath Vics 17 6 4 7 40 47 22
Thornton Hibs 15 6 2 7 47 35 20
Lochee Harp 15 5 2 8 37 36 17
Forfar Albion 18 4 0 14 25 86 12
Brechin Vics 16 3 2 11 16 40 11
Coupar Angus 16 0 0 16 10 106 0