Arbroath Vics 5, Forfar Albion 1
Arbroath Vics were back at home on Saturday when they played host to Forfar Albion in the McBookie.com North Division.
Alan Cormack returned in goal replacing Jack Whitton who dropped down to the bench, while there were also recalls for Andy Cowan and Marc Walker. With Craig Sturrock and Jake McWalter both injured and Chris Simpson, Grant Mowatt and Lee Hutcheson all missing it was a much depleted pool, which David McLeish took charge of with manager Jake Ferrier a wedding guest.
Forfar Albion included player/manager Derek Lawson in their starting line-up alongside further ex-Vics’ players Ryan Haldane and Mark McIntosh. Injury ruled out another former Vics’ player, Garry Buick.
The first chance of the match fell Albion’s way in the third minute when Liam Hely picked up a Jonathan Blackie clearance wide on the right and advanced into the box before firing off a low shot, which required a good save from Cormack, diving low to his right, to prevent the Forfar side from taking an early lead.
At the other end, a good Vics move saw the play switched from right to left where Craig Cowan played the ball into the box for Andy Cowan, but his shot was blocked away by the Albion defence.
Play was slow to get going, but Vics came close to breaking the deadlock in the 15th minute. Craig Stephen crossed into the box from the right and when Garry Warren headed the ball back across the area to Marc Walker, it broke back into the path of Stephen who fired in a first-time effort that Blackie did well to dive full length and tip round the post.
A quick counter attack from a Vics’ corner saw Albion race down field and Cormack had to be out smartly to save at the feet of Liam Hely when he was played into the box by Mark McIntosh.
Soon after a Fraser Willox cross into the Vics’ box needed Matty Johnston to rise above everyone to clear the danger.
Vics responded with Steve Florence sending a dangerous cross into the Albion box, which came off the head of Haldane and shot wide of the far post with the ‘keeper relieved to see it drop wide.
In the 35th minute, Vics opened the scoring. Walker was impeded some 28 yards from goal and when Mark Fotheringham touched the free kick to MATTY JOHNSTON, his shot flew into the net beyond the dive of Blackie.
Within four minutes however Albion were back on level terms. Johnston was penalised for pulling back Ross Cormack just inside the area resulting in a penalty, which FRAZER ELDER stepped up to convert.
Walker sent a header just over the Albion bar from a Warren free kick in the 41st minute, before Vics edged back in front 60 seconds later. Colin Lawson hoisted the ball up the inside right channel and into the box for ANDY COWAN to run onto and send an angled drive into the far corner of the net.
Before play resumed, Johnston picked up a yellow card, presumably for a comment made to the referee.
Half-time: Arbroath Vics 2, Forfar Albion 1.
Albion made a change at the start of the second half when David Mitchell came on for Lawson.
Vics were first to show after the interval when Stephen sent the ball high into the Albion box and Blackie just managed to kick it clear on the penalty spot as Walker tried to get on the end of it.
A long-range free kick from Elder forced Cormack into a save, but it was a fairly routine one for the on-loan ‘keeper.
A fine Vics’ move saw Stephen send Lawson down the right, and when he played the ball inside, Walker stepped over it to allow Watson to get in a shot, which took a deflection and looped over the bar.
From the flag kick however, Vics extended their lead. Fotheringham contested Warren’s cross with a defender and the ball broke into the path of COLIN LAWSON, lurking just inside the area, and his shot looped up and went in at the post. Soon after, Vics made their first change of the afternoon when Ross Kenny came on for Walker.
A dangerous Stephen cross saw young Albion ‘keeper Blackie do well to rise above a cluster of players and punch the ball away as Vics pushed forward in search of another goal.
Watson was next to have a go, teeing the ball up just inside the area and firing a shot just wide of the target.
Midway through the half, Owen Bryce replaced Andy Cowan, while soon after Albion sent on Scott Black for Elder.
Vics should have extended their lead in the 69th minute when Watson stole in at the back post to meet a Warren cross, but sent it wide with the ‘keeper out of position.
The goal was only delayed for a couple of minutes when a mis-kick from centre-half Matthew Florence sent the ball into the path of Watson who was brought down by Blackie on the edge of the box. The referee adjudged it to have been inside the box and booked the keeper before CRAIG WATSON sent him the wrong way from the resultant penalty.
Albion replaced Godfrey with David Geekie on the restart before Fotheringham saw yellow for a trip on Mark McIntosh.
The Albion heads were visibly going down and when Bryce sent the ball forward to Watson, he got beyond Haldane to curl a shot just wide.
In the 81st minute, Watson went off and was replaced by substitute ‘keeper Jack Whitton who took his role up front.
Bryce almost snatched a fifth goal for Vics with an angled drive, which the ‘keeper got to, but failed to hold onto, but the ball squirmed from his grasp and inches wide of the post.
The Albion defence were then posted missing when Warren squared the ball across the face of goal for Ross Kenny, but Blackie managed to block away his shot.
ROSS KENNY was not to be denied however as in the final minute he latched on to a Warren through ball to run on and drill a shot beyond the ‘keeper.
Despite their being only one goal in it at the interval, Colin Lawson’s strike soon after the break appeared to knock the stuffing out of the Albion side and from there on in, Vics went on to record a comfortable win, which takes them up to fourth place, a point behind joint leaders, Newburgh and Dundee North End.
Arbroath Vics: Cormack, Lawson, Johnston, Cowan (Bryce 65), Durno, Florence, Stephen, Fotheringham, Watson (Whitton 81), Walker (Kenny 56), Warren.
Forfar Albion: Blackie, Willox, Elder (Black 68), Haldane, Florence, Hoggan, Lawson (Mitchell 46), Cormack, McIntosh, Godfrey (Geekie 72), Hely.
Vics travel into Fife tomorrow (Saturday) to meet Thornton Hibs in a league fixture. Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m.
McBookie.com East Region North Division
P W D L F At Pts
Newburgh 4 3 1 0 12 6 10
Dundee North End 4 3 1 0 9 4 10
Luncarty 4 3 0 1 15 4 9
Arbroath Vics 4 3 0 1 11 5 9
Kennoway Star Hearts 4 3 0 1 11 6 9
Downfield 4 2 1 1 16 7 7
Forfar West End 4 2 0 2 13 7 6
Blairgowrie 4 2 0 2 10 7 6
Thornton Hibs 4 2 0 2 8 7 6
Lochore Welfare 4 2 0 2 9 10 6
Scone Thistle 4 1 1 2 7 11 4
East Craigie 4 1 0 3 7 9 3
Brechin Vics 4 1 0 3 2 8 3
Forfar Albion 4 1 0 3 4 19 3
Lochee Harp 4 0 2 2 4 9 2
Coupar Angus 4 0 0 4 2 21 0