Dundee North End 5,
Arbroath Vics 1
It was back to the business of collecting league points for Arbroath Vics on Saturday when they travelled to meet Dundee North End.
The match was arguably the North Division’s most attractive fixture on Saturday.
Vics made just the one change to the side that ran Beith close in the Scottish Junior Cup the previous week with Ross Kenny coming in at the expense of Chris Simpson.
Despite a day of torrential rain, that saw many matches in Scotland either postponed or abandoned, North End Park held up well in the conditions as the match got underway on a sodden surface.
It was the home side who made the best start and with only three minutes on the clock, they were in front. Vics gave the ball away inside the North End half, allowing Jordan Colquhoun to send it up the left where Connor MacLeod got into the box and beyond Jack Whitton to shoot goalwards where Steve Florence managed to turn it behind for a corner at the near post. From the flag kick however, centre-half JONATHAN SMART was left unchallenged as he ran on to bullet a header into the net from Reece Ritchie’s cross.
It might have got worse for Vics three minutes later when a Scott McComiskie cross looped towards goal off the heel of Kevin Durno, but thankfully for the away side it dropped into the hands of Whitton.
In Vics’ first worthwhile attack in the 10th minute, Grant Mowatt sent the ball through to Kenny who played it across the face of goal where it just eluded Abdourahman Njie coming in at the back post. The striker managed to gather the ball on the by-line and it eventually fell at the feet of Andy Cowan who sent a 25-yard shot curling just wide.
Soon after, Craig Sturrock sent Njie away down the left and his cross picked out Kenny whose header struck a defender and bounced wide with Dean Easton rooted to his line.
Connor MacLeod should have extended North End’s lead in the 16th minute when Durno inadvertently headed a long ball from Adam Stevenson into his path, but he shot well wide of the target with only Whitton to beat.
The goal was only delayed for a further three minutes when McCOMISKIE flighted a cross into the box, which he seemed to mis-hit, but it fooled Whitton, who was off his line, and sailed over the keeper’s head and landed in the net.
Whitton was penalised for sliding out the left hand edge of the box with the ball in his hands as he saved at the feet of Barry McNaughton a minute later, but North End failed to capitalise on the resultant free kick.
Vics were nearly gifted a goal in the 28th minute when George Grier sent a pass back from distance beyond Easton, but fortunately for the North End support it ran just wide of the post.
Mowatt picked up a yellow card before McComiskie turned quickly on the edge of the box to fire off a shot, which Steve Florence got just enough of a touch to, sending the ball spinning over the bar.
However, Vics hauled themselves back into contention in the 38th minute. Garry Warren sent a lovely pass through the heart of the North End defence for KENNY to run on to and the striker made no mistake, placing a shot beyond the advancing ‘keeper.
Within a couple of minutes, however, North End regained their two goal advantage. MacLeod turned the defence on the edge of the box before blasting in a shot, which Whitton did well to beat away, but his effort was in vain as JAMES McCABE reacted quickest to tuck away the rebound.
From the re-start a crunching tackle from Sturrock allowed Mark Fotheringham to release Warren down the left and when he crossed into the area, Njie got in a header, which Easton dived across his line to push away.
Half-time: Dundee North End 3, Arbroath Vics 1.
With the torrential rain having gone off, Vics were quickly out of the blocks at the start of the second half, with Kenny firing in a looping volley from 30 yards, which Easton got the slightest of touches to; enough to see him divert the ball round the post. The first corner was turned behind and from the second, the ball came back out to Mowatt whose cross just eluded Kenny and Njie arriving at the back post and drifted wide.
At the other end, McCabe sent a dangerous cross into the box, which Jordan Colquhoun got on the end of, but Matty Johnston got a block on his close range shot to turn it behind for a corner.
Darryl Gowans was yellow carded for tripping Njie on the touchline as he tried to make ground up the wing, before a mistake by Adam Stevenson saw him head the ball back into his own box presenting the striker with a chance, but Easton stood up to parry his shot away.
In the 57th minute, Vics made a change when Mowatt was replaced by Owen Bryce.
North End fashioned out three chances in quick succession as Vics only just prevented them from extending their lead. Whitton had to be alert to push away a MacLeod snapshot, before McNaughton fired a shot off a post and Connor MacLeod lashed a shot just over the bar.
A Warren free kick almost found its intended target of Kenny as Vics strived to reduce the deficit, but Smart got enough of a touch on to it with his head to divert it round the post for a corner.
Vics made a second change in the 65th minute when Colin Lawson came on for Cowan, while at the same time North End replaced McCabe with Liam McIntosh.
Two minutes later, a Warren corner was partially cleared out of the box where Fotheringham and Sturrock worked an opening, but Easton got down smartly, saving the latter’s drive on the line.
The game was over for Vics in the 70th minute however when North End took a 4-1 lead. MacLEOD was given time and space to cut in from the left and his low shot struck the far post and rebounded in to the opposite corner.
Further changes saw Jake McWalter take over from Johnston and Michael Stewart come on for Stevenson in the North End ranks.
The home side came closing to scoring again when Florence lost possession to Liam McIntosh allowing him to set up MacLeod whose shot crashed off the junction of post and bar.
Sturrock picked up a booking for dissent, before North End made their third change of the afternoon when Corey Gray came on for McNaughton.
The scoring was completed in the 84th minute when substitute McINTOSH was allowed to run unopposed before firing off a low shot, which Whitton failed to reach as it skidded into the net off the wet surface.
There was still time for Fotheringham and MacLeod to pick up yellow cards following a disagreement on the far touchline, before Kenny saw what turned out to be the last kick of the match, saved on the line by Easton following a Warren corner.
Vics never really got going and from the moment they went behind in the third minute were always chasing the game in a disappointing performance. North End looked livelier than Vics on the day and the win moves them up to second place.
Despite losing, a day of surprise results, postponements and abandoned matches means Vics are still very much in the mix as regards the promotion places.
Dundee North End: Easton, Stevenson (Stewart 73), McCabe (McIntosh 65), Gowans, Smart, Ritchie, McNaughton (Gray 80), Grier, McComiskie, MacLeod, Colquhoun. Unused subs: McCabe and Hoon, g/k.
Arbroath Vics: Whitton, Johnston (McWalter 73), Sturrock, Cowan (Lawson 65), Durno, Florence, Mowatt (Bryce 57), Fotheringham, Njie, Kenny, Warren. Unused sub: Simpson.
Referee: Mr K. Graham (Perth).
Vics are again out of town tomorrow (Saturday) when they travel over the Tay Bridge to meet Super League side Tayport in the second round of the East of Scotland Cup. Craig Stephen comes back into the pool having served his suspension, but Craig Watson is still sidelined with a groin injury, while goalkeeper Lee Hutcheson has moved on loan to Arbroath High School FPs. Saturday’s match kicks-off at 2pm.
This week’s winners were: £10 – No. 44, Brian Farnan; £5 – No. 52, Alan Mowatt.
McBookie.com East North League
P W D L F A Pts
Luncarty 10 8 0 2 43 16 24
Dundee NE 10 6 3 1 26 14 21
Lochore 11 6 2 3 26 22 20
Star Hearts 10 6 1 3 42 19 19
Newburgh 10 5 4 1 34 18 19
Arbroath Vics 11 5 3 3 27 23 18
Forfar WE 10 5 2 3 30 24 17
Blairgowrie 11 5 1 5 31 23 16
Downfield 10 4 4 2 25 18 16
East Craigie 10 4 1 5 26 18 13
Thornton Hibs 11 4 1 6 29 28 13
Scone Thistle 11 3 2 6 24 32 11
Forfar Albion 10 3 0 7 18 42 9
Brechin Vics 9 2 2 5 9 18 8
Lochee Harp 10 2 2 6 16 26 8
Coupar Angus 10 0 0 10 7 71 0