Coupar Angus 1, Arbroath Vics 6
Following their disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Lochee Harp the previous week, Arbroath Vics were hoping for a better return when they travelled to Foxhall Park to meet Coupar Angus in the league on Saturday.
Vics made several changes to the starting line-up with Colin Lawson, Chris Simpson and Jake McWalter all recalled, while Craig Sturrock, Kevin Durno and Abdourahman Njie dropped down to the bench.
There was also a change in goal with trialist Ross Scott deputising, due to Lee Hutcheson still sidelined following a head knock and Jack Whitton being in Italy.
Coupar Angus, firmly entrenched at the foot of the table, were playing their first home match since mid-December, due to severe drainage problems with the pitch.
The match got under way on a bobbly surface and Vics were soon in and around the home goal with Ben Middleton being called upon to head a Colin Lawson cross behind for a corner to prevent it reaching Craig Watson, coming in from the right.
Two minutes later, Watson got on the end of a Craig Stephen corner to send a header just wide.
With play mostly in the direction of the Coupar goal, it came as no surprise when Vics took the lead in the 11th minute. Andy Cowan sent Ross Kenny scampering up the right and when he played the ball back across the face of goal, CRAIG WATSON arrived to slam a shot into the net from just inside the six-yard box.
The home side responded from the re-start when Stuart Hill picked up a loose ball and sent a dipping shot from distance over the bar.
Despite that, Vics extended their lead in the 17th minute. Stephen flighted a pass over the head of Michael Malone and CRAIG WATSON took full advantage by running on to bury a shot beyond ‘keeper Gorton.
Watson came close to notching his hat-trick in the 20th minute when a Cowan shot that appeared to be miss-hit flew towards the back post, and the striker stretched to get a toe to it, but could only divert it wide.
The pitch was causing all sorts of problems, not least to Vics’ trialist ‘keeper, and he again sent a kick straight to an opponent as it reared up off the ground in front of him. Jack Dempster profited on this occasion, but Scott recovered to make a fine diving save at his feet as he cut into the box.
Despite those two scares, Vics were mostly in the ascendency and only the crossbar prevented Simpson from scoring their third; his 25-yard drive crashing back into play after it had beaten Gorton in the home goal.
Vics extended their lead further in the 34th minute. Stephen was blocked off just inside the Coupar half almost on the right touchline, and when he swung the free-kick into the box, CRAIG WATSON rose highest to guide in a header to claim his hat-trick.
Two minutes later, Vics scored again. Cowan powered his way up the right before crossing into the box where CRAIG WATSON got in front of the ‘keeper to head in his fourth goal of the afternoon.
The home side must have been demoralised, but they did fashion out a chance before the interval when Ross Evans broke through Vics’ defence and sent a shot wide.
Half-time: Coupar Angus 0, Arbroath Vics 4.
Scott was the first ‘keeper called into action after the break when Lawson fouled Evans just outside the box, but he dealt well with Dempster’s free kick, getting behind it to hold the ball on the line.
Watson was almost on target again as Vics broke to the other end, sending an acrobatic effort over the bar after McWalter had supplied the cross from the right.
Ten minutes into the second half, Vics made a change when Matty Johnston came on for Mark Fotheringham.
Coupar Angus were showing more spirit this half and when they forced a corner, Scott had to be alert to flick an Evans flag kick away from the head of Malone.
The home side then made a double substitution sending on Robert Bickerstaff and Adam Guthrie for Allan Wilson and Malone.
Vics followed suit soon after when Adourahman Njie replaced Stephen, with McWalter dropping into right-back.
The game had became bogged down in midfield, but it was livened up again in the 70th minute when Coupar Angus were awarded a penalty. Gary Mackie swung a cross into the box and McWalter was penalised for barging into the back of Dempster as he tried to reach it. JACK DEMPSTER took the kick and his shot found the net despite Scott getting a hand to it.
Three minutes later, Vics made their third change of the afternoon when Cowan was replaced by Garry Warren.
A fifth goal was looking increasingly likely and it duly arrived in the 77th minute. Colin Lawson sent a diagonal pass through the Coupar defence and ADOURAHMAN NJIE timed his run perfectly to slot it beyond the advancing ‘keeper.
The home side made their final change in the 79th minute when Stuart Buist made way for John Miller.
Dempster was denied a second goal for the home side when he unleashed a powerful drive from distance, which looked netbound until Ross Scott threw himself full length to his right to push it round the post.
The scoring was completed in the 84th minute when Vics scored a sixth. Steve Florence played a pass out of defence for Warren who released CRAIG WATSON and the striker ran out to fire in his fifth goal of the afternoon.
The winning margin was as comfortable as the final scoreline suggests, with Vics never in any of danger of losing after going in four goals ahead, all coming from Craig Watson, at the break. The home side never threw the towel in and gave a decent account of themselves in the second period.
Arbroath Vics: Scott, Stephen (Njie 62), Lawson, Fotheringham (Johnston 55), Florence, Simpson, Mowatt, Cowan (Warren 73), Watson, McWalter, Kenny. Unused subs: Sturrock and Durno.
Referee: Mr C. Fordyce (Dundee).
Vics are at home to Luncarty in the league tomorrow (Saturday). Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m.
Winners this week were: £10 – No. 50, Alan Mowatt; £5 – No. 99, Diane Christie.
McBookie.com East North League
P W D L F A Pts
Dundee NE 26 20 4 2 102 29 64
Blairgowrie 23 15 1 7 65 34 46
Star Hearts 22 14 1 7 74 38 43
Luncarty 21 13 1 7 63 39 40
Newburgh 19 11 6 2 65 29 39
Forfar WE 21 11 2 8 55 36 35
Downfield 18 10 4 4 41 28 34
Arbroath Vics 23 9 5 9 56 59 32
Scone Thistle 22 10 2 10 49 61 32
East Craigie 21 9 1 11 51 39 28
Lochore Wel. 19 8 4 7 38 41 28
Thornton Hibs 19 8 2 9 55 43 26
Brechin Vics 23 6 2 15 25 53 20
Lochee Harp 22 5 3 14 45 59 18
Forfar Albion 26 4 0 22 32 119 12
Coupar Angus 19 0 0 19 11 120 0