ARBROATH Vics began their league campaign with an away match against Montrose Roselea on Saturday, having drawn 0-0 against them at the same venue a fortnight previously in the group stages of the D.J. Laing League Cup.
Vics were forced to reorganise following their controversial defeat in the semi-final of the D.J. Laing League Cup. Matty Johnston came in for Kevin Durno, who was unavailable, while Danny McKenzie was given a starting place at the expense of Terry Gray, who was injured.
The first chance fell to Vics when a good tackle from Ryan Owbridge inside the Roselea half allowed him to send a pass out wide to Craig Stephen on the right, but Ross McLeod showed a clean pair of hands, plucking the ball out of the air as McKenzie came in.
Stephen again caused problems for Roselea up the right flank before pulling the ball back for Mark Fotheringham, but his effort failed to trouble Ross McLeod, who gathered comfortably.
At the other end, a Colin Kennedy throw-in allowed Lee Hood to play the ball into the box for James Collier, which forced Lee Hutcheson to scramble low down at the striker’s feet to knock the ball away.
Roselea had another chance in 14 minutes when Ross Colquhoun played a ball up to the chest of Collier who spun and sent a dangerous pass towards Anderson, but he was given offside as he drilled a shot across the face of goal and wide of the far post.
McLeod again showed good handling when he grabbed hold of a Sturrock cross as Stephen tried to get his head on the end of it as play quickly moved back towards the Roselea end.
Colquhoun put Roselea back on the attack sending the ball down the right for Collier who cut back inside to set up Robert Urquhart, but his shot was blocked away by Johnston.
Stephen then broke down the right hand side for Vics and his dangerous cross had to be turned behind for a corner with Owbridge waiting to pounce.
In the 31st minute, Kennedy returned a corner into Vics’ penalty box and Johnston did well to block from Urquhart as the ball bounced around the area.
Soon after, a quick throw-in from Taylor found Hood who in turn passed to Kennedy and his speculative volley went just over the bar.
The nearest to a goal came Vics’ way seconds before the half-time whistle. Fotheringham cleverly dinked the ball into the Roselea box and found the head of Owbridge who brought out a great save from McLeod who pushed the ball into the air from under the bar before gathering at the second attempt.
Half-time: Montrose Roselea 0, Arbroath Vics 0.
Roselea almost found a way through a minute into the second period when Urquhart sent a teasing low cross into the box, which Collier, stretching, just failed to reach and the ball ran through to Hutcheson in goal.
Anderson then broke forward in midfield, but his shot didn’t match his run, flashing wide of the target.
Vics replied with McLeish sending Owbridge free on the right and when his cross went into the box, McKenzie just failed to reach with his outstretched foot and the ball ran wide.
Kennedy picked up the first yellow card of the afternoon when he talked out of turn to the referee.
Former Vics pair Anderson and Urquhart combined to set up a chance for Roselea, but McLeish was in the right place to deal with Urquhart’s cross, sweeping the ball away from Collier on the six-yard line.
In the 65th minute, Roselea had a let-off when a shot from a Vics corner was cleared off the line with McLeod beaten, but the ‘keeper was quick to react and tip Stephen’s follow-up over the bar.
Midway through the half, Roselea sent Scott Riach on for Hood. The substitute took only a couple of minutes to find himself acquainted with the referee’s yellow card, having his name noted for a foul on McLeish.
Owbridge was next to be yellow carded following a challenge on Colquhoun, before Vics replaced McKenzie with Lee Jones.
Roselea then wasted a decent opportunity when they mucked up a free-kick on the right hand edge of the box, following a foul by Sturrock, which earned the left-back a booking for dissent.
As both teams looked for a breakthrough Fotheringham was set up by Owbridge, but his shot went harmlessly wide of the post.
With five minutes left, Roselea almost snatched a winner. Taylor sent over a cross, which Collier got on the end of, but his header came back off the bar and Hutcheson somehow got to Anderson’s follow up to block what would have been a certain goal.
Collier picked up a late booking for getting involved with Owbridge almost on the half-way line.
There was still one last chance for Vics when Jones went down inside the box in the 90th minute, but the referee wasn’t interested in Vics’ claims for a spot-kick, awarding a free-kick to Roselea when the Vics’ player handled the ball on the ground.
It was also pleasing to see a young referee in his first season in the junior grade, handle the match with authority and common sense, something, which Willie Ferguson, who took charge of the semi-final against Carnoustie Panmure, could well learn from.
Montrose Roselea: McLeod, Colquhoun, Whyte, Rae, Reoch, Taylor, Urquhart, Anderson, Hood (Riach 68), Collier, Kennedy. Unused substitutes: Rogers, Tindal, Craig, Brand and Strachan.
Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, McLeish, Florence, Stephen, Johnston, Sturrock, McDowell, Fotheringham, Owbridge, Warren, McKenzie (Jones 73). Unused substitutes: Lawson, Laing, Gray gk and Cargill.
Referee: Mr. S. McBurney, Dundee.
Vics return to Ogilvy Park tomorrow (Saturday) when they entertain Kirrie Thistle in a league fixture. Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m.
This week’s 160 Club winners were: £10, no. 62 - Ewan Smith; £5, no. 148 - Chris Farr.