Brechin Vics 0, Arbroath Vics 3
ARBROATH Vics made several changes to their starting line-up for the league match away to Brechin Vics on Saturday.
Bob Duncan took over from Lee Hutcheson in goal, while injury and illness ruled out Kevin Durno and Steve Florence resulting in Matty Johnston and Paul Tosh forming the central defensive partnership. Recent signing, Ross Kenny, who had been released by Broughty Athletic made his debut up front.
The home side were the first to threaten when Martin Strachan delivered a free-kick into the box, which Andy Cowan and Matty Johnston got headers to enabling them to clear the danger.
After an early flurry from Brechin, Arbroath began to threaten and the home side were fortunate to still have 11 men on the park a couple of minutes later when ‘keeper Jamie Robbie handled a David McLeish through ball outside his area as Craig Watson looked to get on the end of it. The referee showed leniency to the ‘keeper by only showing him a yellow card before Watson sent the free-kick dipping over the bar.
Arbroath continued to push forward and it came as no surprise when they opened the scoring in the 15th minute. Tosh picked out Grant Mowatt on the left and when he whipped the ball into the box, KENNY got on the end of it to power a header in at the near post.
Four minutes later, Arbroath scored again. Tosh played in a free-kick which Watson nodded on and Andy Cowan touched it towards KENNY who swivelled to crack a 16-yard drive into the roof of the net.
The away side thought they had scored again in the 22nd minute when Chris Simpson played the ball up to Watson who got the better of Robbie as he dived at his feet to turn the ball in, but the referee wasn’t happy with the challenge and awarded a free-kick to Brechin.
A couple of minutes later, Arbroath were forced to make a change when Kenny tweaked a hamstring and was replaced by Garry Warren.
The substitute almost scored with his first touch when Mark Fotheringham knocked a Watson cross down into the box, which produced a good save from Robbie with Lewis Robertson completing the clearance at the expense of a corner.
Robbie again distinguished himself when he dived low to his left to push a netbound effort from Watson round the post.
From Warren’s flag-kick, the ball landed at the feet of Craig Sturrock who volleyed it back in, only to see Robbie make a great save once again.
Tosh was next to have a go, sending a free-kick dipping just wide before Fotheringham had a shot that wasn’t far off target.
A one sided first-half ended with Sean Whitworth making a desperate tackle just inside the box to prevent Watson from getting in a shot.
Half-time: Brechin Vics 0, Arbroath Vics 2.
Arbroath were quickly on the offensive after the restart and when Sean Whitworth failed to cut out a David McLeish through ball it gave Watson a clear run to goal, but his shot was weak and saved low down by Robbie.
Four minutes later, McLeish swapped passes with Fotheringham before sending a cross from the right along the six-yard line but Watson failed to get any connection on the ball.
Mowatt was next to pass up a chance when he dragged a shot across the face of goal and wide as Arbroath failed to take advantage of their possession.
Ewan Cairney found his name in the referee’s box for a late tackle on Fotheringham outside the box, but Robbie wasn’t troubled by McLeish’s free-kick gathering it comfortably.
Midway through the half, Brechin made a triple substitution when Dunn, Jordan Smith and Lewis Robertson were replaced by Steven Eaton, Kevin Barker and Scott Fullerton.
In a rare Brechin attack, Strachan fired a long range effort wide, but normal service was resumed when Warren curled a free-kick just over after he was impeded.
At the other end, Buggins fired a shot high over after an Eaton free-kick had been charged down by the wall.
Arbroath made their second change of the afternoon in the 77th minute when Watson was replaced by Marc Walker, while a couple of minutes later Colin Lawson took over from Andy Cowan.
Despite having hardly been seen in the match, it required an excellent tackle for Johnston to prevent Adam McWilliam from pulling a goal back when Buggins sent the ball into the box.
Whitworth was yellow carded for a foul on Mowatt before Brechin found themselves down to eight men a couple of minutes later.
Walker was impeded by Barrie Gourlay as he tried to get into the box and the referee took the harsh view that it had denied a goal scoring opportunity and sent him off. ‘Keeper Robbie picked up a second yellow card in the aftermath, and he too was sent off along with Eaton for passing a comment to the official. Once the dust had settled, Buggins took over in goal.
With only eight players there was only going to be one winner and Arbroath got a third goal in the 88th minute when FOTHERINGHAM netted from 10 yards.
In stoppage time, Arbroath were given a chance to score again when McWilliam tripped Sturrock in the box, but stand-in ‘keeper, Buggins made a fine save from Tosh’s penalty to beat the ball away.
This was routine win for the Arbroath side, with only Robbie standing between them and a more emphatic victory.
Brechin Vics: Robbie, Buggins, Eaton, Whitworth, Gourlay, Cairney, Dunn (Eaton), Strachan, McWilliam, Smith (Barker), Robertson (Fullerton).
Arbroath Vics: Duncan, McLeish, Sturrock, Tosh, Johnston, Cowan (Lawson, 79), Mowatt, Fotheringham, Watson (Walker 77), Kenny (Warren 24), Simpson. Unused substitutes: Stephen and Hutcheson, gk.
Referee: Mr. W. Ferguson, Forfar.
Arbroath Vics have a much tougher nut to crack tomorrow (Saturday) when they play host to Dundee North End in the league
The Dundee side lost out on pole position when they went down 3-0 to Montrose Roselea who took over at the top. Vics’ win at Brechin moves them up to fourth, only two points behind, Roselea, North End and East Craigie who are all on 35 points.
Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m.
Winners this week were: £70 – No. 15, Denis Balfour; £30 – No. 23, Irene Ferrier; £15 – No. 29, Cameron Walker; £15 – No. 137, Peter Longmuir; £10 – No. 53, Bill Rattray; £5 – No. 19, Steve Florence.
P W D L F A Pts
Montrose 17 11 2 4 52 18 35
Dundee NE 17 11 2 4 52 22 35
East Craigie 17 11 2 4 43 26 35
Arbroath Vics 18 10 3 5 46 30 33
Downfield 17 10 1 6 48 33 31
Kirrie Thistle 14 9 3 2 40 18 30
Blairgowrie 18 9 2 7 37 27 29
Forfar WE* 14 10 0 4 34 25 24
Lochee Harp 15 3 2 10 20 39 11
Brechin Vics 20 3 1 16 30 64 10
Forfar Albion 15 2 1 12 21 61 7
Coupar Angus 18 1 1 16 15 75 4
* Forfar WE deducted six points for playing unregistered players.