Forfar Albion 1, Arbroath Vics 2
Having won convincingly in the Scottish Junior Cup at Kinnoull the previous week, it was back to the matter of collecting league points for Arbroath Vics, as they headed for Forfar Albion on Saturday.
Manager Derek Lawson made one change to the cup winning side; Colin Lawson coming into the starting 11 to replace Jamie Thomson who had picked up a knock late in the game at Kinnoull.
Vics kicked off and made a good start keeping possession of the ball and forcing Albion onto the back foot from the outset, but the move eventually came to nothing when Kane Hester headed Matty Johnston’s cross behind.
Hester then forced a corner after advancing up the right, but when Josh Chalmers cross came over, Matty Johnston hit it wide.
Hester had a great chance to put Vics in front in the 14th minute when Matthew Florence slipped as he tried to clear a Josh Chalmers through ball giving him a clear run at goal, but keeper Josh Gorton managed to turn his shot behind for a corner with his legs.
The home side however took the lead in the 23rd minute. Steven Milne whipped in a dangerous free kick from the left, which Declan Milne just failed to reach. The cross appeared to be heading in until Alex Cargill dived full length across his line to push it away, but KYLE McLEOD was on the spot to ram the loose ball into the roof of the net from close range.
Chalmers came even closer in the 30th minute when Albion ‘keeper Gorton spilled a MacGregor cross and only a last gasp block on the six yard line prevented the Vics number 11’s shot from finding the back of the net.
Vics however got back on level terms in the 39th minute. There seemed little on when Chalmers received the ball over 30 yards from goal, but he crashed a shot beyond the reach of Gorton, which came back off the underside of the bar. The shot looked to have gone over the line before it came back out, but the referee didn’t give the goal and HESTER made sure by diving forward to head the rebound into the back of the net.
With half-time only a couple of minutes away, Declan Milne did find the net, but the referee disallowed his effort for offside.
Half-time: Forfar Albion 1, Arbroath Vics 1.
Vics made a change at the start of the second half when Garry Warren came on for MacGregor.
The substitute was quickly involved taking play down the left and finding Hester who cut the ball back from the by-line where Scott Donald saw his shot blocked on the six-yard line before spinning across goal and behind for a goal-kick off the boot of Chalmers.
Gorton then kept Albion on level terms when he dived low to his left to flick an angled drive from Hester around the post. Warren’s flag kick was only partially cleared and Sturrock had a shot instinctively saved by Gorton with the rebound coming off Johnston. Still the Albion defence struggled to clear their lines and when the ball came out of the box it offered Chalmers a chance to have a shot, which was deflected wide of the target.
The home side came close when a Mark McIntosh throw-in allowed Black to set up Steven Milne, but he fired his shot straight into the midriff of Cargill.
A couple of minutes alter a Riddell clearance cannoned off Declan Milne allowing him a free run towards goal. The Albion player pulled the ball back for Black, whose shot looked to be heading for the top corner until Alex Cargill leapt high to his right to tip it round the post.
With 15 minutes left, Albion made their second change of the afternoon when Scott Black came on for Steven Milne.
In the 82nd minute Albion made another change when McLeod was replaced by Sam Davidson.
A slack pass back from Johnston almost cost Vics dearly when he put Riddell under pressure and John Black nipped in to win the ball and race unopposed towards goal, but fortunately for Vics the Albion player couldn’t supply the finish blazing his shot high over the bar.
Just when it looked as if a draw was to be the most likely outcome, Vics grabbed the lead in the 85th minute. Sturrock sent Watson free on the right and his cut-back was inch perfect for HESTER, running in, to sweep into the net from around 12 yards.
The goal seemed to deflate Albion and Chalmers came close to adding a third when he cut in from the right and drilled a shot into the side netting three minutes later.
A minute from the end, Gorton kept Albion in the hunt with a terrific one handed save to keep out a Watson shot from close range; the keeper getting enough on the ball to divert it round the post.
The match was nip and tuck for most of the 90 minutes with Vics having to work hard to earn the points late in the game.
Arbroath Vics: Johnston, Sturrock, Riddell, Florence, Sturrock, MacGregor (Warren 46), Lawson, Donald (Watson 62), Hester, Chalmers. Unused sub: Thomson.
Vics’ run of away fixtures continues tomorrow (Saturday) with a league match against Newburgh in Fife. Kick-off is at 2 p.m. and players should meet at Ogilvy Park at 11.45 a.m.
Winners this week were: £20 – No. 3, Vicky Hogg; £10 – No. 37, Colin Lawson; £5 – No. 22, Neil Hardie.