Lochee Harp 1,
Arbroath Vics 3
With the first round of the Scottish Junior Cup taking priority on Saturday, Arbroath Vics, having received a bye, were on league duty away to Lochee Harp.
There were two changes to the side that was held to a 1-1 draw at Scone Thistle the previous week; Lee Hutcheson making his first appearance this season in goal in place of Jack Whitton who was sidelined with a back injury, and Garry Warren coming in for Chris Simpson.
The home side was first to threaten, winning a corner in the second minute and when Danny Martin sent the kick into the box, giant centre-half Steven Fotheringham got on the end of it to power in a header, which Hutcheson did well to dive a cross his line and push away.
Craig Watson had a great chance to put Vics ahead in the fifth minute when Warren ran from his own half before releasing the centre-forward, but goalkeeper Danny Turner got the slightest of touches to the shot, low down to his left to deflect it round the post.
At the other end, Stephen Williamson clipped a free kick into Vics’ box, which found the head of Sam McDonald, but his effort dropped wide of the post without troubling Hutcheson.
Vics responded with Abdourahman Njie breaking free on the right and sending over a cross, which Turner managed to punch clear as Craig Watson and Andy Cowan both tried to get their head to the ball.
Play began to even out and when Williamson headed on a Steven Galligan through ball into the path of Jon McBride he sent an angled drive across the face of goal and wide of the far post.
Grant Mowatt was next to have a go for Vics, but his 25 yard free-kick after he had been tripped, sailed high over the bar without troubling Turner in the home goal.
Hutcheson was then called into action making a decent save from a close range Jon McBride header following a good cross into the box by Sam McDonald from wide on the right.
The Vics’ ‘keeper was soon back in the thick of it, again denying Jon McBride by blocking his shot from inside the box, before kicking the loose ball away.
Harp grabbed the initiative by taking the lead in the 30th minute. Vics failed to get the ball away to safety as it pinged to and fro around the area and FRANK MULLEN took full advantage by drilling a low shot from the 18-yard line into the back of the net.
Abdourahman Njie almost responded for Vics within two minutes when he won an aerial dual with Paul Allan just inside the Harp box before lashing a volley just wide as the ball dropped from the air.
Despite that Craig Paterson came close to extending Harp’s lead in the 35th minute when he picked up a crossfield pass and made space to curl a shot just over the bar.
With half-time only a couple of minutes away, a good ball down the left from Craig Sturrock allowed Warren to pull the ball back across the six-yard line, where Mowatt, racing in at the near post, knocked it over the bar.
Half-time: Lochee Harp 1, Arbroath Vics 0.
Harp almost grabbed a second within a minute of the restart when Sam McDonald knocked a Turner clearance on for McBride to get on the end of, and it required an important block from Hutcheson to prevent his shot from finding the back of the net; the ‘keeper standing tall to beat his effort away.
Kevin Durno picked up a needless booking for dissent, before Williamson guided a header over the bar following a Martin cross.
Watson presented a chance to Mowatt, heading on a Hutcheson clearance for the number seven to get on the end of, but he sent his shot wide of the target as Turner came out to narrow the angle.
That proved to be Watson’s last involvement as he picked up an injury and was replaced by Chris Simpson.
The substitute was quickly involved, being set up by Mowatt, but Turner managed to clear his shot away with his foot. Vics kept up the pressure on the Harp defence as the ball bounced in and around the box, but the home side eventually cleared their lines before Vics were able to capitalise.
Mowatt was the next to be yellow carded, again for dissent after he was given offside.
Harp were back on the attack in the 58th minute when Mullen sent the ball into the box for McDonald who pulled it back along the six-yard line, but Hutcheson dived out smartly to claim it before anyone in a green jersey could reach.
Midway through the half, a dangerous inswinging corner from Martin had Hutcheson under pressure, but the ‘keeper did well to punch clear amidst a cluster of players from under the bar.
In the 70th minute a Warren corner saw Harp unable to clear their lines and Simpson thumped in a shot, which looked netbound until it struck a defender and rebounded to safety.
Just when it looked as if Vics might never score, they grabbed an equaliser in the 72nd minute. A Harp corner was cleared by Mark Fotheringham at the near post and when the ball was helped on the home defence was posted missing as ANDY COWAN broke clear from his own half to run on and drill a low shot beyond the stranded ‘keeper.
Vics immediately made a change replacing Mowatt with Owen Bryce and moving Njie into a more central position from the wing.
In a Harp break, Williamson got the ball forward to Martin, but his parting shot lacked composure and curled over the bar, when he might have been expected to get it on target.
A minute later, Vics came within inches of going in front when Sturrock saw his header from a Warren corner strike the junction of post and bar with the ‘keeper beaten. Simpson was first to the rebound, but blazed his shot across the face of goal and wide.
A minute later, Vics edged in front with a well worked goal. Bryce sent a lovely pass up the right, releasing Simpson who sent over the perfect cut-back for the incoming ABDOURAHMAN NJIE to slam into the net from six yards.
Njie was very nearly on the scoresheet again when he gathered in an M. Fotheringham through ball and flicked it over the head of S. Fotheringham, but Turner just got to the ball before him and managed to smother at his feet inside the box before he could get in a shot.
M. Fotheringham then robbed George Stark in midfield and played the ball on for Simpson, but his shot went across goal and wide of the target.
Vics were finishing much stronger than Harp and they made sure of the points with a third goal in the 90th minute. Hutcheson sent a clearance upfield, which Njie brought under control before running on and playing across the face of goal for CHRIS SIMPSON to convert at the far post.
For a long spell it looked as if Harp’s first half goal was to be the only one of the contest, but Vics’ late show turned the tables and once they did get back on level terms always looked likely to go and win, which they did; the three points taking them up to third in the table just behind Forfar West End on goal difference.
Lochee Harp: Turner, Galligan, Allan, Fotheringham, Flynn, McBride, Mullen, Martin (Stark 78), Williamson, McDonald, Paterson. Unused subs: Steward, Gormley, McRae and Millar.
Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, Stephen, Sturrock, Cowan, Durno, Florence, Mowatt (Bryce 73), Fotheringham, Watson (Simpson 50), Njie, Warren. Unused subs: McWalter, Lawson and Johnston.
Referee: Mr. M. Wilson.
Vics head back in the same direction tomorrow (Saturday) when they are guests of Super League side Lochee United in the preliminary round of the GA Engineering Cup. Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m.
Winners this week were: £70- No. 99, Diane Christie; £30 – No. 88, Jimmy Dear; £15 – No. 100, Anita Boyes; £15 – No. 16, Darren Hogg; £10 – No. 125, Bob Nicol; £5 – No. 33, Bob Duncan
McBookie.com East North League
P W D L F A Pts
Luncarty 7 6 0 1 30 8 18
Forfar WE 8 5 1 2 25 15 16
Arbroath Vics 8 5 1 2 21 13 16
Downfield 8 4 3 1 22 10 15
Lochore 8 5 0 3 18 15 15
Dundee NE 7 4 2 1 14 8 14
Kennoway 8 4 1 3 20 14 13
Newburgh 8 3 4 1 21 17 13
East Craigie 7 3 1 3 17 10 10
Blairgowrie 7 3 1 3 17 14 10
Brechin Vics 8 2 2 4 9 15 8
Thornton Hibs 7 2 0 5 13 18 6
Forfar Albion 7 2 0 5 10 28 6
Scone Thistle 7 1 2 4 11 18 5
Lochee Harp 8 1 2 5 9 19 5
Coupar Angus 7 0 0 7 5 40 0