Arbroath Vics 1,
Beith Juniors 2
Arbroath Vics took a break from league football entertaining Beith Juniors in the second round of the Scottish Junior Cup on Saturday.
Manager Jake Ferrier made two changes to the side that drew with Lochore Welfare the previous week; Chris Simpson and Abdourahman Njie both returning to the starting 11, with Colin Lawson and Owen Bryce both dropping down to the bench.
The Beith side was mostly full of experienced ex-seniors and they were at present leading the way in the West Region Super League First Division having yet to lose a match.
Vics got the match under way on a fine late October afternoon with a sizeable and vociferous support from Ayrshire having travelled up for the tie.
Indeed it was Beith who made the first telling threat when Paul Frize broke forward and sent the ball out wide to Andy Reid on the right. Frize continued his run into the area looking to get on the end of his colleague’s cross into the box, but Mark Fotheringham slid in to knock the ball back to Jack Whitton in goal.
Vics weren’t too fazed by Beith’s start and fashioned out a chance of their own soon after when Chris Simpson latched on to a Fotheringham pass and cut into the box, but Zander Ryan knocked the ball behind for a corner before he could get in a shot.
A minute later, Vics came close to taking the lead. Tenacity from Grant Mowatt saw him win the ball in midfield before sending a pass through the Beith defence, which released Abdourahman Njie and Adam Strain had to be on his toes to dive low to his left to push the striker’s shot round the post.
At the other end, an Andy Gibson corner was headed out of the area, but only as far as Frize and when he drilled it back in, it required an important block from Kevin Durno on the penalty spot to prevent it from finding the net.
Soon after, Gibson sent Paul Craig away down the right where he cut into the box beyond Durno, but Whitton dived to smother his effort at the post.
As Beith kept up the pressure in search of the opening goal, ex-Celtic winger Joe Bradley got beyond Matty Johnston down the left and fired a shot across the face of goal, which just cleared the far post, much to the relief of Whitton.
Johnston then found his name in the referee’s book following a reckless challenge on Reid out on the far touchline.
The full-back made a more positive contribution in Beith’s next attack, flicking away a Ryan cross from the head of Reid.
Vics responded with Craig Sturrock breaking forward and playing the ball into Mowatt who swung it out wide to Garry Warren who sent it through the Beith defence looking for Chris Simpson, but Strain was quickly off his line to gather.
The nearest to a goal came in the 31st minute when Beith were awarded a free-kick 25 yards from goal and Gibson’s shot beat Whitton but crashed back off the bar.
Five minutes later, Reid had a great chance to break the deadlock when Stewart MacDonald and Gibson combined to slip him in, but the former Blackburn Rovers player shot wildly over the bar with only Whitton to beat.
Joe Bradley was next to have a go, showing trickery down the left before cutting into the box and curling a shot inches wide of the far post.
Vics, however dug in deep and reached the halfway mark still on level terms.
Half-time: Arbroath Vics 0, Beith Juniors 0.
Beith were first to show after the break winning a corner, and when Bradley’s cross was headed out of the box, Stewart MacDonald fired it back in and Reid tried to flick it on, but Whitton was quickly down at his feet to save.
In the 50th minute, Beith made a change and surprisingly it was Bradley who went off to be replaced by former Arbroath and Montrose player David McGowan.
Vics made a change in the 55th minute when Simpson was replaced by Ross Kenny.
Fotheringham picked up a yellow card for one foul too many for the referee’s liking before Beith made a second change, sending on Charlie Hobbs for Craig.
The substitute was quickly involved getting on to the end of a long ball from Ryan to fire in a shot, but it was blocked away by Durno without troubling Whitton in goal.
Beith made another change in 65 minutes when ex-Partick Thistle Gibson was replaced by yet another ex-Gayfield player Daniel McKay.
Two minutes later, Beith came the closest they had done all afternoon to opening the scoring when Whitton flapped at a McGowan corner and pushed the ball back towards his own goal, but he was spared his blushes by Mowatt who booted it off the line.
Having been on the defensive for a spell, Vics almost caught Beith out when Njie sent the ball out wide to Warren on the left and he played it on for Kenny whose shot on the run was saved by Strain.
A minute later, Warren again caused danger to Beith when he cut in from the left and his cross deflected off a defender into the path of Mowatt who sent a shot inching over the bar.
In the 73rd minute Beith opened the scoring although it took a fortunate break to give them the lead. Gary Wilson began the move playing the ball up to McKay who linked up with fellow substitute McGowan who played in Hobbs. Whitton looked to have done enough to keep his shot out, but the ball rebounded back off Vics’ CRAIG STURROCK and rolled over the line, much to the delight of the visiting support.
Andy Cowan became the third Vics’ player to be yellow carded when he upended David Donnelly.
In the 78th minute, Beith doubled their advantage. Vics gave the ball away and it eventually resulted in a free-kick in a dangerous position inside the ‘D’ when Frize was upended. ZANDER RYAN took the resultant kick and there was little Whitton could do as the Beith full-back sent it curling into the top corner.
Mowatt might have pulled a goal back a couple of minutes later when Warren made ground down the left and flashed over a dangerous cross, which was missed by everyone, but he sliced his shot wide.
With time running out, Vics made a double substitution when Owen Bryce and Jake McWalter came on for Johnston and Warren.
Vics almost grabbed a goal back in the 83rd minute when Kenny got on the end of an Owen Bryce cross to send a header goalwards, but his effort hit the top of the bar and dropped over.
In the 85th minute, Vics gave themselves a glimmer of hope by pulling a goal back. Mowatt did the spadework taking the ball beyond a couple of defenders before sending it into the middle where Njie played it back to Kenny. Strain did enough to prevent the substitute from getting in a shot by holding him up, but the ball was touched back to GRANT MOWATT who fired into the net despite a desperate attempt by a defender to handle on the line.
Beith began to show signs of nervousness and Wilson was yellow carded for a foul on Njie on the right-hand edge of the box, but Bryce wasted the free kick, by failing to find anyone in a black and white jersey.
Deep into stoppage time McGowan also picked up a yellow card for another foul and when the ball was launched into the box Vics just couldn’t get a touch as it bounced around before it was booted out for a throw, allowing the referee to end the match.
Despite losing, Vics competed well over the 90 minutes and were more than a little unfortunate at the opening goal. Although Beith did deserve the victory, they were the side looking for the full time whistle when Vics pulled it back to 2-1 in the closing stages.
Arbroath Vics: Whitton, Johnston (Bryce 81), Sturrock, Cowan, Durno, Florence, Mowatt, Fotheringham, Njie, Simpson (Kenny 55), Warren (McWalter 81). Unused subs: Lawson and Hutcheson, g/k.
Beith Juniors: Strain, Ryan, Wilson, Donnelly, Sheridan, MacDonald, Gibson (McKay 65), Frize, Craig (Hobbs 58), Reid, Bradley (McGowan 50). Unused subs: Wild and Greenwood, g/k.
Referee: Mr. S. Leslie (Brechin).
With their Scottish Cup adventure over for another season, Vics turn their attentions back to league football tomorrow (Saturday) and another tough fixture away to Dundee North End. Kick-off is at 2 p.m., and transport leaves Ogilvy Park at 12 noon.
Winners this week were: £70 – No. 88, Jimmy Dear; £30 – No. 16, Darren Hogg; £15 – No. 111, Kenny Esslemont; £15 - No. 31, Cobey McKenzie; £10 – No. 48, Lee Hutcheson; £5 – No. 117, Willie Fotheringham.