League leaders too hot to handle for Arbroath Vics

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Arbroath Vics 2,

Dundee North End 5

Vics were back on home territory on Saturday with a McBookie.com North Division match at home to league leaders, Dundee North End.

With most of the long term injuries cleared up, there were starting places for Craig Stephen and Craig Watson, while David McLeish, having featured as a substitute in Vics’ last outing, was included in midfield replacing the suspended Mark Fotheringham. With Ross Kenny and Chris Simpson also fit, manager Jake Ferrier was able to list a full bench for the first time in many weeks.

Despite that, it was North End who grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck from the off and within three minutes the league leaders were in front. Ben Sievwright played the ball up front to Scott McComiskie who held it up on the 18-yard line before picking out SAM SIMPSON who carried on into the box before angling a low drive beyond the reach of Lee Hutcheson into the far corner.

It was nearly 2-0 a couple of minutes later when Reece Ritchie headed the ball through a static Vics defence to send Jordan Colquhoun away, but Lee Hutcheson stood his ground to beat away his shot.

Vics had hardly got out of their own half and a minute later, Barry McNaughton lashed a shot just over the bar after good link up play between Ben Sievwright and Jordan Colquhoun had led to a cross only being partially cleared.

When Vics did eventually make inroads into the North End half, they were awarded a free-kick wide on the left, which Garry Warren whipped into the box and Jonathon Smart had to head the cross behind for a corner with Andy Cowan coming in at the back post.

North End continued to have the upper hand however, and after several near things extended their lead in 23 minutes. Jonathon Smart played the ball into the feet of SCOTT McCOMISKIE who quickly turned the defence before planting a shot into the back of the net.

Michael Stewart was next to try his luck with a long range effort that skidded just wide on the wet surface as Vics threatened to be overrun.

Andy Cowan at last got Vics going with some purpose in 31 minutes when he made ground down the right before find Abdourahman Njie. He got beyond Georgie Grier, but his cross was headed behind for a corner by centre-half, Jonathon Smart. From the flag-kick, Warren’s cross came back out to him and his second attempt swirled under the bar where the ‘keeper got above Watson to punch clear.

Vics were in need of some inspiration or a slice of luck and they got the latter in the 36th minute. Warren was impeded some 25 yards from goal and when McLeish fired the free-kick goalwards it took a massive deflection before GRIER headed it into his own net.

A minute later, Cowan picked up a yellow card when he was penalised for hauling back Ritchie as he tried to break over the half-way line.

With five minutes of the half left, North End were awarded a penalty when Colquhoun was tripped by Durno as he cut into the box from the right. McComiskie took the kick, but Hutcheson made a great save diving full length along his line to push it round the post and keep Vics in the hunt.

Half-time: Arbroath Vics 1, Dundee North End 2.

Whatever Jake Ferrier said to the team at half-time had the desired effect as Vics looked transformed after the break. Watson sent a low shot inches wide inside the first couple of minutes after McLeish had won the ball in midfield to send him through on goal.

McLeish himself almost got Vics back on level terms with a stinging drive from distance that Easton dived across his line to push away.

All Vics’ good work in the early part of the second period was undone in 58 minutes, however when the referee single handedly gifted the game on a plate to the Dundee side.

A corner into the Vics penalty area saw the official halt play with no one sure why. North End retreated to a defensive position, but the referee pulled Cowan over and issued him with a second yellow card for an alleged jersey pull, sent him off and awarded a penalty to the visitors. It seemed a very harsh call, but McCOMISKIE didn’t argue and, having missed from the spot in the first half, made no mistake with his second attempt.

Before play resumed Vics’ manager Jake Ferrier was ordered from the technical area for questioning the decision.

Despite being down to 10 men, Vics were back to only one goal in arrears within four minutes. Njie released WATSON and although Easton did well to block his first shot, he was unable to prevent the striker from firing in the rebound.

Three minutes later, only a wonder save from Easton prevented Vics from being back on level terms. Warren chased a McLeish through ball up the left and when he crossed into the box, Watson’s header looked to be going in until the ‘keeper somehow threw himself across his line to tip it away.

Vics were almost caught out soon after when a quickly taken free-kick inside the North End half saw McComiskie break through, but Hutcheson made a good block from his shot at the expense of a corner.

In the 71st minute, Vics replaced Florence with Matty Johnston before Watson was booked for kicking the ball away after he had been given offside.

With 15 minutes left, North End sent Corey Gray on for Simpson.

North End made sure of the points with a fourth goal in the 77th minute. Sievwright cut in from the right, and although Hutcheson might have had his shot covered, it caught the head of DURNO and looped over the ‘keeper and dropped in under the bar at the far post.

Sturrock picked up a booking for dissent before further substitutions saw Vics replace Njie and Warren with Colin Lawson and Jake McWalter. North End sent on John Rosscraig and Robbie Shepherd for Ritchie and Sievwright.

With the points safely in the bag, North End stretched their lead 84 minutes. Colquhoun played the ball into the box from the right and although GRAY’S shot wasn’t the most powerful it took a deflection and crept inside the near post with Hutcheson wrong footed.

Teams:

Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, Stephen, Sturrock, Cowan, Durno, Florence (Johnston, 71), Mowatt, McLeish, Watson, Njie (Lawson, 80), Warren (McWalter, 80). Unused substitutes: Kenny and Simpson.

Dundee North End: Easton, Stewart, Deuchars, Sievwright (Shepherd, 82), Smart, Ritchie (Rosscraig, 80), McNaughton, Grier, McComiskie, Simpson (Gray, 75), Colquhoun. Unused substitutes: J. McCabe and T. McCabe.

Referee: Mr S. Leslie, Brechin.

Tomorrow’s match

Vics travel over the River Tay into Fife tomorrow (Saturday) to meet Lochore Welfare in the league. Kick off is at 1.45 p.m. and players should meet at Ogilvy Park at 11.15 a.m.

150 Club

Winners were: £10 – No.130, Jamie Scott; £10 – No. 75, Derek Cobb; £5 – No. 65, Dick Howe; £5 – No. 51, Gary Griffin.

McBookie.com East

North League

P W D L F A Pts

Dundee NE 19 14 4 1 77 23 46

Luncarty 18 12 1 5 61 33 37

Blair 16 10 1 5 54 25 31

Kennoway 16 10 1 5 57 30 31

Newburgh 15 8 5 2 54 24 29

Downfield 15 8 4 3 33 24 28

Forfar WE 16 8 2 6 42 31 26

Scone Th 19 8 2 9 43 56 26

Lochore W 15 7 3 5 34 32 24

E Craigie 17 7 1 9 44 35 22

Arbr Vics 18 6 4 8 42 52 22

ThornHibs 15 6 2 7 47 35 20

Lochee Harp 16 5 2 9 37 41 17

Forfar Alb 19 4 0 15 27 91 12

Brech Vics 16 3 2 11 16 40 11

C’par Angus 16 0 0 16 10 106 0