Arbroath 2, Stenhousemuir 2
ARBROATH’S patchy league form continued when a last minute goal held them to a point against Stenhousemuir at Gayfield on Saturday.
The Lichties went behind after just three minutes when Darren Smith put the Warriors ahead.
Steven Doris levelled just seven minutes later before Stuart Malcolm gave Arbroath the advantage again on 51 minutes.
It looked to be a comfortable home win for the Lichties until the dying stages when the visitors began to rally.
And they got their reward in injury time when Stewart Kean poked home the equaliser.
The Lichties have been struggling for consistency since the early part of the season and the manager Paul Sheerin admitted the result was frustrating.
He said: “We had to get deeper and deeper because they started to give us the runaround.
“We then got the goal and we looked to be right on top.
“But for whatever reason we seemed to let them have the ascendency.
“It is frustrating because they probably had the bulk of the possession but we had the best chances.
“Doris signalled to come off in the second half. He was starting to feel fatigued and that’s why we pulled him off.”
Saturday’s clash took place in the lead up to Wednesday night’s big clash against Celtic in the Scottish Cup.
But the manager said he didn’t believe this provided a distraction to the players in Saturday’s league fixture.
He said: “To be fair to the boys it is a bit of a distraction but come kick-off we were focussed.
“But it is difficult being a part-time team and Saturday was the only day they could sort out tickets.
“There is no getting away from it.”
The boss only made one change to the side which recorded the famous draw at Parkhead with Paul Currie being dropped to the bench in favour of Connor Birse.
The game had barely begun when the Lichties found themselves a goal down on three minutes.
A good cross in by Bryan Hodge found Darren SMITH who had the easy task of knocking the ball past Scott Morrison to take the lead.
But the home side was not down for long as they brought things back level on 10 minutes.
A great through ball by Brian Kerr was sent through to DORIS.
He produced a great finish which beat Callum Reidford and allowed the striker to notch up his 10th goal of the season.
After coming back to level terms, the Lichties were having the pick of the chances and Mark Baxter very nearly extended the lead but his long range effort went over the bar.
It was then the manager’s turn to threaten the goal when the Gayfield men won a free kick in a promising position.
Sheerin took the set piece but his shot rattled off the post.
Half-time: Arbroath 1, Stenhousemuir 1.
Arbroath started the second half in a lively fashion and had an early chance when Doris yet again latched on to a ball by Kerr, but this time his finishing wasn’t there.
However on 51 minutes, the Lichties finally went ahead when a foul on Doris saw a free kick awarded on the left.
It was taken by Sheerin and as the Stenhousemuir defence failed to clear the ball, MALCOLM headed it home to put his side in front.
But after several substitutions, the home side found themselves under immense pressure, as the Warriors looked to take something from the match.
Morrison was called upon to make some important saves after efforts from Sean Dickson and Hodge.
But the visitors’ persistence paid off two minutes into injury time as the Arbroath defence failed to clear their lines and a goalmouth scramble saw KEAN tap in the equaliser.
Arbroath: Morrison 6, Baxter 7, Hamilton 6, Kerr 6, Malcolm 6, Keddie 6, Birse 6 (Gribben 5 63), Robertson 6, Doris 7 (Rennie 4 71), Holmes 6 and Sheerin 6 (Currie 4 74). Not used: Sibanda and Bullock. Booked: Hamilton. Sent off: None.
Stenhousemuir: Reidford, Ross, McKinlay, Buist, McMillan, Paton, Ferguson (Dickson 63), Thomson (McKay 72), Kean, Hodge, Smith. Not used: O’Grady, Love and Fairley. Booked: None. Sent off: None.
Referee: John McKendrick.