HAVING received a bye in the first round of the Emirates Scottish Junior Cup, Arbroath Vics were handed a difficult tie away to three times winners Tayport in the second round of the competition on Saturday.
Manager Jake Ferrier made two changes to the side that won 6-1 away to Lochee Harp the previous week. Chris Simpson made his first competitive start replacing Garry Warren, while, in defence, Kevin Laing came in at left-back, with Craig Sturrock switching to central defence in place of Steve Florence who was unavailable.
Tayport had Arbroath connections with former Gayfield manager John McGlashan in charge and ex-Maroons’ striker Paul Tosh up front.
Despite heavy rain preceeding the kick-off, the pitch was in reasonable condition, albeit slippery underfoot.
The first chance came Vics’ way when Ryan Owbridge gathered a Kevin Laing throw-in and sent a low shot towards goal, but it was easily held by Tayport ‘keeper, Iain Ross.
Despite that, the Canniepairt outfit opened the scoring in the eighth minute. Jamie Mackie chased a seemingly lost cause, forcing Vics ‘keeper Lee Hutcheson to come to the edge of his box to grab the ball. When Hutcheson did so, the far-side assistant raised his flag immediately, to indicate that the custodian had handled outside the area. There was no further punishment for the ‘keeper, but JAMES RUSSELL stepped up to fire the free kick into the back of the net to give Tayport the lead.
The home side had another chance from a free kick when Kevin Durno brushed Grant Manzie off the ball, but from a much further distance than almost on the 18-yard line, Hutcheson was able to hold Russell’s kick this time.
As Tayport tried to add a second to their early goal, Manzie burst through Vics’ defence and fired off a shot, which whistled inches past the post.
Vics almost grabbed an equaliser in the 16th minute when Craig Watson won the ball in a midfield tussle and sent a curling effort from 25 yards just wide with Iain Ross, a spectator, glad to see it miss the target.
The woodwork came to Vics’ rescue a couple of minutes later when Tayport were awarded a free kick when Kevin Durno took out Manzie which earned the centre-half a yellow card. Andy McDonald whipped the resultant cross to the back post and Mackie saw his header strike the bar and drop over.
Craig Sturrock then made a timely intervention, stretching to divert a Russell cross behind at the near post with Tosh waiting to pounce on any mistake.
A minute later from another corner, Durno headed McDonald’s flag kick against his own bar as Vics struggled to stem the tide.
Vics almost grabbed an equaliser in the 28th minute when a Laing pass deflected into the path of Watson and his shot struck a defender, sending it looping over the head of Ross and inches over the bar. From McLeish’s corner, Sturrock got free of his marker, but directed his header over the bar.
In the 30th minute, Tayport added a second, when Manzie capitalised on a slip from Durno, who lost his footing to send the ball across goal, enabling PAUL TOSH to stab home at the far post.
Manzie then had two efforts saved by Hutcheson, the first a header, which the ‘keeper managed to block and the second, which the ‘keeper managed to push onto the bar and over.
Some hefty tackles in midfield resulted in Fraser Milligan being yellow carded along with Vics’ McLeish.
Two goals down and facing an uphill battle, Vics’ chances diminished even further when they were reduced to 10 men on the stroke of half-time. Having been cautioned for not retreating 10 yards at a free kick in the 40th minute, Watson picked up a second yellow for dissent and was barely off the park when the referee brought the half to a close.
Half-time: Tayport 2, Arbroath Vics 0.
Vics made two changes at the start of the second half. Matty Johnston was unable to resume after picking up an injury, while Craig Stephen was withdrawn. Warren and Gary MacFarlane both came on.
Tayport also made a change four minutes into the half when Chris Anton took over from Milligan.
McDonald then found his name in the referee’s book for diving, before Vics were forced to make a third change when Owbridge pulled up sharply as he tried to break through the Tayport defence and had to hobble off. Colin Lawson came on as substitute.
Any chance Vics had of staging a miraculous comeback ended in the 54th minute when Tayport were awarded a penalty. Manzie broke through the defence but although his shot was high and wide, the home side were given a reprieve when the referee awarded a soft penalty for Fotheringham’s challenge. PAUL TOSH was quick to grab the ball and score his second of the afternoon.
Vics had a great chance to pull a goal back on the hour mark when they too were awarded a penalty when Derek Weymss upended MacFarlane in the box, but Warren’s spot kick was weak and easily saved by Ross.
Not only did Ross make the save, he quickly rolled the ball to McDonald, who continued the flowing break upfield, which led to MACKIE neatly passing the ball into the net, for Tayport’s fourth goal, when it could easily have been 3-1.
Before play resumed, Durno got involved in an exchange of words with the official and Vics’ afternoon went from bad to worse as he too was sent off for a second booking, leaving the visitors with only nine men.
With passage into the next round all but assured, Tayport sent Andy West on for Russell.
Hutcheson then did well to beat away a long range effort from Stefan Elvin but was beaten from Grant Manzie’s shot from the rebound. However, Vics were relieved to see the linesman raise his flag and disallow his “goal” for offside.
The ‘keeper again made a fine save getting behind a downward header from West to push the ball over the bar.
West was also involved in the final counter of the afternoon, taking a quick corner to McDonald, who set up STEFAN ELVIN who powered home a fine strike.
The home side made their third and final change of the afternoon when Ryan Welsh replaced Tosh.
Fotheringham found himself in the referee’s book for dissent, before late chances for Tayport saw Hutcheson block from Elvin and Mark Whatley fire a drive inches wide.
It was never going to be easy for Vics to win at the Canniepairt and although they were on the wrong end of two decisions, which on another day might have gone with them, playing against a team from a higher league with nine men meant it was an almost impossible task.
Tayport: Ross, Milligan (Anton 49), McDonald, Morris, Wemyss, Whatley, Russell, (West 64), Mackie, Manzie, Tosh (Welsh 75), Elvin. Unused substitutes: Smith, McCulley and Ferrie, gk.
Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, McLeish, Laing, Johnston (MacFarlane 46), Durno, Sturrock, Stephen (Warren 46), Fotheringham, Watson, Owbridge (Lawson 52), Simpson. Unused substitutes: McKenzie, Gray and Duncan, gk.
Referee: Mr. M. Roncone, Monifieth.
Vics are back on league business tomorrow (Saturday) when they play host to Forfar Albion. Kick-off is at 2 p.m.
Included in the pool will be Gary MacFarlane who was signed in time to play in the Emirates Scottish Junior Cup tie at Tayport. Goalkeeper, Chris Cargill has been loaned out to Forfar Albion, and he played in their 3-2 defeat to Brechin Vics and could be in goal for the Guthrie Park side on Saturday.
Winners this week were: £70 – No. 112, Barry Ruxton; £30 – No. 100, Anita Boyes; £15 – No. 139, Lois Simpson; £15 – No. 88, Skye Cooper; £10 – No. 152, Jock McGurk; £5 – No. 19, Steve Florence.