No luck for Vics against unbeaten league leaders

Gary MacFarlane takes on full-back Craig Logan.
Gary MacFarlane takes on full-back Craig Logan.

Arbroath Vics 0, Dundee Violet 1

LEAGUE leaders, Dundee Violet checked in at Ogilvy Park on Saturday to meet Arbroath Vics in a McBookie.com East North Division fixture.

Vics were forced to make changes to the side that won away to Brechin Vics the previous week, with injury ruling out Steve Florence and Ewan Graham being unavailable.

Kevin Durno came back into central defence alongside Craig Sturrock, while Kevin Laing slotted in at left-back with Matty Johnston at right-back. Danny McKenzie and Colin Lawson also missed out, which led to starting places for Chris Simpson and Mark Fotheringham.

Manager Jake Ferrier’s plans were quickly disrupted when Johnston fell awkwardly and dislocated his shoulder following a foul by Stewart McConnachie in the second minute, and he was taken off to hospital.

With Vics down to 10 men as they waited to make the change, David McLeish, who had switched to right-back, was taken out on the touchline and from Garry Warren’s free kick, Chris Simpson headed on inside the box looking for Craig Watson but Jamie Sime got there first to clear the danger.

Once the ball went out of play, Craig Stephen came on as substitute for Johnston.

Despite having to reorganise, Vics pushed forward and when Warren picked up a McLeish pass he rolled the ball back to Terry Gray who fired off a 25-yard shot, which was held by goalkeeper, Mark Stewart.

Soon after, Sime was fortunate to escape without a booking when he leapt to handle a through ball in midfield, which was going over his head, to break up a Vics’ attack.

Violet began to show positive signs and Kevin Durno did well to ward off Stewart McConnachie as he tried to get on the end of a Jonathan Thomson through ball inside the box, the centre-half doing enough to ease the ball back to Lee Hutcheson with his body.

Craig Sturrock was then penalised for a foul in a dangerous position and when Sean Anderson flighted the ball into the box, Jonathan Thomson didn’t get enough on it and his header glanced wide of the post.

Vics responded with Warren running at the heart of the Violet defence and laying the ball off to Fotheringham, who in turn set up Gray for a shot, but his strike went well over the bar.

At the other end, McConnachie profited from a break of the ball but drilled his effort high over the crossbar.

Chris Simpson was then halted illegally on the edge of the 18-yard box as he tried to reach a Gray through ball. Warren got his shot from the resultant free-kick up and over the “wall” but Stewart dived low to his left to save at the post.

Sean Anderson then broke free for Violet up the left, but having cut inside drilled his shot over the bar.

Warren was then hauled down in an almost identical position to Simpson five minutes earlier and this time McLeish took the free kick and his shot curled wide of the far post.

Violet looked decidedly unsure in defence as Vics ended the half in the ascendancy and a couple of mistakes almost let Simpson in, but his shot was partially blocked, allowing Stewart to gather.

Stewart then sent a wayward clearance following a pass back straight to Warren and his cross saw Jonathan Thomson get to the ball first and his header landed straight in the arms of the ‘keeper.

With a minute of the half remaining, Anderson became the second player to be taken to hospital when he broke his arm having fallen following a foul by Fotheringham. Mark Pirie came on to replace him.

Half-time: Arbroath Vics 0 Dundee Violet 0.

Violet started in a more positive frame of mind in the second half and Scott Reynolds cut in from the left and drilled a low shot towards the near post, which Hutcheson got down smartly to save. McConnachie then tried his luck from distance, but his drive was comfortably gathered by Hutcheson.

Vics almost struck first blood in the 49th minute when Durno sent Watson away and he made room for Stephen to fire over a cross, which Gary Robertson, more in luck than judgment, turned inches over his own bar with Stewart beaten.

Fotheringham was then unlucky to be booked for a soft foul before Violet grabbed the lead from a controversial penalty in the 54th minute. Thompson went down in the box with the minimum of contact but the referee pointed to the spot and ordered off Durno. SCOTT REYNOLDS took full advantage by netting the kick, just inside the post.

The goal and playing with a one man advantage gave Violet added impetus and Hutcheson kept Vics in the hunt with a double save from Reynolds and the follow up by Ross Grant.

Andy Ballantine found his name in the referee’s book for kicking the ball away before Hutcheson produced another stunning save to thwart the Dundee side when he blocked a header from the same player at point blank range.

Midway through the half, Vics made a double change sending on Colin Lawson and Gary MacFarlane for Warren and Simpson.

Hutcheson was certainly the busier of the two ‘keepers now and he did well to punch away an inswinging cross from Reynolds from under his own crossbar as Pirie tried to get on the end of it.

McConnachie became the second Violet player to be yellow carded when his name was noted for dissent in the 77th minute.

Hutcheson again kept Vics in with a chance with another fine save, this time from Grant who hooked a cross over his shoulder and towards goal.

Having been under pressure for a spell, Vics broke forward and when Watson nodded a McLeish free kick on in the box, Stewart made a brave diving save at the feet of Mark Fotheringham as he tried to prod it into the net from a couple of yards.

Stephen had a chance for Vics in the 88th minute when Fotheringham battled through a couple of challenges to win the ball but he snatched at his shot and angled it high over the bar.

Despite almost six minutes of stoppage time, Vics couldn’t conjure up an equaliser as Violet ran the ball into the corners to hang on to their 1-0 lead with Reynolds happy to pick up a booking seconds from the end to prevent McLeish from getting the ball upfield yards from his own by-line.

Over the piece, Vics were worthy of a draw. They had much the better of the first half, but it was a different story in the second after they were forced to play 35 minutes with 10 men and a goal down. Violet. however. held on for the win, which keeps their 100 per cent record intact at the top of the table and even at this stage in the season it looks as if they are going to be hard to catch in the title race.

Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, McLeish, Laing, Johnston (Stephen 4), Durno, Sturrock, Gray, Fotheringham, Watson, Simpson (MacFarlane 69), Warren (Lawson 69). Unused substitute: Cargill, gk.

Dundee Violet: Stewart, Logan, Robertson, Sime, Thomson, Reynolds, Milton, Anderson (Pirie 44), McConnachie, Ballantine, Grant. Unused substitutes: Leahy, Henderson, Sturrock, Szpak, Tennant and Kelly, gk.

Referee: Mr. S. McBurney, Broughty Ferry.

Tomorrow’s match

Vics are again at home tomorrow (Saturday) when they play host to Dundee North End in the league. Kick-off is at 1.45 p.m.

160 Club

Winners this week were: £10 – No.115, Gareth Ruxton; £5 – No. 43, Kevin Durno.

McBookie.com East North League

P W D L F A Pts

Dundee Violet 9 9 0 0 39 7 27

Montrose Roselea 9 7 1 1 29 7 22

Dundee North End 9 6 1 2 22 12 19

Arbroath Vics 9 5 2 2 21 14 17

Kirriemuir Thistle 9 5 1 3 17 10 16

East Craigie 9 3 3 3 20 19 12

Lochee Harp 10 3 1 6 21 34 10

Blairgowrie 9 1 3 5 16 22 6

Brechin Vics 8 2 0 6 11 31 6

Forfar Albion 9 0 4 5 12 23 4

Coupar Angus 8 0 0 8 11 41 0