Arbroath Vics 4,
East Craigie 4
ARBROATH Vics were at home for the second consecutive week when they played host to East Craigie in a league fixture on Saturday.
With injuries and unavailability again taking their toll, manager Jake Ferrier drafted in two trialists to bolster the substitutes’ bench.
Vics had the first attempt on goal when Gavin Norrie sent Garry Warren scampering up the left where he pulled the ball back for Lee Jones but his shot was blocked by the body of Paul Allan.
At the other end, Andy West released Ryan Welsh and although his first cross was blocked, his second attempt needed Kevin Durno to intervene and head away from Paul Constable.
With eight minutes played, East Craigie opened the scoring. GARRY WALLACE picked up the ball in midfield and took a couple of paces forward before unleashing a tremendous drive from distance, which rocketed past Steve Reid and into the back of the net.
A minute later, the Shipbuilders netted again. Reid made a hash of dealing with a speculative shot from Welsh, diving to his left to make the save, but spilling the ball and CONSTABLE followed up to turn it over the line from close range.
It might have been worse for Vics when they were caught out again in the 15th minute when Constable turned the ball into the box for Wallace, but he snatched his shot wide from good position.
Back came Vics with Steven Florence and Matty Johnston working their way up the left before Florence sent a cross into the box, which Ryan Owbridge, stretched to get his head to, but he could only send the ball looping over the bar.
Owbridge then had another chance when Craig Anderson picked out Jones and his cross from the by-line found the striker, but his header went straight into the arms of goalkeeper, Jamie Malone.
Despite that, Vics found themselves with a mountain to climb when East Craigie extended their lead to 3-0 in the 33rd minute. Welsh got free on the left and when he crossed to the far post, hesitation between Florence and Reid allowed CHRIS CHIMIAK to get in between them and turn the ball in.
Vics gave themselves a lifeline when they pulled a goal back a couple of minutes later. A free kick for handball on the edge of the box saw the Craigie defence caught out when Jones took it quickly, and although Malone dived to prevent it crossing the line, OWBRIDGE was on hand to tuck away the rebound.
A couple of minutes later, Paul Allan gave the ball away to McLeish who sent Jones into the box, but he fired a shot on the run over the bar with only the ‘keeper to beat.
With half-time approaching, Craig Anderson picked up the first booking of the afternoon for a trip on Welsh.
In the final minute of the half, Vics hauled themselves back into contention with a second goal. McLeish got on the end of a Gavin Norrie cross to power in a downward header from 16 yards, which Malone did well to turn behind for a corner. From the flag kick, Warren’s cross found the head of Ryan Owbridge, whose header was blocked on the line by the ‘keeper, but JONES reacted quickest to turn it into the net.
Half-time: Arbroath Vics 2, East Craigie 3.
Both teams made early changes in the second period, Craigie sending on Connor Adam for Constable and Vics replacing Anderson with Colin Lawson.
Vics came close to levelling 10 minutes into the second period when Lawson and Owbridge both helped a Warren corner goalwards, but the ball was blocked at the post and Malone was able to flop on the ball.
Jones and McLeish then worked their way through the Craigie defence but Keith Wilson came across to block away Jones’ shot.
Wilson again kept Craigie in front when he got his foot to a Florence shot inside the six-yard box to deflect the ball away from goal after a fine move down the left had open up the away side’s defence.
Craigie were almost gifted a fourth goal in the 64th minute when Johnston gave the ball away to West, but Reid came to the rescue, beating his drive around the post for a corner.
Warren was then hustled back into his own half and his attempted pass-back only succeeded in finding West who was given another chance, but again Reid did the necessary by blocking his shot away.
East Craigie’s spell of pressure was rewarded soon after when they extended their lead to 4-2. Vics struggled to deal with a corner and although the ball was cleared out of the box, Welsh fired it back in where it struck the post and flew across the line and ROSS McFARLANE was on hand to convert at the far upright.
Welsh had a chance to extend Craigie’s lead further when he got on the end of a Chimiak cross, but he failed to get his shot on target.
Back came Vics and when Jones nodded on a Johnston throw-in inside the box, the ball fell for Florence, but he sent his shot wide of the post.
With 15 minutes left Vics went for broke throwing on Scott Pearson for Scott McDowell, while soon after, Craigie replaced Chimiak with Alan Forsyth.
Norrie then found his way into the book for a shuddering challenge on West before Vics clawed a goal back in the 84th minute. A Jones corner was turned back into the six-yard box by Johnston and PEARSON got his head to it to turn the ball into the net.
Three minutes later, Vics squared the game at 4-4. Norrie, released from his defensive duties, ran through the heart of the Craigie defence, evading a couple of desperate tackles to set up JONES who made space to angle a shot beyond the ‘keeper inside a packed box.
Despite a lengthy period of stoppage time, there was no more scoring although further bookings were dished out to Chalmers, Reid and Johnston as Vics had to settle for a point.
Arbroath Vics: Reid, Norrie, McLeish, Johnston, Durno, Florence, McDowell (Pearson 75), Anderson (Lawson 53), Owbridge, Jones, Warren. Unused substitutes: Warren, Murdoch and Duncan, gk.
East Craigie: Malone, Welsh, Allan, Wilson, McFarlane, Chalmers, Chimiak (Forsyth 79), Wallace, Constable (Adam 51), West, Welsh. Unused substitutes: Reilly, Hay and Malone.
Referee: Mr M. McIllvenny, Dundee.
Final home match
Vics are again at home tomorrow (Saturday) when they face league leaders Downfield in what will be their final home fixture of the season. Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m.
This week’s winners were: £10 – No. 134, Drew Balfour; £5 – No. 83, John Warren.