REPORT: Arbroath smash East Stirling 3-0 in Dick Campbell’s Gayfield debut

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Arbroath moved eight points clear of 10th-placed East Stirling after Dick Campbell’s side put the Shire to the sword 3-0.

The goals came from Craig Wilson, Mark Whatley and Mark Williams as Campbell claimed a big victory in his first home game in charge.

Campbell made one change to the side beaten 3-0 at Berwick Rangers in mid-week as Ricky Little was replaced by Shaun Rutherford.

The hosts were on top in the opening stages but serious chances eluded them, with Josh Skelly and Bobby Linn both seeing fanciful efforts on goal well blocked by the defence.

But the Lichties weren’t to wait long for the opener as Wilson put them ahead on 12 minutes, sending an excellent header into the top corner from 12 yards out following Shaun Rutherford’s excellent free kick from just inside the Shire half.

The visitors could have had an equaliser six minutes later but Allan Fleming was out quickly to deny Thomas Orr from just inside the box.

And Fleming was the Lichties hero again minutes later, saving low from Jordan Cairnie’s tidy effort.

It was almost 2-0 on the half hour mark as Richie Barnard made a great save to deny Andy Munro’s bullet header at a Skelly corner.

Fleming was then called into action once more, denying Andrew Russell from point blank range.

The second half was as scrappy as could be with Arbroath bombarding the Shire box with crosses, but they didn’t force Barnard into a single save.

It was eventually 2-0 on 70 minutes as Whatley fired the ball into the roof of the net after Kane Hester rattled the post with a lovely strike.

Then it was all over, Williams tapping in for 3-0 from Wilson’s pass across goal.

The Lichties will head to Hampden this weekend to take on Queen’s Park, with the Spiders enjoying three wins from three over Arbroath this season.

A second successive victory could take Campbell’s team closer to the promotion play-offs and further away from the league’s basement.