Elgin City’s Borough Briggs is a fortress. Last season Jim Weir’s invincible’s suffered only one defeat in 18 home fixtures.
A staggering record in itself, but for the Lichties, well they had to look back six years to 2010 for their last league win at Borough Briggs, when a Josh Falkingham inspired performance secured a 5-3 victory.
Arbroath went into the game without the suspended McCord and the injured Scott.
Manager Dick Campbell kept faith with the players that impressed against East Fife as the experienced duo of Prunty and Doris found themselves relegated to the bench.
Goalkeeper Robbie Mutch celebrated his 18th birthday in goal and with the likes of Sukar, Skelly, Hester and Callaghan joining him in the starting line up it was very much a youthful Arbroath team with an average age of just 23 years old.
The Lichties started with the same energy that had pushed East Fife to extra time midweek and Hamilton came close in the 6th minute when he smashed a right foot shot just over the bar after Linn had picked him out from a corner kick.
Elgin City’s progression in recent seasons has been in part the consistency in the same nucleus of players assembled by manager Weir, and the addition of Sutherland over the summer to partner Gunn in attack almost paid off as Sutherland was an inches away from connecting to a Gunn cross at he slid in at Arbroath’s back post.
Elgin were awarded a free kick in the Arbroath box after Mutch was alleged to have picked up a Sukar backpass but Mutch saved well at his front post.
It was one of the few incidents in a first half which Arbroath had the better possession but neither side mounted a serious threat to goal.
Arbroath introduced Kader and Doris for Phillips and Hester at half time in a positive attacking move but Sutherland should have found the net after being played in by Moore in the opening minutes, but at the other end Gold did well to connect to a Linn cross.
The game did seem to be heading to a goalless draw, but with only six minutes remaining Doris showed determination and chased Nicolson back towards his own goal which forced keeper MacKay to run out and clear under pressure.
His rushed kick landed at the feet of Skelly and the young striker took a touch before smashing a right foot shot over the stranded keeper and into the middle of the net.
The memory of losing a late equaliser was fresh in the memory of the Arbroath players and they continued to attack in the remaining minutes, although survived a McHardy effort grazing the post.
The full time whistle brought elation to both the players and the travelling support with a result which can hopefully be the springboard for the talents of this young team.
Dick Campbell’s Lichties will host Stirling Albion this coming Saturday, with the Binos coming off the back of a 2-0 win over rivals Montrose.