FOR THEIR penultimate match of the season, Arbroath Vics travelled to Foxhall Park to meet Coupar Angus in the league on Saturday.
Once again, Vics found themselves down to the bare bones, with injuries, suspension and unavailability leaving a depleted pool. Danny Brown, again stepped into the breach to make up the numbers, while there were recalls to the starting 11 for Colin Lawson and Danny McKenzie.
Having surprised Vics by winning at Ogilvy Park earlier in the season, a similar shock looked on the cards when Coupar Angus took the lead in the first minute. The bottom markers were awarded a soft free kick just outside the box, but FRASER SMITH was unconcerned and curled a well-placed shot over the wall and inside the post, leaving Chris Cargill rooted to his line.
Vics hastily got the match restarted and were soon buzzing about the Coupar goal with Ryan Owbridge nodding a throw-in across the box for Garry Warren, whose shot was turned round the post by goalkeeper, Gary Gunning.
David McLeish then sent Garry Warren free on the right where he advanced into the box, but Scott McGrath prevented him from getting a shot away by sticking out a leg to turn the ball behind for a corner as he was about to pull the trigger.
Vics continued to bombard the Coupar goal, winning several corners, the nearest to producing a goal coming when Stuart Richardson headed over the bar.
Scott McDowell made space for himself on the edge of the box, taking the ball in and wrong-footing John Cairney, but his shot was blocked behind for yet another corner. From the flag-kick, G. Warren swept the ball back into the box after his initial cross had been cleared and Danny McKenzie glanced a header off target.
McKenzie had a great chance to level for Vics in the 24th minute when he was played into the box by G. Warren, but he delayed his shot and was eventually crowded out before he could get it away.
Soon after, Brown saw his name entered into the referee’s book for pushing John Cairney away after a reckless tackle by the Coupar player.
Coupar were hanging onto their lead, but only just as Vics’ corner count continued to mount up, with Ryan Owbridge the next to spurn a chance from one by heading wide.
From the corner, Vics at last hauled themselves level when RICHARDSON got on the end of G. Warren’s cross and although his header was knocked clear by a defender’s hand, the referee was on the spot to see it had crossed the line and award the goal.
Owbridge was yellow carded for dissent, before Coupar almost regained the lead in their first worthwhile attack since scoring, with a few minutes of the half left. McGrath swung a free kick out wide to Cairney on the left and he volleyed it first time into the box, where Durno did well to make a block on Wilson’s shot inside the six-yard box, before clearing the ball out of the danger area.
Half-time: Coupar Angus 1, Arbroath Vics 1.
The home side were the first to show after the interval when McGrath played a free kick from the halfway line into the box and Fraser Smith was given time and space to turn and send a low cross along the six-yard line, which Richardson managed to sweep away.
Vics had two penalty claims waved aside when, firstly, Owbridge and then G. Warren went down in the box, but on both occasions, the referee appeared to be correct.
In the 59th minute, Vics’ pressure eventually told when they edged in front. G. Warren sent over a free kick from wide on the left and RICHARDSON rose highest to plant a header into the net.
Two minutes later, Vics extended their lead to 3-1. David McLeish played the ball up to G. Warren who quickly set up OWBRIDGE and the striker blasted a shot into the back of the net.
As the young Coupar side began to wilt, Vics continued to push on and McKenzie was next to try his luck with a shot from distance, which took a deflection and sailed over the bar.
With 66 minutes gone, Vics scored again. G. Warren again did the damage, his cross from a corner finding RICHARDSON at the back post and when his header went into the net he created a little piece of history by becoming the only Vics’ player to score a hat-trick, playing from a central defensive position in the club’s 129-year history.
Vics looked like scoring every time they went forward and when McDowell linked up with Owbridge, taking the return to stride into the box, his angled shot beat the ‘keeper, but rolled just wide of the far post.
In the 72nd minute, Vics were forced to make a change when Richardson suffered a knock and had to be helped off, with D. Warren coming on as substitute.
A minute later, Vics scored again. This time, McDOWELL profited from a G. Warren corner charging in to bullet a header into the back of the net.
Owbridge then sent a header inches over the bar, before McDowell saw another header cleared off the line with the ‘keeper beaten as Coupar struggled to deal with the many corner kicks G. Warren sent into the box.
D. Warren almost got his name on the scoresheet in the 87th minute when Lawson played him in but Gunning got a hand to his shot to push the ball onto the post and away to safety.
The scoring was completed a minute later when Vics went 6-1 in front. Again it was G. Warren, for the sixth time in the match who supplied the final assist, his pass finding DANNY McKENZIE whose shot beat the ‘keeper low down at his near post.
Before play restarted, Fraser Smith was yellow carded for dissent, but with seconds remaining he almost grabbed a second goal for the home side when he tried to chip Cargill from wide on the left, but the ‘keeper, who had been idle for most of the second half, managed to back-track and turn the ball over the bar.
Coupar Angus: Gunning, McGrath, Campbell, Duncan, Townsley, Cairney, Smith, French, Wilson, Crighton, Valentine. Unused substitutes: Ritchie and Robson.
Arbroath Vics: Cargill, Richardson (D. Warren 77), Johnston, Brown, Durno, Lawson, McDowell, McLeish, Owbridge, McKenzie, Warren. Unused substitutes: Duncan, Walker and Reid.
Referee: Mr. G. Bowman, Dundee.
No match tomorrow
Vics have no game tomorrow (Saturday). Their final fixture of the season is away to Lochee Harp on Saturday, May 21.
Winners this week were: £10, No. 135 – George Watson; £5, No. 90 – Ian Muir.