Ryan to the four for Arbroath as Lichties thrash East Stirling

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The momentum and confidence that has been slowly building in recent weeks for the Lichties reached new levels on Saturday as they demolished East Stirlingshire.

Craig Tully’s team had been on a run of recent defeats and so perhaps in attempts to be more cautious they were happy to hold onto the ball deep in their own half.

It was a tactic that was to backfire as the Arbroath attacking players went chasing after every ball knowing if they could intercept a pass or apply enough pressure they were in on goal.

It was in the seventh minute when Andy Munro found right back Craig Watson running up the right wing, he played in Bobby Linn and he in turn found Andy Ryan in the middle who had space to strike the ball past Barnard into the back of the net after a clever run by Keiran Stewart pulled away two defenders.

Arbroath looked ready to put the Shire to the sword as Linn, Darren Ramsay and Stewart all came close for the Lichties as they laid siege to Barnard’s goal, with Ryan also striking the bar with another well worked move.

Allan Fleming was rarely tested in the opening exchanges with Arbroath’s only test arriving from referee Alan Newlands who mistakenly booked Mark Whatley instead of Watson.

Ryan was looking hungry and within two minutes of the second half had already had another chance to add to his tally. Jon Tully did manage to hit the Arbroath post in the 49th minute as he managed to improvise with a shot as he fell backwards following a free kick.

A minute later and the game was over: a forward pass into the box by Stewart found Ryan who had got goal side of Greene who in turn seemed to pull Ryan down, with the referee blowing his whistle immediately before flashing the red card to Greene.

Linn stepped up and made no mistake as he calmly slotted the penalty to the top right hand corner to score his third goal in three games.

An unselfish Linn held up play before sliding a pass into space for Ryan who had raced from deep to slide the ball past the reaches of Barnard for his second goal in the 56th minute.

The fourth goal finally came when a beautiful ball by Sergio Alvarez split the defence, finding substitute Martin Grehan who steadily slotted home.

Next up for Arbroath is the visit of Annan Athletic, a real test of this improved Arbroath side to end the league’s first quarter of fixtures before the international break.