A slow start to the game cost Arbroath Vics as they lost 2-1 at Luncarty in North Division action on Saturday.
On a heavy pitch, the home side created the first opening in the fourth minute when Daniel Walker sent a cross into the box after his initial corner had been cleared, leading to a scramble inside the area, which was only ended when Scott Donald managed to get the ball behind for another flag kick, which came to nothing.
At the other end, Donald got free on the left and fired a low cross into the Luncarty box, but goalkeeper Duncan Bruce was down quickly to smother it on the six yard line.
Luncarty had a great chance to open the scoring in the 14th minute when Robert Millar and Daniel Walker combined to pick out Steven McAllister.
His cross into the box from the right was perfect for Lewis Allan bang in front of goal, but he failed to get a proper connection and steered his shot wide.
At the other end, Lee Jones found Rikki Gillespie in space on the left and the number 10 cut inside before sending in a low shot, but it was easily dealt with by Duncan Bruce.
Arran Lyall then kept Vics on level terms with a wonderful save in the 22nd minute when he leapt to get a touch to a Jamie Reid drive, to flick the net-bound shot over the bar.
Duncan Bruce was the next keeper called into action when Donald got on the end of a Gillespie corner, the keeper having to throw up a hand to push the left-back’s header over the bar.
From the corner kick, Gillespie pulled the ball back to Josh Chalmers on the 18-yard line and his curling shot just cleared the far post.
However, when a goal did arrive it was at the other end in the 28th minute.
Darren Gray sent over a corner and Stuart Nicol was allowed to jump unchallenged to plant a header into the back of the net.
Vics responded with Ryan Lewis sending the ball through for Lee Jones, who turned it back into the path of Kellon Lyons, but his shot slipped across goal and wide of the target.
The home side increased their lead in the 41st minute, and again it was a goal which could have been avoided.
Nicol sent a free-kick forward from the half-way line, which Richard Doig helped on into the box and Allan got a touch to turn it beyond Lyall.
It might have got worse for Vics a minute later when Gray brought down a Daniel Walker cross inside the box, but Lyall did well to block his drive away with his legs.
Vics hauled themselves back into the match with a goal in the 49th minute.
A fine move opened up the Luncarty defence and when Ryan Lewis drilled a cross in from the right, Gillespie arrived to slam a shot beyond Duncan Bruce.
Vics came close again three minutes later when Gillespie picked up a Jonathon Bastow throw-in and delivered a low across along the face of goal, but there was no one on hand to get a touch and the ball eventually ran out for a throw at the corner flag.
Although Vics were enjoying more possession than they did in the first half, they found it difficult to break through the Luncarty side on the tight pitch and it required a good last ditch block from Sam Clark to turn a Doig shot away for a corner in a home attack.
Danny Dobie picked up a yellow card when he chopped down Gillespie at the right hand edge of the box in the 86th minute and from the free-kick, Wilson got on the end of Gillespie’s cross but his shot was charged down inside a crowded penalty area.
Deep into stoppage time, Vics had one last chance to snatch an equaliser when they were awarded another free-kick, but Clark’s cross was cleared away by the Luncarty defence allowing the referee to bring proceedings to a close.
The game was won and lost in the first half with Vics finding the two goal lead Luncarty had built up too difficult to pull back despite an improved showing after the break.
Vics are again in Perthshire this Saturday when they travel to Foxhall Park to meet Coupar Angus in the league. Kick-off is at 2.30pm.