ARBROATH’S Lee Sibanda earned himself a fearsome reputation among Second Division goalkeepers on Saturday.
The 27-year-old Fifer inadvertently became Arbroath’s ‘hitman’ when it came to keeping Albion Rovers down.
The midfielder was involved in the red cards of both Rovers’ ‘keepers, Gaston and Fahey, leaving defender Allan Dempsie in the firing line.
After the game, Lee expressed his sympathy for the Coatbridge men. He said: “It’s difficult sometimes, you try to go around the ‘keeper.
“But if you get there first, what do you do? I got there a second early.”
Sibanda agrees with the current groundswell of opinion in Scottish football that official rulings in these situations are overly harsh.
He said: “I think penalties are punishment enough without losing a player as well.”
Not all his sympathy is for the unfortunate ‘keeper however. He added: “When we went two nil up against them we thought we were in the driving seat.
“They equalised by half-time, it’s always the same with ten men.”
What is worse than 10 men in opposition according to Sibanda? Nine men apparently.
He admitted: “I’ve been in a few games where we were up against nine men.
“Everybody gets behind the ball and makes it more difficult for us. They become unpredictable and more dangerous.”
Saturday allowed Sibanda to play a storming game, his speed and aggression gave him an edge when it came to slicing through the Albion defences.
Apart from the ‘keeper scalps that he collected, Sibanda also pulled a lovely goal from a messy tussle in the box to curl it into the top corner.
It was, however, not all knocks and roses for Sibanda, who was booked in the second half for scoring from offside after the whistle was blown.
This was also the first time that Sibanda played a dedicated role up front during a competitive game.
Manager Paul Sheerin said: “Lee keeps telling me that this is his role, and he’s tried it out in pre-season.
“I wasn’t convinced that Bryce and Swankie were playing together as well as they could, so I gave Lee a chance.”
Sibanda is confident that he put on a good show against Rovers, he said: “I’m quite happy with the way I played today, and getting a goal is always nice.
“Going forward we looked really strong today, and we made it very difficult to pick up players coming from deep.”
Sibanda admits that there are a few areas he needs to work on in his skill set if he wants to continue playing up front.
He said: “I’m going to have to get there in time, time my runs right and make sure I don’t get caught offside.”