Lochore Welfare 4, Arbroath Vics 3
It was a much-depleted Arbroath Vics side that made the trip into Fife to meet Lochore Welfare in the league on Saturday.
Injuries ruled out Matty Johnston and Jake McWalter, while suspension put paid to David McLeish making an appearance.
With Colin Lawson working, and Kane Hester ill, Vics could only muster 13 players for the trip.
On the plus side, Steve Florence and Mark Fotheringham were both again available and came into the starting 11.
Vics got off to the best possible start with a goal barely a minute into the contest. Craig Sturrock played the ball forward to Craig Watson and when he nodded the ball down into the Lochore box, ABDOURAHMAN NJIE got on the end of it to loft it over the head of goalkeeper Gary Inglis, who had left his line.
A couple of minutes later, Vics forced a corner, but Garry Warren’s cross into the box was headed clear by Andy Rodger.
Lochore responded with a David Byrne throw-in being helped across to the far side of the box towards Scott Penman, whose shot got a slight nick off the head of Mark Fotheringham as it went behind for a corner.
Stephen put Vics on the offensive, breaking from his own half, and despite being fouled by Lee Reid, he managed to get the ball out wide to Njie, whose cross was headed wide by Watson. Having allowed Vics advantage, the referee yellow-carded Reid once the ball had gone out of play for his foul on Stephen in the build-up.
With only 10 minutes played, Vics were forced into a change when Cowan went over his ankle and had to hobble off to be replaced by Chris Simpson.
It came as no surprise when Vics increased their lead in the 19th minute. Watson got on the end of a Warren corner to power in a header, which was blocked on the line.
The Lochore defence were unable to get it away any distance, and when Sturrock fired it back in from 19 yards his shot looked to be going in until NJIE claimed the final touch with a glancing header to make sure.
Simpson then let fly with a shot from distance, which just cleared the Lochore bar as Vics looked to add to their lead.
In the 25th minute, Sturrock hit a great diagonal ball out wide to Njie on the right and continued his run to meet the cross, but his shot wasn’t as precise as his pass and his drive flew high over the bar.
Half-time: Lochore Welfare 0, Arbroath Vics 2.
Half-time substitute Michael Wallace was soon in the action and within five minutes had pulled a goal back for the home side. David Byrne sent Brett McGuire away down the right, and when he pulled the ball back into the path of WALLACE, whose low shot found the far corner of the net despite Hutcheson getting a hand to it.
Two minutes later, the scores were level and again it was Wallace who was instrumental in the goal. The substitute took the ball towards the by-line before turning the ball back for REID to drill into the net.
Vics were forced into a second change on the restart when Watson pulled up and Grant Mowatt came on as his replacement.
Inglis kept Lochore on level terms in the 55th minute when he dived to keep out a rocket shot from Simpson in one-handed fashion and was up quickly to grab the rebound before anyone in a Vics shirt could capitalise.
Sturrock then almost found the net with a cross from the left, which deceived Inglis and clipped the far post, but the keeper redeemed himself by diving to grab the ball at the feet of Mowatt as he tried to squeeze in the rebound.
Gibson became the second home player to be booked for a trip on Mark Fotheringham, before Vics edged back in front in the 64th minute. Sturrock whipped a free-kick into the box, which Andy Rodger made a hash of clearing and he only succeeded in teeing up ROSS KENNY, who smashed a shot into the net from around the penalty spot.
With 10 minutes left, Vics were caught out when Lochore levelled the match at 3-3. The ball was booted out of the ground, but, with everyone waiting it being returned, Penman picked up a spare one from the home dugout and threw it on to Michael Wallace, who made ground down the left before pulling it back for GIBSON to drill in.
In 83 minutes, the home side went in front for the first time in the match. Penman sent over a corner and ROBERT FYFE was given a free run to bullet in a header.
With three minutes left, Lochore found themselves down to 10 men when Gibson was sent off for picking up his second booking of the afternoon, following an altercation with Simpson, who was also yellow carded. After a 2-0 interval lead, Vics looked as if they would go on to pick up the three points, but they contrived to let a winning situation slip, not once but twice after the break as Lochore battle back to grab the win.
Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, Stephen, Sturrock, Cowan (Simpson 10), Durno, Florence, Kenny, Fotheringham, Watson (Mowatt 53), Njie, Warren.
Referee: Mr. B. Reid (Kinross).
Vics are again out of town, in what is their last away fixture of the season, when they head for Strathmore Park to meet Forfar West End in the league. Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m. and transport leaves Ogilvy Park at 12.45 p.m.
MCBOOKIE.COM EAST NORTH LEAGUE
Dundee N E 30 24 4 2 113 33 76
Star Hearts 27 17 1 9 85 50 52
Blairgowrie 27 17 1 9 71 41 52
Forfar West End 26 16 2 8 77 40 50
Newburgh 24 14 6 4 80 39 48
Downfield 23 14 4 5 53 34 46
Luncarty 24 14 1 9 72 45 43
Arbroath Vics 28 11 5 12 67 72 38
Lochore Welfare 24 11 4 9 48 52 37
Thornton Hibs 23 11 3 9 70 50 36
Scone Thistle 26 11 2 13 56 69 35
East Craigie 25 10 2 13 54 44 32
Brechin Vics 28 7 3 18 31 62 24
Lochee Harp 27 5 4 18 54 79 19
Forfar Albion 29 4 0 25 37 128 12
Coupar Angus 23 0 0 23 12 142 0