Newburgh 3 Arbroath Vics 1
Arbroath Vics travelled into Fife to play a North Division fixture against Newburgh who were formerly in the Fife Region of the SJFA on Saturday.
Manager Jake Ferrier kept faith with the same outfield 10 that saw off Brechin Vics the previous midweek, with the exception of trialist Jack Whitton in goal, replacing the unavailable Alan Cormack. The bench was strengthened by the return of Jake McWalter, Owen Bryce and Ross Kenny.
The home side was given a chance inside the first couple of minutes when a strongly hit pass-back from Kevin Durno put Whitton under pressure and the trialist ‘keeper’s clearance only went as far as Ryan Gray who fired it back in, forcing the number one to dive and push it away.
At the other end, Chris Simpson hit a long ball into the Newburgh half looking for Craig Watson but Troy Quinn just did enough to get it back to goalkeeper Scott Christie before the striker could reach.
A surging run down the left by Gary Spence allowed him to cut inside and tee up Gray who sent a long-range effort whizzing just wide of the upright.
In the 18th minute, Craig Sturrock found his name in the referee’s book when he brought Chris McLeish down on the edge of the box, but Whitton confidently held Spence’s free kick.
Newburgh were then a little fortunate a couple of minutes later when Stephen crossed to the far side of the box, where Warren got in a shot as Michael Gow slipped, but the ball struck the defender’s chest as he lay on the ground.
Minutes later, a ball hoisted high into the Vics’ area was brought under control by Gray, but Whitton did well to track him down and save at his feet just inside the box as he tried to get his shot away.
The nearest to a goal for Vics so far came a minute later when Mark Fotheringham got on the end of a Stephen corner, but his header dropped over the bar.
Matty Johnston was next to test the Newburgh defence, but Scott Christie made a confident leap to pluck the full-back’s cross off the head of Watson.
Spence was proving to be a threat down the left and he again caused danger when he cut inside from the flank and drilled a shot over the bar.
Durno was yellow carded in the 37th minute when he tripped Chris McLeish on the edge of the box, but when Allan Ferguson’s free kick was blocked, Vics broke quickly to the other end with Lawson releasingg Watson but Christie managed to save his shot with his legs.
Vics came close again seconds later when Durno got in front of the Newburgh defence to reach a Warren corner to glance a header just wide of the far post.
The match turned in the 44th minute however when Vics were reduced to 10 men. Steve Florence and Scott Mackain tussled for the ball just outside the area, with the referee deeming the free kick be awarded to the Fife side and brandishing the red card to the Vics’ defender. From the free kick, Whitton made a terrific save leaping high to his left to turn Spence’s net-bound shot round the post for a corner.
With seconds of the half remaining, Vics withdrew Stephen and sent on defender Owen Bryce.
With 56 minutes played, Newburgh’s numerical superiority told when they opened the scoring. Johnston picked up a booking for a trip on Spence and although Whitton made a fine save to keep out Allan Ferguson’s shot, he could do little to prevent McLEISH from turning in the rebound.
Vics immediately made a double substitution when Andy Cowan and Marc Walker were sent on in place of Lawson and Warren.
Despite being a man down, Vics came close to equalising in the 65th minute when Simpson and Fotheringham worked the ball into the box, but the latter’s shot went across the face of goal and wide of the post.
Vics were getting little favours from the referee and Fotheringham was next to be yellow carded for a tackle on Ferguson in midfield.
With 73 minutes played, Newburgh extended their lead. GRAY picked up the ball in midfield and let fly with a drive from distance, which took a deflection and sailed over the head of Whitton into the net.
Newburgh made a couple of quick changes with Lewis Mackie replacing Dean Elder and Andrew Smith coming on for Gray, before Simpson found his name in the referee’s book following a foul on the far touchline.
The match was running away from Vics and in the 78th minute a trip just inside the area on Mackie by Walker resulted in a penalty to the home side. Vics found themselves down to nine men when Durno picked up a second yellow card for disputing the decision, but once the dust had settled, Whitton made a great save to block McLeish’s spot kick.
Two men short, Vics almost grabbed a goal back in the 80th minute when Watson broke away from the Newburgh defence to send a shot just past the post.
The home side made their third change of the afternoon when Robbie Goodwillie replaced Spence two minutes later.
Vics then passed up a great chance to score in the 84th minute when Cowan sent Walker away down the left, but after entering the box he elected to roll the ball across to Watson instead of shooting and it ran behind for a goal kick.
With four minutes left, Vics gave themselves a glimmer of hope when CRAIG WATSON broke clear of the Newburgh defence to slam a shot beyond the ‘keeper.
However with seconds remaining, Newburgh were awarded a second penalty and Vics found themselves down to eight men. McLeish was allowed to advance into the box from a suspiciously offside position and when he collided with Whitton, the referee pointed to the spot and flashed a red card at the trialist ‘keeper. Fotheringham took over in goal, but this time McLEISH converted the kick to secure the points for Newburgh.
Despite some of the poor decisions from the official resulting in Vics having three players red-carded, they didn’t play well and Newburgh did enough over the 90 minutes to claim the points, which puts them top of the league on goal difference.
Arbroath Vics: Whitton, Johnston, Sturrock, Lawson (Cowan 57), Durno, Florence, Stephen (Bryce 45), Fotheringham, Watson, Simpson, Warren (Walker 57). Unused subs: McWalter and Kenny.
Vics are back on home soil tomorrow (Saturday) when they play host to Forfar Albion in the league. Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m.