ARBROATH Vics made the short trip up the coast to meet Montrose Roselea in the only North Division league fixture to beat the weather on Saturday.
Craig Watson and Andy Cowan both returned to the starting line-up, replacing Colin Lawson and Garry Warren, while Roselea went with the same 11 that hit six past Brechin Vics the previous week.
The game started in horrendous conditions with a biting north-easterly wind blowing across the pitch carrying sporadic flurries of snow. Despite that, Broomfield Park was in excellent condition underfoot.
Roselea got off to the best possible start with possibly the quickest ever goal to have been scored at the ground. From the kick-off, the ball was switched from left to right where Danny Ross tried his luck with a shot from outside the box. Lee Hutcheson appeared to have it covered, but it struck STEVE FLORENCE and flew into the opposite corner of the net with only 12 seconds on the clock.
Hutcheson was then forced to hold onto a Ryan Taylor free kick, low down as Roselea tried to capitalise on their dream start.
Vics began to haul themselves back into the game and when a Craig Watson shot caught the wind and sailed out towards the corner flag, Ross McLeod went charging out of his box towards it and just did enough to prevent Chris Simpson from hoisting it back in by nudging it behind for a corner. From the flag kick, Watson got on the end of Grant Mowatt’s cross but could only steer his header over the bar.
Despite having gone behind so early, Vics were taking the game to Roselea and Cowan had a couple of chances, the first a long-range drive, which fizzed over the bar and the second a close-range effort, which Ross McLeod did well to smother close to the post.
Paul Tosh then sent a cross into the box, which Watson struggled to reach and although he did get his head to the ball it had little purchase and dropped wide of the target.
The wind was causing havoc and none more so when a Craig Sturrock cross intended for the far post suddenly veered off in the opposite direction, but McLeod got across his line to get a touch to the ball to flick it behind for a corner as it threatened to drop in at the opposite upright.
Vics again threatened when Cowan got his head to a Tosh free kick to nod the ball down for Watson, but the centre forward hooked his shot over the bar.
Disaster struck for Vics in the 26th minute when Callum Watson broke down the right and played the ball into the box for Dale Reid who went down between Hutcheson and Kevin Durno. After a slight delay, the referee awarded a penalty and flashed a red card at Hutcheson. With no substitute ‘keeper on the bench, Mark Fotheringham took over in goal, but his first task was to retrieve CALLUM WATSON’S spot kick from the back of the net.
Despite being down to 10 men, Vics kept plugging away and a Simpson shot, which held up in the wind eventually fell not far off target as McLeod looked on a little more than bemused.
Tosh found his name in the book for conceding a free kick just outside the box and Danny Ross fired the kick into the ‘wall’ before drilling a shot just over from the rebound.
Vics’ frustrations began to boil over and Cowan and David McLeish were both booked in quick succession as the match neared half-time.
Roselea then had a chance to put the game out of Vics’ reach in the 42nd minute when Calum Rae sent in a great free kick, which came off Durno and fell to Ross, who saw his shot parried away by stand-in ‘keeper Fotheringham. Watson nudged the rebound back to Paul Whyte but his shot went inches wide of the near post.
Half-time: Montrose Roselea 2, Arbroath Vics 0.
Vics made a change at the start of the second half when Craig Stephen came on for Cowan.
Roselea won an early free kick when Watson was tripped on the edge of the box and Fotheringham somehow got a hand to Reid’s shot to tip it over when it looked to be arrowing in.
In the 50th minute, McLeod did well to prevent Vics from pulling a goal back when Tosh drilled in a free kick from some 30 yards, which the ‘keeper dived, full-length along his line to turn behind.
McLeish then made a forward run and fired in a shot from distance, which just cleared the bar.
Watson let fly with another free kick soon after and Fotheringham again pulled off another fine save to keep it out with Anderson only able to knock the rebound over the bar from on the six-yard line.
At the other end, Simpson saw a shot deflected tipped behind by McLeod and from the corner, Mowatt’s cross fell for Durno who saw his hooked shot blocked behind.
Vics were having the upper hand but Roselea almost grabbed a third goal when Anderson and Paul Taylor combined to set up a shooting chance for Watson, whose curling effort was only inches away.
Reid then forced Fotheringham into a save, the replacement ‘keeper doing well to hold onto his dipping shot from outside the box.
In the 70th minute a Mowatt cross to the far post saw Vics have penalty claims waved away as Ross challenged McLeish in the air, but the referee satisfied himself with awarding a goal-kick as the ball dropped wide.
With 15 minutes left, Vics made a second change when Liam Campbell replaced Simpson.
The remainder of the match saw little in the way of goalmouth chances, with the wind if anything getting stronger and only a booking administered to Rae for a foul on Mowatt in the 86th minute the only thing for anyone to debate.
Vics played well and on another day might have taken something from the game. However the loss of a freak goal within seconds and the handicap of having to play over an hour 2-0 behind and with goalkeeper Hutcheson sent off proved insurmountable.
The win moves Roselea above Vics into fourth place on goal difference, but in an ultra tight league there is still everything to play for and it is anyone’s guess who will claim the two promotion places come the end of the season.
Montrose Roselea: McLeod, Taylor, Taylor, Rae, Reoch, Whyte, Ross, Anderson, Watson, Reid, Cruickshank. Unused substitutes: Riach, Watt, Beedie, Kennedy and Craig.
Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, McLeish, Sturrock, Fotheringham, Durno, Florence, Mowatt, Tosh, Watson, Simpson (Campbell 75), Cowan (Stephen 46). Unused substitutes: Johnston, Kenny and Lawson.
Referee: Mr C. Fordyce (Dundee).
Vics are back on home territory for only the third time in 2013, tomorrow (Saturday) when Blairgowrie check in at Ogilvy Park for a league fixture. Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m.
Winners this week were: £10 – No. 95, George Kennedy; £5 – No. 87, Jordan Whyte.
McBookie.com East North League
P W D L F A Pts
Dundee NE 15 10 2 3 47 19 32
Downfield 17 10 1 6 48 33 31
Kirrie Thistle 13 9 3 1 39 16 30
Montrose 15 9 2 4 45 17 29
Arbroath Vics 16 9 2 5 42 29 29
East Craigie 15 9 2 4 37 25 29
Blairgowrie 16 8 1 7 30 26 25
Forfar West End* 14 10 0 4 34 25 24
Brechin Vics 18 3 1 14 30 56 10
Lochee Harp 13 2 2 9 17 35 8
Forfar Albion 14 2 1 11 21 59 7
Coupar Angus 16 1 1 14 15 65 4
*Forfar WE deducted six points for playing unregistered players