Lochee Harp 0 Arbroath Vics 4
Arbroath Vics made the short trip along the A92 to meet Lochee Harp in a McBookie.com North Division fixture on Saturday.
With Craig Sturrock suspended following his ordering off against Blairgowrie the previous week, Matty Johnston switched to left-back with Kevin Durno reverting to his normal role of centre-half. To accommodate the changes at the back, Josh Chalmers was recalled to midfield.
Lochee Harp had began the season in fine style, being undefeated and having hit six past Lochore Welfare in their last home fixture.
Vics almost grabbed the lead in the first minute when Kevin Durno headed the ball forward to Garry Warren who whipped a cross into the six-yard box, which Brian Scrimgeour headed behind his own post for a corner. From the flag-kick, Matty Johnston got a touch to Jamie Thomson’s cross to flick the ball beyond keeper Darren Brown, but his effort was cleared off the line.
Harp replied with Callum Petrie and Dominic Blair combining to play in Frankie Mullen, but Kevin Durno came sliding in just over the 18-yard line to snuff out the danger.
Within a minute, Vics were back on the attack when Scott Donald headed the ball wide to Garry Warren who exchanged passes with Kane Hester, allowing the striker to get in a low shot, which Darren Brown got down to save.
Sixty seconds later, Matty Johnston released Scott Donald and he fired a great cross across the face of goal and Josh Chalmers saw his close range effort flicked over the bar by Darren Brown when a goal seemed certain.
Garry Warren took the resultant corner and his cross picked out Scott Donald, whose header was cleared off the line with the keeper beaten.
Scott Donald had another chance with a header when Kane Hester knocked an Alex Cargill clearance wide to Josh Chalmers and his cross picked him out inside the area, but this time his header was straight into the arms of the keeper.
In a rare Harp attack, the ball was switched from left to right allowing Callum Petrie space to fire in an angled drive, which Alex Cargill allowed to break from his grasp, but the rebound was cleared away before anyone in a green jersey could get on the end of it.
Despite that, it was Vics who looked more likely to break the deadlock and the goal they deserved eventually came in the 27th minute. Scott Donald got high above the Harp defence to head an Alex Cargill clearance into the path of KANE HESTER and although the keeper blocked his first attempt, he kept his composure to take the rebound wide of the defender before netting.
Soon after a good Vics move down the left saw the ball switched across to the opposite side where Kieran MacGregor sent it back into the box. His cross was cleared out of the area, but Matty Johnston fired the ball back towards goal where it took a deflection and flew wide.
Garry Warren’s corner was only partially cleared and landed at the feet of Jamie Thomson just inside the box, and his clipped shot was glanced off the line and behind by the head of Liam McHugh stationed on the post.
With the interval approaching, Greg Anderson was booked for a late tackle on Kane Hester after the referee allowed play to continue with Vics having advantage, before Jamie Thomson was yellow carded soon after for bringing down Callum Petrie.
The last chance of the half fell Harp’s way when Martyn McCabe sent Dominic Blair up the left with Vics appealing for offside, but the move fizzled out when his cut-back from the by-line was gathered by Alex Cargill.
Half-time: Lochee Harp 0 Arbroath Vics 1
The home side had a chance to get back on level terms within a couple of minutes of the re-start when Brian Scrimgeour sent Callum Petrie racing through on goal, but he blazed his shot over the bar with only Alex Cargill to beat.
Play soon returned at the other end and Jamie Thomson glanced a header just wide of the post following a Garry Warren free-kick.
Harp made a change in the 56th minute when Robbie Norrie came on for Aaron Kane before Mark Fotheringham had his name noted for a foul in the centre circle.
A high, looping free-kick from Mark Kelly caused problems for Alex Cargill; the keeper unable to hold onto the ball under pressure, but having spilled it, he recovered to deny Frankie Mullen by diving to save the loose ball at his feet.
On the hour mark, a mistake by Greg Anderson led to him being sent off and Vics awarded a penalty. Kane Hester took the ball off the Harp captain’s toes midway inside his own and advanced into the box and rounded the keeper before being brought down by the number five before he could shoot. Once the defender was off the park, SCOTT DONALD doubled Vics lead with the spot-kick, sending Darren Brown the wrong way.
Liam McHugh picked up a yellow card midway through the half for upending Scott Donald before Colin Lawson replaced Jamie Thomson in Vics ranks.
Vics were almost caught out when Brian Scrimgeour sent a free-kick towards the by-line, which they struggled to clear, but were let off the hook when Dominic Blair scooped the ball over the bar from close range.
The points were all but won when Vics took a 3-0 lead in the 69th minute. A move up the right saw Colin Lawson find Josh Chalmers who crossed to the opposite side of the park where Garry Warren turned the defender before firing the ball across the face of goal for KANE HESTER to hit into the net.
Harp made a further change when Conor Ireland was sent on for Frankie Mullen and soon after Brian Scrimgeour found his name in the referee’s book for a block on Kane Hester.
Vics made a double change a minute later when Scott Donald and Garry Warren were replaced by Chris Simpson and Liam Scott.
Ian Petrie almost got Harp on the score-sheet with a drive from distance, which took a deflection, but Alex Cargill was alive to the situation and dived low to his left to beat it away.
With 13 minutes left, Harp found themselves down to nine men. Callum Petrie was being booked for hauling down Mark Fotheringham and before the referee had time to put his card away, Liam McHugh picked up a second yellow card for striking the ball against the Vics player. To compensate for the loss, Harp withdrew Brian Scrimgeour and sent on James Hay.
Vics continued to press and grabbed a fourth goal in the 83rd minute. Colin Lawson sent a lovely pass out wide to Liam Scott on the left and when he cut the ball back, KANE HESTER met it on the 18-yard line and curled a glorious shot beyond the keeper to complete his hat-trick.
In the 85th minute, Harp were further depleted when Kane Hester was hauled down in the box by keeper Darren Brown who became the third home player to be dismissed. James Hay was forced to take over the goalkeeper’s jersey and he proved himself to be an able deputy by saving Kane Hester’s spot-kick.
A couple of minutes before the close, Mark Kelly was booked for a foul on Kane Hester, which forced the player to hobble off, leaving Vics to play out the remaining time with 10 men.
Vics at last got their first win of the season at the fourth time of asking. Apart from a brief spell after the interval, Vics were by far the better team and Harp had no answer to their quick movement and passing, which was reflected in the final score-line, highlighted by a superb hat-trick from Kane Hester.
Arbroath Vics: Cargill, MacGregor, Johnston, Thomson (Lawson 66), Durno, Florence, Chalmers, Fotheringham, Hester, Donald (Simpson 72), Warren (Scott 72). Subs: Riddell, McLeish.
Referee: Mr B. Reid (Kinross).
This Saturday Vics are at home when they play host to Downfield in a league fixture. Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m.
P W D L F A Pts
Luncarty 3 2 1 0 9 4 7
Blairgowrie 4 2 1 1 9 6 7
Kirrie Thistle 4 2 1 1 11 9 7
Newburgh 4 2 1 1 9 8 7
Brechin Vics 4 2 0 2 17 11 6
Lochee Harp 3 2 0 1 8 5 6
East Craigie 4 2 0 2 11 9 6
Scone Thistle 4 2 0 2 8 7 6
Downfield 3 2 0 1 6 5 6
Thornton Hibs 3 1 2 0 9 6 5
Kennoway Star Hearts 4 1 2 1 9 9 5
Arbroath Vics 4 1 1 2 9 12 4
Lochore Welfare 4 1 1 2 8 14 4
Kirkcaldy YM 4 1 0 3 6 14 3
Forfar Albion 4 0 0 4 6 16 0