ARBROATH Vics wound up their season with a league victory against Lochee Harp away on Saturday afternoon.
As with their last outing a fortnight ago, Vics were severely under strength and trialist Chas McKenzie was drafted into the midfield to take a place in the starting 11.
Despite being depleted, Vics almost sneaked a goal in the first minute when Ryan Owbridge turned a David McLeish throw-in back into the path of Scott McDowell who sent a shot flying wide.
A good turn from Garry Warren then allowed him to play the ball down towards the corner flag for Craig Sturrock whose cross was blocked inside the box. The rebound fell back into the path of G. Warren, but his effort was charged down by Steven Fotheringham.
At the other end, a free-kick from wide on the right taken by Mark Kelly saw David Taylor attempt an overhead kick, which McLeish was happy to nod behind for a corner.
A similar attempt from Kenny Boyle following a Blaine McAulay cross saw his effort slip wide of Chris Cargill’s right hand post.
A poor goalkick from Duncan McPherson saw the ‘keeper’s clearance only go as far as Danny McKenzie, but he made amends by saving from G. Warren who had been played into the box by the Vics number 10.
With 17 minutes played, Harp took the lead from the penalty spot. McDowell went to challenge Kelly in the box and although there was a hint of handball by the Harp player on the ground before he was tripped, the referee awarded the spot-kick, which KELLY himself confidently netted, low to Cargill’s left.
Having taken the lead, Harp went in pursuit of a second and when Matthew Ramsay and Boyle swapped passes to get in behind the Vics defence, it required a good save from Cargill to prevent the former from adding to the lead.
Vics responded with D. McKenzie winning the break of the ball from Fotheringham to find space in the box, but his prodded shot was kicked clear by goalkeeper McPherson.
G. Warren then had two efforts blocked in quick succession, the first by a defender and the rebound by the ‘keeper.
Sturrock came within inches of getting Vics back on level terms with a swerving effort from wide on the left, which beat the ‘keeper, but zipped inches over the bar.
Vics good spell was eventually rewarded with the equaliser in 37 minutes. A fine move saw the ball moved from one side of the pitch to the other before McLeish chipped it into the box from the right and OWBRIDGE stole in behind the defence to angle a header beyond the reach of McPherson from 15 yards.
Harp then struggled to deal with a G. Warren corner before Colin Lawson pounced, but his shot flew high over the bar.
Despite that it required a top class save from Cargill to prevent Harp from regaining the lead in 43 minutes. Lees, Taylor and Boyle all combined to set up Matthew Ramsay whose shot was brilliantly blocked by the ‘keeper. Lees latched onto the rebound, but Durno was in the right place to turn away his follow up.
Play quickly switched to the other end and McLeish released D. McKenzie with a pass from his own half, but McPherson stood tall to block his drive.
Seconds from the interval, Sturrock pinged over a cross which McPherson failed to reach and when Lawson gathered it on the edge of the box and played it back through the ‘keeper’s legs, a goal looked certain.However, the Harp defence managed to clear the ball away with the ‘keeper stranded way out of position.
Half-time: Lochee Harp 1, Arbroath Vics 1.
Vics almost edged in front four minutes after the restart when McLeish, Lawson and Owbridge worked the ball up the right to play in D. McKenzie, but McPherson got the slightest of touches to his angled drive to flick the ball beyond the far post for a corner.
Harp then squandered a chance to go in front when Kelly clipped a cross into the box, which found giant centre half Fotheringham unmarked around the penalty spot, but he directed his header over the bar.
Vics made the most of that let off by going in front in 57 minutes. Sturrock hit a pass deep into the Harp half, which glanced off the head of Fotheringham allowing Owbridge to race in on goal. With only the ‘keeper to beat he unselfishly squared the ball across for D. McKENZIE to roll into the empty net.
D. McKenzie had a great chance to add to his tally a minute later when he was released by Owbridge but his shot was blocked and G. Warren, following up, saw his drive deflected for a corner off the legs of the ‘keeper. Soon after D. McKenzie was again one-on-one with the ‘keeper, but McPherson again won the duel by smothering his shot.
Midway through the half, Harp made a double substitution, sending on Steven Williamson and Scott Peters for Graham Moon and Brad Leitch.
Williamson was quickly involved sending over a dangerous cross to the back post, which Kelly knocked over the bar with his knee. Vics then made a change when Colin Lawson was replaced by Darin Warren.
Harp pressed looking for an equaliser and McDowell got a vital touch to a Williamson shot to send the ball over the bar. The home side made their third change of the afternoon when Scott Bissett replaced Blaine McAulay in 77 minutes.
G. Warren then saw a free kick from 19 yards deflected over the bar after he had been impeded as he tried to get into the box.
With four minutes left, Vics sealed the points by taking a 3-1 lead. Garry Warren sent the ball up the left to his brother Darin and when he played it across the 18-yard line, OWBRIDGE lofted it over the ‘keeper and into the back of the net.
There was just time for two late bookings, Richardson for a foul on Boyle and the Harp player himself for dissent before the referee brought Vics’ season to a close.
Lochee Harp: McPherson, Kelly, Moon (Williamson 64), Leitch (Peters 64), Fotheringham, McAulay (Bissett 77), D. Taylor, D.S. Taylor, Boyle, Lees, Ramsay. Unused substitutes: Millar, Anderson, Ryder and Mullen.
Arbroath Vics: Cargill, Richardson, Sturrock, McLeish, Durno, Lawson (D. Warren 72), McDowell, C. McKenzie, Owbridge, D. McKenzie, G. Warren. Unused substitutes: Duncan and Reid.
Referee: Mr. J. Banks.
Winners this week were: £10, no. 65 - Stuart McLeod; £5, no. 22 - Jake Ferrier.