ARBROATH Vics continued their league campaign with a home match against Brechin Vics on Saturday.
There were three changes to the side that drew with Dundee Violet the previous week. Chris Cargill returned in goal replacing the unavailable Steve Reid, while Colin Lawson was also given a starting place due to Scott McDowell breaking his wrist last Saturday. Having come on as a substitute last week, Ryan Owbridge led the line due to Lee Jones being on work duties.
Arbroath pressed from the off with former Ogilvy Park player Phil Low giving the ball away to Colin Lawson, whose shot was deflected for a corner. From the flag kick, Stuart Richardson got his head to Garry Warren’s cross and his effort was swept behind for another corner at the opposite post. From the third corner, Craig Anderson got on the end of Colin Lawson’s delivery, only for Jamie Robbie to make a fine save, leaping to tip his netbound effort over the bar.
Brechin could hardly get out of their own half and yet another move resulted in some desperate defending managing to turn the ball behind for yet another corner. Stuart Richardson headed Garry Warren’s cross goalwards, but Lawson, in his attempt to nod it in, took the ball away from goal.
Ryan Young made good ground down the left before sending over a dangerous cross, which Danny Ross headed just over the bar, with his back to goal, as Brechin made their first venture into the Arbroath half.
Despite that, most of the play was in the direction of the Brechin goal and Jamie Robbie again came to the away side’s rescue by diving to smother a Ryan Low shot on the line.
P. Low was then yellow carded for upending Warren as he ran towards goal but the resultant free kick came to nothing as Warren struck his shot wide of the target.
The Brechin goal was leading a charmed life and Robbie made yet another good save, this time denying David McLeish after Warren had played him into the box. The rebound fell to R. Low, but somehow his shot stayed out, cannoning back off a Brechin body inside the six-yard box.
Lawson was next to have a go, arriving late in the Brechin box to get on the end of a McLeish cross, but his header went over the bar.
A fine Arbroath move then carved open the Brechin defence leaving Warren with only Robbie to beat, but from point-blank range, the ‘keeper somehow blocked his shot with his legs.
Five minutes later, another Arbroath move started from deep inside their own half by Kevin Durno, allowed Warren to sprint into the box, where he appeared to be impeded by David Skelly as he was about to pull the trigger, but as he went to ground, the referee contented himself with awarding a goal kick as the ball ran behind.
Another great save from Robbie kept Brechin on level terms in the 38th minute when he dived full length to get his hand to a Lawson shot to send the ball spinning up and under the bar.
Arbroath should have had the game out of sight of their opponents, but with a couple of minutes of the half remaining, Brechin broke away to take an unlikely lead. A Warren corner was thumped out of the box and over the halfway line where COLIN McNAUGHT got on the end of it, and he sprinted clear to stroke a shot just inside the post beyond the advancing Chris Cargill from around 19 yards.
Half-time: Arbroath Vics 0, Brechin Vics 1.
Buoyed by their unexpected lead, Brechin carved out the first chance of the second period when David Easton made good ground up the right and whipped over a dangerous cross, which Stuart Richardson was forced to dive and head away from the danger area on the six-yard line.
At the other end, a Lawson corner was only partially cleared by the Brechin defence, and when Norrie drilled it back in, his shot took a deflection and sent it straight into the body of Robbie.
Skelly became the second Brechin player to see yellow when he tripped Warren, but again Arbroath failed to take advantage of the free kick.
A surging run from Ryan Owbridge took him deep into the Brechin half where he played in Craig Anderson but Robbie made his umpteenth save of the match turning his shot away with his legs.
On the hour mark, Arbroath made a change when R. Low was replaced by Danny McKenzie.
Two minutes later and again out of the blue, Brechin scored again. Young played a throw-in into McNaught who touched the ball back for SCOTT RUSSELL who curled a fine 20-yard shot into the far corner beyond the outstretched arm of Cargill.
Midway through the half, Arbroath made their second change of the afternoon when Craig Sturrock replaced Lawson.
Just when it looked as if it wasn’t to be Arbroath’s day, their perseverance paid off when they at last found the net with 15 minutes left. Warren flighted a corner into the box and RYAN OWBRIDGE jumped highest to send a header beyond everyone and into the corner.
Within a minute, Arbroath were almost back on level terms when McLeish curled a shot in from the right, which beat the keeper but it struck the far post and bounced away to safety.
In the 79th minute, Arbroath squared the match. Owbridge sent McLeish away down the right and when he fired his cross along the six-yard line, GARRY WARREN arrived at the back post to turn it in.
Brechin made a change soon after, when Bobby Bell replaced Scott Fullerton, before Paul Ross was booked for hauling down Anderson as he threatened to break into the box.
Try as they might, Arbroath couldn’t muster up a winner in the remaining minutes, the nearest they came being when a Brechin defender almost turned the ball into his own net, and they had to settle for a point for the second week running.
Arbroath Vics: Cargill, Richardson, Johnston, Norrie, Durno, McLeish, Low (McKenzie 60), Anderson, Owbridge, Lawson (Sturrock 65), Warren. Unused subs: Brown and Duncan, gk.
Brechin Vics: Robbie, Skelly, Young, Low, Ross, Easton, McNaught, Archibald, Fullerton (Bell 83), Russell, Ross. Unused subs: Eaton, Buick, Archibald and Hutchison, gk.
Referee: Mr. G. Anderson (Dundee).
It’s second versus third this Saturday as Vics head up the coast to meet Montrose Roselea in a league fixture. Kick-off is at 2.15 p.m. and transport leaves Ogilvy Park at 12.30 p.m.
Apart from Vics trip to Montrose, this Saturday sees all of the top six pitted against each other. League leaders, Downfield are away to fifth placed Dundee Violet, while Blairgowrie in sixth entertain Dundee North End who are fourth.
With only a handful of points separating the top six, there could be a few positional changes come the end of the afternoon, the only thing being known that Downfield will still lead the way no matter the outcome of their match.
Winner’s this week were: £10 – No. 4, Colin Lawson; £5 – No. 62, Jim Dinnie.
East Region North District League
P W D L F A Pts
Downfield 15 10 3 2 38 21 33
Arbroath Vics 14 8 3 3 33 21 27
Montrose Roselea 13 8 2 3 25 15 26
Dundee North End 13 8 1 4 34 21 25
Dundee Violet 14 8 1 5 34 22 25
Blairgowrie 14 7 2 5 38 27 23
Arbroath SC 13 6 3 4 29 21 21
Kirrie Thistle 11 4 4 3 29 24 16
Forfar Albion 15 3 4 8 27 41 13
East Craigie 14 3 2 9 17 34 11
Brechin Vics 12 2 3 7 15 32 9
Lochee Harp 8 2 1 5 10 14 7
Coupar Angus 14 1 1 12 14 50 4