Arbroath Vics 4, Newburgh 2
Arbroath Vics were back at home when they played host to Fife side Newburgh in the McBookie.com East Region North Division on Saturday.
Manager Jake Ferrier was forced into three changes from the previous week, with Craig Stephen, Steve Florence and Grant Mowatt unavailable.
That left the door open for Colin Lawson, Kevin Durno and Ross Kenny to claim starting places. Another change saw the fit-again Andy Cowan come in for Chris Simpson, who dropped down to the bench.
With Dundee North End, guaranteed promotion, there was still a chance for Newburgh to claim the one other place available into the Premier League, the Fife side sitting fourth only having lost three times so far in this campaign.
Newburgh were given the first sight of goal when Matty Johnston gave away a free-kick within shooting distance, but Dean Elder’s strike was deflected and ran harmlessly through to Lee Hutcheson in goal.
In the seventh minute, David McLeish sent a good ball out wide to Garry Warren, who made ground up the left before pulling it back for David McLeish to fire in a shot, but his drive was blocked as was Andy Cowan’s follow up.
The away side got the break of the ball a minute later when a David McLeish pass struck the legs of the referee and rebounded into the path of Allan Ferguson, allowing him to swing a cross into the box which Chris McLeish headed wide.
Vics almost made the breakthrough in the 10th minute when Craig Watson got on the end of a Matty Johnston free-kick and his header down broke across the box to Kenny, whose first-time shot was brilliantly pushed around the post by goalkeeper Craig Houston.
Two minutes later, Vics found themselves behind after a mistake by Hutcheson.
There seemed little danger when Chris McLeish prodded a Bruce McAdam cross goalwards, but the keeper allowed the ball to bounce off his chest and the Newburgh player took full advantage to slam the rebound in.
Craig Houston made sure Newburgh stayed in front when in Vics next attack he made two good saves from Watson after Cowan had headed a Craig Sturrock free-kick into the striker’s path, the second block at the expense of a corner.
Midway through the half, David McLeish found his name in the referee’s book when he brought down Ryan Gray in midfield.
A minute later, Hutcheson was brought into action, standing up well to beat away a fierce effort from Chris McLeish.
Vics, however, got back on level terms in the 27th minute. Garry Warren played a lovely pass through the Newburgh defence and Watson ran on to fire a low shot beyond the keeper.
Chris McLeish had a great chance to put Newburgh back in front within three minutes when a McAdam cross found him unmarked in the box, but fortunately for Vics he aimed his header wide of the home side’s goal.
At the other end, Watson nodded on a Sturrock throw-in and Kenny sent in a hook shot which Houston managed to flap around the post as it threatened to dip under the bar.
Almost on the half-time whistle, Durno, up with the attack for a free-kick, saw his net-bound drive turned away by the keeper before the ball came back out to Sturrock, who fired a vicious drive inches wide of the post.
Half-time: Arbroath Vics 1, Newburgh 1.
Vics got off to the perfect start in the second half with a goal inside the first minute.
Kenny gathered the ball in midfield and spread the ball out wide to Warren on the left – and when his cross came in, Watson got high above the defence to angle a header into the corner of the net.
Sturrock found himself yellow carded for dissent, before Chris McLeish won a 50/50 tackle with David McLeish in midfield and managed to get away a shot, but his effort was straight down the throat of Hutcheson.
Newburgh threatened again when Ferguson got above Vics defence to reach a Dean Elder corner only to send it spinning over the bar.
Abdourahman Njie was harshly booked for nudging the ball away after he had been given offside before Newburgh replaced Stephen Moon with Gary Spence.
On the hour mark, an Ferguson cross from wide on the right broke back into the path of Elder, but his shot lacked direction and flew wide.
Vics were forced to make a change when Johnston went off with a dislocated shoulder and Chris Simpson came on. The substitute went to right-back, with Colin Lawson moving over to the left, allowing Sturrock to join Durno in central defence.
Newburgh were pushing hard for an equaliser and Ferguson just cleared the bar with a first-time effort following a Elder corner.
The visitors made a second change when Peter Jones came on for David Gray in the 63rd minute.
Hutcheson then just got enough on a downward header from Ferguson to scramble the ball away at the post as it looked to be sneaking in.
Midway through the half, Vics took off Watson and replaced him with trialist Kane Hester.
Andy Cowan became the fourth Vics player to be yellow carded when he upended Jones as he tried to break over the half-way line.
Newburgh’s perseverance paid off with the equaliser in the 73rd minute.
Ferguson crossed into the six-yard box where Chris McLeish rose above a cluster of players to head over the line.
With 15 minutes left, Newburgh made their third change when Steven Harris came on for Dylan Honeyman.
Durno found his name in the referee’s book for dissent, before the match swung back in Vics’ favour in the 82nd minute.
David McLeish found Kenny, who tricked his way into the box before being clipped by McAdam, resulting in a penalty. The full-back was booked before Njie stepped up to net the spot-kick and put Vics back in front.
Yellow cards continued to be produced and Chris Simpson became the sixth Vics player to be noted after conceding a free-kick, but Elder’s effort was straight at Hutcheson.
In the 85th minute, Vics were awarded a second penalty when Hester was floored by a bad tackle inside the area from Jordan Davidson, who was immediately sent off.
Njie was again entrusted with the spot-kick and he kept his composure to send the ball beyond Houston for the second time.
With only five minutes left, Vics saw out the remaining time comfortably by running the ball down into the corners. Before the close, Ryan Gray picked up a yellow card for swiping the feet from Warren as he shielded the ball at the flag.
In an entertaining match, which swung one way then the other, Vics finished on a high and were rewarded with the points against a side still in with a chance of promotion.
Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, Lawson, Sturrock, Johnston (Simpson 60), Durno, Cowan, Kenny, Njie, Watson (Hester 68), McLeish, Warren. Unused sub: McWalter.
Newburgh: Houston, Ritchie, McAdam, Davidson, Moon (Spence 58), Gray (Jones 63), McLeish, Gray, Ferguson, Honeyman (Harris 75), Elder. Unused subs: Tulleth, Butter.
Referee: Mr. C. Fordyce (Dundee).
Vics travel to Dundee to meet Downfield in the league tomorrow (Saturday). Kick-off is at 2.30pm and transport leaves Ogilvy Park at 12.45pm.
MCBOOKIE.COM EAST NORTH LEAGUE
P W L D F A Pts
Dundee NE 28 22 4 2 105 30 70
Star Hearts 25 17 1 7 81 41 52
Blairgowrie 25 15 1 9 66 38 46
Forfar WE 24 14 2 8 71 38 44
Luncarty 23 14 1 8 71 43 43
Newburgh 22 12 6 4 71 37 42
Downfield 20 12 4 4 45 29 40
Arbroath Vics 26 11 5 10 63 64 38
Scone Thistle 24 10 2 12 50 64 32
East Craigie 23 10 1 12 53 42 31
Lochore Welfare 22 9 4 9 40 46 31
Thornton Hibs 21 9 3 9 59 45 30
Brechin Vics 26 7 2 17 29 59 23
Lochee Harp 25 5 4 16 49 72 19
Forfar Albion 28 4 0 24 33 122 12
Coupar Angus 20 0 0 20 11 127 0