ARBROATH Vics were out of town on Saturday when they made the short trip north west to meet Forfar Albion in a league fixture.
Injury ruled out strikers Craig Watson and Ryan Owbridge, but Danny Smith was fit again and slotted into defence, while Liam Campbell, free from suspension, was given a place on the bench.
Forfar Albion included four former Vics’ players, Garry Buick, Phil Low, Mark McIntosh and player/manager Derek Lawson in their starting line-up.
Vics were first to have an attempt on goal when Terry Gray launched a long throw-in into the Albion box, but when the ball fell at the feet of Chris Simpson, his shot was charged down inside the area.
Soon after another long throw-in from Gray bounced around the Albion penalty area, but was eventually cleared away before anyone in a black and white jersey could get on the end of it.
Albion then had a fortunate break in the 10th minute when goalkeeper Gavin Cargill advanced from his box to kick clear a through ball from David McLeish. His attempt struck Adam Hoggan as Chris Simpson tried to close him down, but fortunately for the ‘keeper, the ball rebounded into the path of Phil Low, who was able to clear.
The home side was seldom seen as an attacking force and when Craig Stephen broke free on the right he clipped over a cross to the far post, which Garry Warren turned wide from tight angle.
Two minutes later another Stephen cross from the opposite wing saw Mark Fotheringham get on the end of it, but he too could only knock it wide of the goal.
Vics continuted to hold sway, but Cargill in the home goal had very little to do apart from hold onto a McLeish drive from distance, which was never likely to trouble him.
Long throw-ins from Gray seemed to be causing the Albion defence most problems and yet another one saw Simpson stab an attempt wide.
Albion were forced to make a change in the 25th minute when Matty Reynolds went over an ankle and had to be replaced by Russell Stewart.
In the 32nd minute, Cargill was called upon to make his first worthwhile save of the match when he smothered a Warren shot on the line after Stephen had supplied the cross.
Albion’s only real attempt of the first half came in the 37th minute when they forced a corner and Low came charging in to head Lawson’s flag kick wide of the post.
The half ended with Smith picking up a yellow card for dissent after he had given away a foul.
Half-time: Forfar Albion 0, Arbroath Vics 0.
The first chance of the second half again came from a Gray long throw, which Simpson nodded on and Warren, arriving at the far post, headed over.
A Frazer Elder free kick, after he had been impeded, caused a moment of panic in Vics’ defence, but there were no Albion players able to take advantage and the ball was eventually cleared out of the danger area.
Smith then sent a shot wide of the target as yet again a Gray throw had the Albion defence at full stretch to clear it out of the box.
Midway through the half, Elder was booked for taking out Gray before Albion made a second change, sending on Joe Tindal for Lawson.
In the 69th minute, Vics at last made the breakthrough, albeit they needed a penalty to do so. Not for the first time, Warren got the better of McLeish down the left and when he cut into the box, the defender stuck out a leg and tripped him. TERRY GRAY took the kick and made no mistake with a well placed shot into the corner of the net.
Albion immediately made their third change of the afternoon on the re-start when Low was replaced by Fraser Willox.
Vics then made a double change soon after when Colin Lawson and Liam Campbell came on for Stephen and Matty Johnston.
In the 76th minute, Lee Hutcheson was called into action for the first time in the match when Stewart released Buick with a long ball from his own half and he fired in an angled shot, which the ‘keeper did well to get a hand to and divert round the post.
Vics had a chance to make sure of the points with a second goal a couple of minutes later when Smith picked out Simpson, who in turn rolled the ball into the path of Fotheringham, but he blasted his shot over the bar from good position.
With the clock winding down, Vics sent on Kevin Laing for Warren, with the substitute slotting in at left-back, allowing Campbell to push forward.
An improvised overhead kick from Simpson following a Gray throw-in drifted wide of the target as Vics tried to find the elusive second goal.
With a couple of minutes remaining, Albion might well have snatched an unexpected draw when Elder fired in a shot, which looked on target, but Gray, back helping his defence, got his body in the way of it and blocked it.
The game was far from a classic and although Vics enjoyed most of the possession they found Albion difficult to break down and had to rely on Gray’s penalty midway through the second half to win the points. By comparison, Albion showed little up front and Hutcheson was only called upon once, when Buick fired in a shot in the latter stages of the game.
Forfar Albion: Cargill, McLeish, Elder, Hoggan, Low (Willox 70), Buick, Lawson (Tindal 66), Plenderleith, Black, McIntosh, Reynolds (Stewart 25). Unused subs: Small, Miller and Robertson.
Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, Johnston (Campbell 74), McLeish, Smith, Durno, Florence, Stephen (Lawson 74), Fotheringham, Simpson, Gray, Warren (Laing 84). Unused sub: Duncan, gk.
Referee: Mr. S. McBurney, Broughty Ferry.
Final league match
Vics complete their league programme for the season with a home match against Brechin Vics tomorrow (Saturday). Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m.
Winners for the previous two weeks were:
£70 – No. 111, Kay Esslemont; £30 – No. 159, Peter Longmuir; £15 – No. 20, Craig Watson; £15 – No. 70, Willie Sturrock; £10 – No. 119, Lorraine Hodson; £10 – No. 135, Steve Dall; £5 – No. 99, Diane Christie; £5 – No. 71 Eddie Forbes.
McBookie.com East North League
P W D L F A Pts
Dundee V. 17 15 1 1 71 14 46
Montrose R. 18 13 3 2 47 13 42
Dundee NE 18 12 4 2 45 20 40
Arbroath V. 19 9 4 6 34 34 31
Kirrie Thistle 18 9 1 8 43 23 28
East Craigie 15 7 4 4 37 28 25
Brechin Vics 18 7 0 11 31 57 21
Lochee Harp 18 6 2 10 31 47 20
Blairgowrie 17 4 3 10 27 33 15
Forfar Albion 18 1 5 12 23 45 8
Coupar Ang. 18 0 1 17 20 96 1