Arbroath Vics 0, Dundee North End 2
HAVING lost away to Montrose Roselea the previous week, Arbroath Vics were back at home on Saturday when the North Division’s in-form side, Dundee North End, checked in on league business.
Manager Jake Ferrier was forced to make two changes to the starting line-up. With Gavin Norrie unavailable and Lee Jones suspended, Steven Florence slotted in to central defence alongside Kevin Durno, having been out injured for a few weeks, while Danny McKenzie was asked to partner Ryan Owbridge up front.
North End kicked off and were soon buzzing about Vics’ box, winning an early corner, which was subsequently cleared to ease the early pressure.
Once Vics settled down, Craig Anderson won the ball from George Grier on the half-way line and managed to push it forward for Owbridge. He in turned helped it on for Matty Johnston who played in Danny McKenzie, who cut in from the right and fired a shot just over the bar.
Despite that, North End might have taken the lead in the 10th minute. Darryl Gowans sent a throw-in down the left to George Grier who pulled the ball back into the box from the by-line where Craig Sturrock could only prod it into the path of Chris Glennie. With time and space to hit the target, the North End number seven hurried his shot and sent it wide of the post however.
A couple of minutes later, Gary Muckersie nodded a Kenneth McCulley cross down into the box, where Sean Kelly spun round to send a shot just wide as he was being policed by Kevin Durno.
At the other end, Craig Sturrock was upended as he made ground up the left and when Garry Warren delivered the free-kick into the box, Owbridge got on the end of it, but his header was straight into the arms of goalkeeper Chris Kelly.
Anderson received the first yellow card of the afternoon for chopping down Gary right in front of the North End technical area and he was joined soon after by Durno for dissent.
In the 30th minute, Sturrock did well to get his head to a Gowans cross to deflect the ball away from Scott McComiskie who was waiting to pounce inside the six-yard box.
The goal was only delayed for a further four minutes however as North End’s pressure eventually told. McComiskie gathered the ball in midfield and sent it out to Muckersie wide on the right and when his low cross arrived in the box, a step-over allowed it to run through for SEAN KELLY who saw his initial shot well saved by Steve Reid, but he gathered the rebound to finish the job at the second attempt.
Vics found themselves chasing the game but were given a chance to pull a goal back a minute before half-time when Chris Kelly seemed to forget the rules and picked the ball up outside his area earning a booking in the process. Gary Warren chipped the free kick in from the left-hand side of the box, but Michael Hoy headed it over his own bar for a corner, which brought the half to a conclusion once the flag kick was cleared.
Half-time: Arbroath Vics 0, Dundee North End 1.
Vics started more positively in the second period, winning an early corner. Anderson managed to work Warren’s kick, back to McKenzie from the far post but the striker’s shot went wide.
As Vics began to enjoy their best spell of the match, David McLeish turned a Warren corner back to the number 11 and when his second cross arrived in the box, it bounced in front of Anderson, who elected to head it instead of shooting and his effort flew straight into the arms of Chris Kelly.
Soon after, Muckersie held up a Chris Kelly clearance deep into Vics’ half before playing the ball wide to Sean Kelly. He in turn pulled it back for Hoy and his long range drive pulled out a good diving save from Reid.
North End still looked capable of adding to their lead and when Gowans flighted a pass over the defence, Sean Kelly was quickly on to it, but his angled drive flashed wide of the far post.
Midway through the half, Chris Glennie was yellow carded.
A Richardson throw caused a moment of hesitation in the North End defence and when Warren eventually turned the ball back across the face of goal from the by-line, there was no one in a black and white jersey to turn it in.
Soon after, Vics made their first change of the afternoon when Ryan Low replaced Owbridge.
As Vics prepared to take a corner, North End made their first change, sending on Paul Thomson for Sean Kelly. From the flag kick, Vics came the closest to finding the net all afternoon when Richardson got on the end of Warren’s cross only to see his header cleared off the line at the post with the ‘keeper beaten.
With 15 minutes left, Vics made a second change when Colin Lawson came on for Johnston as Vics attempted to seek an equaliser.
Within a minute, McKenzie stepped over a Richardson cross inside the box, allowing the ball to run through for Low, but the substitute scooped his shot over the bar.
It was almost game over for Vics six minutes later when McComiskie sprinted into the box and rounded Reid, but Stuart Richardson arrived from nowhere to clear his netbound shot off the line.
Before play restarted, McLeish was yellow carded for dissent and North End replaced Muckersie with Ronnie Valentine.
Having been on the pitch for only two minutes, RONNIE VALENTINE ensured the points would be heading back to Dundee when he got the break of the ball just inside the box following a Ross Browne throw-in to crack a shot beyond Reid in the 85th minute.
Jimmy Henry picked up a yellow card for disputing a hand ball decision just outside the box, but when Warren knocked the free kick over the bar, any hope of Vics salvaging anything from the match went with it.
The game petered out thereafter with two late substitutions breaking up the pattern of play, Browne being replaced by Martin Flynn and Vics replying likewise when Kevin Laing took over from Richardson.
Arbroath Vics: Reid, Richardson (Laing 89), Johnston (Lawson 75), Florence, Durno, Sturrock, McLeish, Anderson, Owbridge (Low 65), McKenzie, Warren. Unused subs: Gove and Duncan, gk.
Dundee North End: Kelly, Browne (Flynn 88), McCulley, Henry, Gowans, Hoy, Glennie, Grier, Muckersie (Valentine 83), Kelly (Thomson 72), McComiskie. Unused subs: Small, Al-Saffar, Nicholson and Fotheringham, gk.
Referee: Mr. K. Beats (Finavon).
Vics are again at home tomorrow (Saturday) when they play host to local rivals ASC in the league. Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m.
This week’s winners were: £10 – No. 81, Nicola McLean; £5 – No. 51, Garry Griffin.