Arbroath Vics 3,
Thornton Hibs 3
Having lost heavily away to Luncarty, Arbroath Vics were hoping to get back on track when Thornton Hibs checked in to Ogilvy Park on Saturday.
Lee Hutcheson returned in goal replacing Jack Whitton, while Andy Cowan also came back into the starting line-up. Liam Campbell dropped down to the bench allowing Craig Sturrock to take his usual place at left-back, leaving a trialist, Ricki Gillespie from Arbroath CSC, to claim a place in the starting 11.
Vics had the ball in the Thornton net inside the first three minutes when Grant Mowatt placed it beyond Mark Rowbotham, but the referee had already blown for offside, and the ‘keeper made no attempt to prevent it from finding its destination.
The first direct shot the visitors had at goal saw them take the lead in the ninth minute. Andy Adam laid the ball off to GARRY THOMSON and he hit a screamer from distance, which Hutcheson got a touch to, but couldn’t prevent from finding the top corner of the net.
Three minutes later, Abdourahman Njie was fouled as he tried to make ground up the left and when Craig Sturrock touched the free kick back to Mowatt, his shot forced Rowbotham to dive low to his right-hand post to push the ball behind.
At the other end, Greg Low let fly from distance, hoping to emulate the feat of Thomson, but his shot was too central and was comfortably gathered by Hutcheson.
Vics might have got back on level terms in the 16th minute when Mowatt sent Colin Lawson through on goal, but Rowbotham came racing off his line to charge down the shot.
Four minutes later, a Ricki Gillespie cross found its way into the box where Sturrock picked it up, but he was forced onto his weaker right foot and then ‘keeper had little difficulty in keeping out his shot.
In the 27th minute, Hibs found themselves down to 10 men when Andy Adam was shown a straight red card for an off the ball incident that only the referee appeared to see.
Despite being a man down, Lee White almost increased Hibs lead when he broke through Vics defence and into the box, but lost his composure when left with only Hutcheson to beat, by firing high over the bar.
Gillespie found himself yellow carded for a high tackle on Ian Main before a solo run from Aidan Gordon took him to within shooting distance inside the box, but Kevin Durno slid in to nick the ball off his toes at the expense of a corner.
Despite playing against 10 men, Vics found themselves 2-0 down in the 38th minute. Gordon picked out THOMSON with a cut-back from the left and the number 11 bagged his second goal of the afternoon with a low drive beyond Hutcheson.
Vics upped their game in an attempt to get back into the match and when Sturrock nodded a Mowatt corner back into the box, Fotheringham touched it back to Durno whose shot took a deflection, but it helped take the pace off the ball and Rowbotham was able to smother it on the line.
Soon after, another Mowatt corner saw Fotheringham get in a free header, but his effort dropped over the bar.
With virtually the last kick of the half, Vics gave themselves a lifeline when they halved the deficit. Sturrock played the ball up to FOTHERINGHAM who played a one-two on the edge of the box before striding into the area to drive a shot high into the roof of the net.
Half-time: Arbroath Vics 1, Thornton Hibs 2.
Thornton Hibs made a change at the start of the second-half when Daniel McNab came on for White.
Within a couple of minutes of the re-start, Vics were back on level terms. Sturrock sent over a free-kick from the left, which landed at the feet of MOWATT at the far side of the box, and his shot found the net despite a valiant attempt by one of the Hibs defenders to clear off the line.
Vics were caught sleeping two minutes later, however, when the away side edged back in front. There seemed little danger when Hibs were awarded a free kick 25 yards or so outside the box, but DRUMMOND took it quickly as Vics were trying to organise their wall and the full-back’s shot zipped low into the net with Hutcheson unable to get anywhere near it.
A minute later, Matty Johnston sent over a cross from the right touchline and Mowatt threw himself headlong to try and get a touch inside the box, but he just failed to reach and it flew behind for a goal kick.
Rowbotham then prevented Vics from levelling the match when he dived at the feet of Njie as the striker tried to get beyond him a yard inside the box.
In the 59th minute, Vics hauled themselves back level at 3-3 from the penalty spot. Sturrock sent over a cross from the left and as the ball bounced around the area, Andy Cowan was brought down. NJIE took the kick, and made no mistake, sending the ‘keeper the wrong way.
Vics made a change on the restart when Ross Kenny took the place of Mowatt.
There then followed a spate of bookings with Colin Mullen, Andy Cowan and Daniel McNab all being yellow carded in separate incidents before Hibs replaced Colin Mullen with Chris Ireland.
Hibs almost sneaked back in front in the 73rd minute when Ian Main swung in a free-kick from the left touchline, which was missed by everyone and Hutcheson was called upon to dive a cross his line to claw it away with Sturrock competing the clearance.
Vics made a double change minutes later when Gillespie and Lawson were replaced by Jake McWalter and Liam Campbell.
As Vics pushed on, Rowbotham looked to have misjudged a long ball forward as he came racing out of his area, but he did well to head away from Njie when it looked as if the striker would get there first.
Johnston was yellow carded for taking out Gordon; a tackle which was sailing close to being a red card.
Liam Campbell tested Rowbotham with a long range drive, which the keeper did well to dive and save as Vics attempted to break the deadlock.
Njie then had a chance to put Vics ahead when he was played into the box, but he delayed his shot and when he eventually got it away, Rowbotham was able to flop on it.
In the 86th minute, Fotheringham was booked for a foul on Thomson.
A minute later, Hibs found themselves down to nine men when McNab was red carded for another off the ball incident seen by the referee.
Ross Kenny was the next to be yellow carded, having his name noted for dissent following an offside decision.
With seconds remaining, the nine men of Thornton almost snatched a winner when Chris Ireland teed up Main whose shot took a deflection and spun inches wide of Hutcheson’s left-hand post.
It is difficult to judge whether Vics will look on this as a point gained or two lost. At 2-0 down, they did well to get back on level terms before going behind again and then squaring the match at 3-3. Playing against 10 men for over an hour, Vics made most of the forward running particularly in the last half hour but couldn’t get a winner and almost got caught out at the end when Hibs were down to nine men.
Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, Johnston, Sturrock, Lawson (McWalter 74), Durno, Florence, Mowatt (Kenny 60), Fotheringham, Njie, Cowan, Gillespie (Campbell 74).
Thornton Hibs: Rowbotham, Main, Drummond, Adam, Shanks, McGowan, Gordon, Low, White (McNab 46), Mullen (Ireland 71), Thomson. Unused subs: Clark, Campbell and Snoddy.
Referee: Mr. G. Soutar (Montrose).
Vics last match of 2013 is away to Blairgowrie in the league. Kick-off is at the earlier time of 1.30 p.m. and transport leaves Ogilvy Park at 11.30 a.m.
Winners this week were: £10 – No. 72, Ian Wilson; £5 – No. 34, Lorraine Duncan.
McBookie.com East North League
P W D L F A Pts
Dundee NE 15 11 3 1 62 17 36
Luncarty 15 10 1 4 52 25 31
Star Hearts 14 9 1 4 53 25 28
Newburgh 12 7 4 1 48 19 25
Blairgowrie 14 8 1 5 45 24 25
Downfield 13 7 4 2 31 21 25
Lochore Welfare 15 7 3 5 34 32 24
Forfar West End 14 7 2 5 37 28 23
East Craigie 16 7 1 8 42 32 22
Arbroath Vics 15 6 4 5 35 37 22
Thornton Hibs 15 6 2 7 47 35 20
Lochee Harp 14 5 2 7 37 33 17
Scone Thistle 16 5 2 9 32 49 17
Forfar Albion 16 4 0 12 23 81 12
Brechin Vics 15 2 2 11 13 40 8
Coupar Angus 15 0 0 15 10 103 0