Arbroath Vics 1, Kirrie Thistle 1 .
Arbroath Vics were back at home on Saturday when they entertained Kirrie Thistle in the McBookie.com North Division.
Despite having won away at Kirkcaldy the previous week, Vics made a couple of changes to the starting line-up, with Kevin Durno and Mark Fotheringham both recalled at the expense of Kieran MacGregor and Josh Chalmers.
The match was slow to get going and it was nearing the 10th minute before the first shot at goal came along, David Sturrock sending a nineteen yard drive wide after Mark Fotheringham had turned a Dale Riddell throw-in back into his path.
At the other end, Marc Ogg picked out Garry Muckersie who sent the ball out wide to David Millar on the right and he pulled it back for Craig Robb to swing over a dangerous cross, which Alex Cargill had to dive out and punch away.
Craig Watson then had a couple of chances from free-kicks into the box within a few minutes, but on both occasions he failed to get sufficient purchase on his headers and Scott Knox in the Thistle goal was able to claim them comfortably.
Mark Fotheringham and Garry Warren combined to send Craig Watson through in the 20th minute, but Scot Knox stood up to block the shot with his body, although it would not have counted in any case as the referee blew for offside.
Kane Hester then did well to bring a Craig Sturrock pass down on his chest before firing in a shot, which Scott Knox did well to usher round the post with his legs.
Kirrie replied with Garry Muckersie sending a 25-yard free-kick dipping just over the bar following a foul by David Sturrock.
It was Vics however who broke the deadlock in the 26th minute. JAMIE THOMSON seized on a loose ball around 25 yards from goal and his instinctive shot left Scott Knox helpless as it clipped the post on its way into the net.
The lead only lasted a couple of minutes however before Kirrie were back on level terms. Robbie George switched the ball out wide to David Millar on the right and his cross into the box picked out the run of GARRY MUCKERSIE who bulleted a header into the roof of the net.
The goal seemed to unsettle Vics for a while and the names of Kevin Durno, David Sturrock and Jamie Thomson were entered into the referee’s notebook in quick succession.
Vics almost edged back in front in the 40th minute when Kane Hester played the ball through the Kirrie defence as the referee played advantage when he was fouled and Craig Watson ran on to fire in a shot, which Scott Knox did well to block.
A minute later, Kane Hester found himself in the dressing room when he received a straight red card for lunging into a tackle on the touchline, leaving Vics down to 10 men.
Before the referee had time to bring the half to a close, Shaun Conway was yellow carded for a late tackle on David Sturrock.
Half-time: Arbroath Vics 1 Kirrie Thistle 1
Vics made a double substitution at the start of the second half with Colin Lawson and Liam Scott coming on at the expense of David Sturrock and Jamie Thomson.
Garry Warren almost gave Vics the perfect start to the second half when he got free down the left and cut along the by-line before playing the ball into middle for Craig Watson, but the striker was crowded out before he could get his shot away. A mistake by Shaun Conway, losing the ball midway inside his own half, allowed Garry Warren to play Mark Fotheringham in, but his shot was pushed away by Scott Knox before being thumped away by Aaron Bradford.
Kirrie were quick to respond when Robbie George and David Millar worked the ball out wide to Marc Ogg on the right and his cross required Alex Cargill to push it away from Jon McBride who was coming in at the back post.
In the 55th minute, Dale Riddell played the ball deep into the Kirrie half for Craig Watson who held it up long enough for Liam Scott to get away a shot, but his effort was deflected and spun behind for a corner.
A couple of minutes later, Craig Watson headed on an Alex Cargill clearance to set up Liam Scott, but he elected to pass to Garry Warren instead of shooting and although the number 11 did get a shot on target, Scott Knox dived to push it round the post for a corner.
Midway through the half, Marc Ogg was yellow carded for a foul on Garry Warren.
Soon after, only a timely intervention from Craig Sturrock, sliding in to nick the ball off the toes of David Millar prevented him from getting a shot at goal inside the box and Jon McBride fired the loose ball just wide of the post.
Despite that Vics looked the more likely in the second period even though they were down to 10 men and they forced a succession of corners before Scott Knox claimed the ball to relieve the pressure.
In the 72nd minute, Vics made their third change of the afternoon when Matty Johnston came on for Dale Riddell, while at the same time Kirrie made a double substitution, replacing Marc Ogg and David Massie with Ryan Smith and Ross Sievwright.
Within three minutes of his introduction, Ross Sievwright was played in by David Millar, but with Vics appealing for offside; he blazed his shot on the angle over the bar.
Garry Warren had an even better chance for Vics when Craig Watson headed on an Alex Cargill clearance, but on his weaker right foot he shot tamely at keeper Scott Knox.
Having only been on the park for only six minutes, Ryan Smith was soon trooping off, being red carded for stamping on Steve Florence long after the defender had cleared his lines, leaving the teams to see out the remaining time 10 v 10.
It was Vics who finished the stronger and after Craig Watson saw a shot squeezed just wide, he thought he had grabbed the winner in the 85th minute when he headed a Garry Warren cross beyond the reach of Scott Knox only to see Aaron Bradford make an acrobatic clearance off the line.
In the 86th minute, Kirrie replaced David Millar with Steven Barclay, but in the remaining four minutes neither keeper was troubled although the referee was forced to produce his yellow card twice following misdemeanors by Garry Warren and Craig Robb.
After a fairly nondescript first half, Vics looked the more likely team to go on and win after the interval, despite being down to 10 men, but they failed to stick away one of the chances they created and had to settle for just a point at the end of the 90 minutes.
Arbroath Vics: Cargill, Riddell (Johnston 72), Sturrock, Thomson (Lawson 46), Durno, Florence, Sturrock (Scott 46), Fotheringham, Watson, Hester, Warren. Unused subs: Chalmers, Donald. Referee: Mr. W. Ferguson (Forfar). Yellow cards: Durno, Sturrock, Thomson, Warren. Red cards: Hester.
The Scottish Junior Cup takes centre stage this Saturday having received a bye in the first round, Vics head north to meet Montrose Roselea in the Preliminary Round of the GA Engineering Cup. Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m. and players should meet at Ogilvy Park at 12.45 p.m.
P W D L F A Pt
Downfield 6 5 0 1 20 7 15
Thornton Hibs 6 4 2 0 26 12 14
Blairgowrie 7 4 1 1 18 10 13
Luncarty 6 4 1 1 17 9 13
Newburgh 7 4 1 2 13 10 13
Brechin Vics 6 4 0 2 22 14 12
East Craigie 7 3 1 3 20 16 10
Kirrie Thistle 7 2 3 2 14 14 9
Scone Thistle 7 3 0 4 13 16 9
Kennoway Star Hearts 7 2 2 3 21 20 8
Arbroath Vics 7 2 2 3 13 17 8
Lochee Harp 6 2 0 4 12 14 6
Kirkcaldy YM 6 2 0 4 11 20 6
Lochore Welfare 7 1 1 5 13 29 4
Forfar Albion 7 0 0 7 7 32 0