Arbroath Vics 0, Dundee North End 3
HAVING lost narrowly to league leaders Dundee Violet the previous week, Arbroath Vics faced another difficult opponent on Saturday when third-placed Dundee North End arrived at Ogilvy Park for a league fixture.
Steve Florence was fit enough to resume in central defence where he was partnered by Ewan Graham at centre-half. Further changes saw Gary MacFarlane and Craig Stephen come into the starting line-up.
North End got the match under way, playing towards the St Vigeans end of the ground with a fierce wind at their backs.
With the elements in their favour it didn’t take the visitors long to put pressure on Vics’ defence with Michael Hoy releasing Davie Evans whose cross was blocked away for a corner by Florence. From the flag kick, Mark Deuchars’ cross appeared to be mis-hit, but it fell at the feet of Gary Muckersie who sent a shot past the post.
North End came close to opening the scoring in 10 minutes when Muckersie scooped the ball forward to Evans whose cross from the by-line saw Deuchars get above Stephen to head beyond Lee Hutcheson but McLeish was on the line to head the ball away.
However, it was Vics who came closest to breaking the deadlock in the 25th minute. McLeish sent Stephen away down the right and he whipped over a perfect cross which just eluded the diving header of Craig Watson and Chris Simpson, coming in behind, saw his shot beat the ‘keeper but bounce clear off the post.
Having survived that let off, North End took full advantage to open the scoring two minutes later. Michael Hoy sent the ball forward for DEUCHARS who got beyond Kevin Laing as he lost his footing to fire what appeared to be a mis-hit shot in at the near post.
Within six minutes, Vics were facing an uphill struggle when North End scored again. Muckersie, Deuchars and Hoy all combined to work the ball forward before it was slipped through to EVANS who sent a low shot beyond Hutcheson from around 15 yards.
Vics tried to get back into the game, but the nearest they came before the interval was when Stephen sent over a cross, which David O’Neill got to just before Watson to head behind for a corner.
Half-time: Arbroath Vics 0, Dundee North End 2.
With the wind now behind them, Vics set about reducing the deficit and a great ball out of defence from Ewan Graham allowed Watson to play Simpson into the box, but O’Neill had read the situation and snuffed out the danger by conceding a corner.
Vics, however, were almost caught on the break when a long throw-in from Gray was cleared downfield but Hoy failed to make the most of the opportunity by scuffing his shot wide of the post.
Another long throw by Gray had the North End defence in all sorts of bother as it bounced around the box before Stephen knocked it wide from close range.
In 61 minutes, Vics made a double substitution when Laing and Gary MacFarlane were replaced by Danny McKenzie and Garry Warren.
Vics continued to create chances and when Simpson played the ball across the box it just needed a touch to send it goalwards, but there was no one to apply the finishing touch and the ball ran wide of the far post.
Gavin Burns was then fortunate not to turn a Watson cross into his own net, the defender sticking out a leg to block the ball which spun inches wide and into the side-net. From the flag-kick, Watson should have reduced the deficit when he rose unchallenged to meet McLeish’s cross but powered his header over the bar from six yards.
North End made certain of the points when they broke quickly to score a third goal 20 minutes from the end. McComiskie sent Kyle Hutchison racing through the defence and he kept his composure to round Hutcheson before rolling the ball across the face of goal for MUCKERSIE to turn into the empty net.
With the points won, North End took the opportunity to send on Robert George for Hoy a couple of minutes later.
Vics tried to make inroads into the North End lead and passed up another chance in 77 minutes when a Warren cross led to a scramble inside the six-yard box, but Watson turned the ball over the bar when it broke into his path.
The visitors made another change in the 79th minute when Davie Evans was replaced by Abdouranman Njie.
A minute later, a smart save from Mark Fotheringham prevented Vics from getting on the scoresheet when he dived low to his left to turn away a Watson shot after the striker had chested down a McLeish cross and fired the ball goalwards.
North End appeared to be content to see out time and a third change saw Ally Taylor come on for Muckersie before McLeish found himself yellow carded for a foul.
Vics had one last chance in stoppage time, but Fotheringham again denied Watson, diving to block his shot, while Stephen’s effort from the rebound was cleared away by Darryl Gowans.
Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, McLeish, Laing (McKenzie 61), Florence, Graham, MacFarlane (Warren 61), Gray, Fotheringham, Watson, Simpson, Stephen. Unused substitutes: Lawson, Sturrock and Duncan, gk.
Dundee North End: Fotheringham, Stewart, Deuchars, O’Neill, Gowans, Burns, Hutchison, Hoy (George 72), Muckersie (Taylor 82), Evans (Njie 79), McComiskie. Unused substitutes: Glennie, Duncan, McNaughton and Lees, gk.
Referee: Mr. K. Schroeder.
Vics have another tough fixture tomorrow (Saturday) when second top Montrose Roselea are the visitors to Ogilvy Park for a league fixture. Kick-off is at 1.45 p.m.
McBookie.com East North League
P W D L F A Pts Dundee Violet 9 9 0 0 39 7 27 Montrose Roselea 10 8 1 1 32 6 25 Dundee North End 10 7 1 2 25 12 22 Arbroath Vics 10 5 2 3 21 17 17 Kirriemuir Thistle 10 5 1 4 20 14 16 East Craigie 9 3 3 3 20 19 12 Lochee Harp 10 3 1 6 21 34 10 Brechin Vics 9 3 0 6 15 34 9 Blairgowrie 9 1 3 5 16 22 6 Forfar Albion 10 0 4 6 12 26 4 Coupar Angus 8 0 0 8 11 41 0 160 Club
160 Club winners were: £10 - no. 11, Chris Simpson; £5 - no. 61, Lorraine Williams.