FOLLowING the disappointment of losing out to Kirrie Thistle in the semi-final of the D.J Laing League Cup the previous week, Arbroath Vics were back on league business as the guests of Forfar Albion on Saturday.
Ryan Owbridge and Liam Campbell both returned to the starting line-up replacing Craig Watson and Chris Simpson, while David McLeish was fit enough to take a place on the bench.
Forfar Albion made many changes to the side that lost 5-0 to Vics in the League Cup last month, with ex-Vics player, Danny Brown in the centre of defence.
Albion started quite brightly and a promising build up in the first few minutes allowed Chris Paton to fire in a shot from distance, but it went high over the bar without troubling Lee Hutcheson.
However, Vics gradually settled down and took the lead in the 10th minute.
Garry Warren picked up a Mark Fotheringham throw-in and ran towards the heart of the Albion defence where he was impeded just a couple of yards outside the box.
Despite the home side organising a defensive wall, they were unable to prevent CAMPBELL from curling a low shot beyond it and inside the keeper’s right hand post.
The home side responded by forcing a corner, which Steve Florence cleared away from inside the box before Matthew Reynolds and Michael Duncan worked an opening, but Reynolds’ shot was weak and straight at Hutcheson.
At the other end, good play from Grant Mowatt allowed him to set up Owbridge, but goalkeeper Gavin Campbell did well to dive and push the striker’s shot for a corner.
In the 19th minute, Vics almost increased their lead when Florence played the ball out of defence to Warren who released Owbridge.
The striker’s route to goal was helped when Campbell collided with one of his own defenders, but from a tight angle his shot was cleared off the line with the ‘keeper lying prostrate on the ground.
Albion were making more of a game of it than they had in the previous encounter and a good move involving Sirghie Ovidiu and Reynolds allowed Duncan a shot at goal, but again it had little power and was comfortably gathered by Hutcheson.
Vics responded with Mowatt hitting a good ball through the Albion defence for Warren, but his shot on the run was partially blocked; enough for Gavin Cargill to be able to dive and push it away.
A couple of minutes later, Hutcheson was asked to make his first worthwhile save of the match when he smothered a low shot from Ovidiu.
A fine Vics move up the left involving Fotheringham, Warren and Craig Sturrock saw the latter whip a cross into the box, which Mowatt fired over the bar.
In the 43rd minute, Fotheringham got his head to a Campbell corner to direct the ball goalwards, but the ‘keeper got a hand to it, to flick it over the bar.
Half-time: Forfar Albion 0, Arbroath Vics 1.
Albion had the first attempt of the second half when Dobrin Mihaylov surged forward from inside his own half to set up Reynolds, but Matty Johnston came across to clear away the danger.
Vics were then almost caught out when a quick free-kick allowed Paton a shooting opportunity, but Florence got enough on his effort to send the ball looping over the bar.
On the hour mark, Albion replaced Mihaylov with Scott Bruce, while a couple of minutes later, Vics sent on Watson for Owbridge.
And no sooner had WATSON entered the field when he increased Vics’ lead with his first touch, turning a Fotheringham header back across goal after Danny Smith had flighted the ball into the box.
Watson might have added another in the 68th minute when he rose high above the Albion defence to reach a Sturrock cross, but he directed his header over the bar.
However WATSON made amends two minutes later, when he dived full length to bullet a header beyond Cargill from a Garry Warren corner.
Albion kept plugging away and pulled a goal back in the 87th minute.
A slack pass from Kevin Laing was picked up by Reynolds who played in BRUCE and the substitute fired an unstoppable 25-yard drive high beyond Lee Hutcheson.
Once the second goal went in, Vics never looked in danger of losing, but Albion made a much better contest of it than they had in the League Cup tie a few weeks ago.
Forfar Albion: Cargill, Mitchell, Reid, Brown, Ferrar, Ovidiu, Paton (Anderson 71), Reynolds, Mihaylov (Bruce 60), Duncan (Hampton 80) and McIntosh. Not used McLeish and Brough.
Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, Johnston, Sturrock, Lawson (McLeish 65), Smith (Laing 72), Florence, Mowatt, Fotheringham, Owbridge (Watson 62), Campbell and Warren.
Referee: Mr N. Fraser (Dundee).
Vics are at home tomorrow (Saturday) when they play host to Kelty Hearts of the East Region Super League in the first round of the Emirates Scottish Junior Cup. Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m.