Lochee Harp 1, Arbroath Vics 3
ARBROATH Vics travelled up the A92 to meet Lochee Harp in a league fixture at Beechwood Park on Saturday, looking for the three points that would still keep them in with a chance of promotion.
Manager Jake Ferrier made one change to the side that drew 0-0 with Dundee North End the previous week, with striker Craig Watson dropping down to the bench to accommodate the returning Paul Tosh in midfield.
Harp, despite being in the bottom half of the table, had won their last two league outings and were hoping to continue their recent upsurge in form.
On a bobbly surface, it was Vics who created the first chance when Craig Sturrock knocked the ball forward to Chris Simpson whose initial cross was blocked, but Mark Fotheringham managed to get hold of it and flick it on for Grant Mowatt, but his shot was straight at goalkeeper Darren Brown.
Soon after a long ball from Matty Johnston was fumbled by Brown just inside his area, but the ‘keeper manage to dribble the ball away from Simpson and make a run up the touchline before clearing the danger.
The first real foray from the home side saw John Rosscraig and Danny Martin combine to set up a chance for Brad Millar, but he scooped his shot high over from 20 yards.
Steven Williamson came closer for Harp a couple of minutes later when he let fly from distance and his shot flew just wide of Bob Duncan’s right-hand post.
M. Fotheringham then got in between Darren Brown and his defenders to get on the end of a Sturrock through ball, but he could only prod the ball along the six-yard line where it was hastily cleared before any of his colleagues could get on the end of it.
Four minutes later, Ross Kenny got down the right and picked out Simpson who knocked the ball down for Mowatt. The number seven flicked the ball into the box where Kenny had continued his run to fire a shot just over the bar.
The closest to a goal came at the other end when a Rosscraig corner looked to be overhit but it was turned back into the middle where Steven Fotheringham turned it goalwards, and Grant Mowatt, back helping his defence, dived to head it off the line.
Soon after, Martin flicked a Brown goal kick through Vics’ defence setting up Keir Reilly, but his first time shot was way off target.
At the other end, Kenny made ground down the right before crossing into the middle where M. Fotheringham set up Mowatt whose shot was flicked over the bar by Brown. From the resultant corner, Andy Cowan got his head to Mowatt’s cross but could only steer his effort wide of the far post.
Brown then kept Harp on level terms when he dived low to his right to push a M. Fotheringham shot behind for a corner.
With a couple of minutes of the half remaining, Vics got their noses in front. Kenny was impeded around 25 yards from goal and PAUL TOSH sent the resultant free kick in off the bar and the body of goalkeeper Darren Brown.
Half-time: Lochee Harp 0, Arbroath Vics 1.
Vics got off to the perfect start to the second period with a second goal within a couple of minutes of the restart. Mowatt played a quickly taken free kick to Tosh, whose shot was off target, but it fell into the path of KENNY who wasted little time in picking his spot beyond Brown from 15 yards.
Harp responded almost immediately, with Steven Williamson sending in a 25-yard free kick, which Duncan was relieved to see curl just over.
Mowatt and M. Fotheringham combined to set up a chance for Kenny who almost put Vics three ahead with a left-foot shot, which just dropped wide of the post.
Martin picked up the first yellow card of the afternoon in the 55th minute before Vics all but ensured the points would be heading back to Arbroath with a third goal a couple of minutes later. A corner kick looked to be going behind until Harp centre-half S. Fotheringham elected to keep it in play and when Tosh returned the ball into the six-yard box, GRANT MOWATT got a foot to it to steer the ball over the line.
Millar found his name in the referee’s book for dissent, before Vics made a double change when Garry Warren and Craig Stephen came on for Mowatt and Kenny.
No sooner had the change been made when Harp pulled a goal back. S. Fotheringham sent a free kick into the box, which Duncan came charging out to collect, but he failed to reach it and STEVEN WILLIAMSON looped a header in from 16 yards.
Garry Warren had a great chance to restore Vics’ three-goal advantage a couple of minutes later when he was sent through by Simpson, but with Stephen in support he elected to shoot and failed miserably to get anywhere near the target.
Pulling a goal back seemed to give Harp new life and Rosscraig sent a shot spinning wide from distance before Williamson took advantage of a mistake by Johnston to loft a shot over the bar as Duncan left his line.
With just under 15 minutes left, Harp replaced Martin with Lee Gallagher.
David McLeish put Vics back on the attack, making ground up the right before clipping over a cross, which caught the bar, before it was cleared away by the Harp defence.
Harp substitute Gallagher wasn’t too far off target with a dipping shot that cleared the bar after Reilly and Williamson had worked the opening for him.
Further changes saw Harp send on Kevin McIntosh for Mitchell and Vics withdraw Simpson for Craig Watson as the match moved into the final 10 minutes.
McLeish picked up a yellow card in the 85th minute for a rash challenge on Millar, but Harp were unable to make anything of the resultant free kick.
M. Fotheringham came close to adding a fourth for Vics in the 89th minute when he got on the end of a Stephen cross at the back post, only to see his header drop over.
In stoppage time, Watson was denied by Brown, the ‘keeper plunging low to his right to push his goal bound shot behind for a corner.
The outcome was never in doubt, once Vics took a three-goal lead and the win keeps them in fourth place and still in with a chance of claiming a promotion spot. However, with the top three also winning, it means Vics will likely have to not only win their remaining two games, but hope others results go in their favour also.
Lochee Harp: Brown, McHugh, Mitchell (McIntosh 83), Rae, Fotheringham, Millar, Reilly, Rosscraig, Williamson, Martin (Gallagher 77), Paterson. Unused substitutes: Christison, Scott and Turner.
Arbroath Vics: Duncan, McLeish, Sturrock, Cowan, Johnston, Florence, Mowatt (Warren 61), Fotheringham, Tosh, Kenny (Stephen 61), Simpson (Watson 83). Unused substitutes: Lawson and Campbell.
Referee: Mr. S. McBurney (Broughty Ferry).
Vics are out of town for their final away match of the season tomorrow (Saturday) when they travel to meet Forfar West End in the league. Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m. and players should meet at Ogilvy Park at 12.45 p.m.
Winners were: £10 – No. 67, Catriona Emslie; £5 - No. 148, Chris Farr.
McBookie.com East North League
P W D L F A Pts
Montrose 19 13 2 4 58 19 41
East Craigie 19 13 2 4 53 28 41
Dundee NE 19 12 3 4 55 22 39
Arb’th Vics 20 11 4 5 49 31 37
Downfield 19 10 2 7 50 36 32
Kirrie Thistle 15 9 4 2 42 20 31
Blairgowrie 20 9 2 9 39 33 29
Forfar WE* 15 11 0 4 38 26 27
Loc’ee Harp 17 4 2 11 22 42 14
Brechin Vics 21 3 1 17 31 68 10
Forfar Albion 17 2 1 14 22 73 7
C’par Angus 19 1 1 17 15 76 4
*Forfar WE deducted six points for playing unregistered players