East Craigie 2, Arbroath Vics 1
Arbroath Vics made the short trip up the A92 to meet East Craigie in a league fixture on Saturday.
Manager Jake Ferrier made one change to the side that defeated Luncarty the previous week; Chris Simpson coming into the starting line-up at the expense of Kevin Durno who dropped down to the bench.
Colin Lawson returned, and he too was given a seat on the bench along with Owen Bryce who had been out with a knee injury since the early part of the season. Ross Kenny however missed out due to a knock.
Vics made a positive start with Craig Sturrock winning a corner inside the first minute, and when Grant Mowatt whipped the flag kick into the box, it just eluded the head of Craig Watson and flew wide at the far post.
A minute later, Craig Stephen drove down the right before firing a cross into the Craigie penalty area, where Watson got in a header, but he could only direct it into the arms of Calum Brodie.
In the sixth minute, Vics thought they had taken the lead when Watson nodded a Matty Johnston free kick down inside the six-yard box and Garry Warren reacted quickest to head it beyond Brodie, but a tight offside decision by the referee ruled it out.
East Craigie began to find their way into the game and Andy McDonald sent a free kick curling over the bar from a few yards outside the box.
Soon after, Lee Cameron sent a volley over, after a Ryan Welsh free kick had been partially cleared by Vics’ defence.
At the other end, Warren won the ball in midfield and played it off to Watson, but his shot from distance took a deflection and ran through to the ‘keeper, when he might have been better laying it off to Warren who had continued his run.
The home side replied with Zak Wilson getting on the end of a McDonald corner at the far post, but he could only direct his shot into the side net.
In the 34th minute, David Black clipped the ball into the box and Lee Hutcheson, coming off his line failed to gather it, and Paul Constable spun round to send a shot wide of the post.
A minute later, the home side opened the scoring. G. Welsh sent Ranald Bowie away up the right and when he whipped his cross along the six-yard line, G. Welsh, who had continued his run, just failed to connect. R. Welsh retrieved the ball at the far side and when he sent it back into the middle, his cross struck a Vics hand and the referee pointed to the spot. PAUL CONSTABLE took the kick and lashed it high beyond Hutcheson.
The home side was on top for the remainder of the half and increased their lead a minute before the whistle. G. Welsh crossed from the right and LIAM ROSS got in between Johnston and Hutcheson to guide a header into the net as it bounced up off the ground.
Half-time: East Craigie 2, Arbroath Vics 0.
Vics made a change at the start of the second half when Durno came on for Simpson. That resulted in the substitute moving to centre-half, Johnston to right-back and Stephen into the right hand side of midfield.
It was Vics who were first to show after the break when Abdourahman Njie and Craig Watson took the ball forward but when Njie crossed into the box, Warren sliced his shot wide.
Five minutes into the half, Vics had strong claims for a penalty waved away when Steve Florence played the ball into the box where Njie appeared to be pushed as he tried to get on the end of it, but the referee allowed play to continue as Brodie saved at his feet.
Constable had a great chance to add to Craigie’s lead two minutes later when he rose unchallenged inside Vics box to reach a G. Welsh free kick, but could only direct his header over the bar.
A good ball over the Craigie defence from Sturrock almost let Watson in, but he was unable to bring it under control and Brodie was out quickly to save at his feet.
A minute later, Durno got his head to a Warren corner, but his glancing effort was held on the line by the ‘keeper.
On the hour mark, David McLeish was yellow carded for taking out Wilson, while seconds later, Craigie sent on Kieran Small for Bowie.
Midway through the half, Vics came close to pulling a goal back when Stephen sent over a dangerous cross, which Warren fired goalwards and Njie turned it wide of the post from close range.
Vics’ perseverance eventually paid off in the 77th minute when Sturrock whipped over a cross from the right and CRAIG WATSON got above the defence to guide a header into the corner of the net.
Within a minute, Craigie came close to regaining their two goal advantage when Lee Cameron got the better of Steve Florence and curled a shot towards the far post, only for Hutcheson to pull off a great save, diving full length to tip it behind.
With 12 minutes left, Vics made their second change of the afternoon when Lawson came on for Johnston.
It was the home side who almost scored again when a throw-in found its way across to Cameron and he fired a shot on the run across the face of goal and wide of the far post.
Vics were forced into another change in the 81st minute when Watson picked up a knock and went off to be replaced by Jake McWalter.
Craigie looked comfortable in the remaining nine minutes plus time added on with Vics unable to fashion out a worthwhile chance as they searched in vain for an equaliser. Indeed, Constable should have put the result beyond doubt bang on 90 minutes when he burst into the box only to shoot wildly over the bar with only Hutcheson to beat.
After a fine win the previous week, Vics were a pale shadow of the team that saw off Luncarty and East Craigie did enough over the 90 minutes to merit the three points.
East Craigie: Brodie, Welsh, Welsh, Black, McDonald, Gray, Cameron, Constable, Ross, Wilson, Bowie (Small 61). Unused subs: Scrimgeour, Wilkie and Brown.
Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, Stephen, Sturrock, Simpson (Durno 46), Johnston (Lawson 78), Florence, Mowatt, Njie, Watson (McWalter 81), McLeish, Warren. Unused sub: Bryce.
Referee: Mr. S. McBurney (Dundee).
Vics are at home tomorrow (Saturday) when they play host to Newburgh in the league. Kick-off is at 2.30pm.
McBookie.com East North League
P W D L F A Pts
Dundee NE 28 22 4 2 105 30 70
Star Hearts 24 16 1 7 78 40 49
Blairgowrie 25 15 1 9 66 38 46
Newburgh 21 12 6 3 69 33 42
Forfar WE 23 13 2 8 67 37 41
Luncarty 22 13 1 8 65 42 40
Downfield 19 11 4 4 43 28 37
Arbroath Vics 25 10 5 10 60 63 35
Scone Thistle 23 10 2 11 49 62 32
East Craigie 23 10 1 12 53 42 31
Lochore Wel. 21 9 4 8 39 42 31
Thornton Hibs 21 9 3 9 59 45 30
Brechin Vics 25 7 2 16 28 56 23
Lochee Harp 24 5 4 15 48 66 19
Forfar Albion 28 4 0 24 33 122 12
Coupar Angus 20 0 0 20 11 127 0