Arbroath Vics 2, Forfar Albion 2
ARBROATH Vics were back on league business on Saturday with a home match against Forfar Albion.
With Kevin Durno and Ryan Owbridge both absent, Terry Gray made his first appearance since injuring his shoulder in September, while Garry Warren was promoted from the substitutes bench.
Forfar Albion, managed by ex-Vics coach, Derek Lawson also had Chris Cargill in goal, having been loaned out by Vics the previous week.
Vics almost found a way through inside the first 15 seconds when Craig Sturrock sent Warren racing up the left and his cross needed a timely interception from Sean Miller who was forced to turn it behind for a corner.
Albion broke forward themselves in the third minute and won a free-kick, which Scott Fullerton whipped into the box.
Lee Hutcheson could only palm the ball down and Warren, back helping his defence, did enough to clear the danger by heading the ball away.
At the other end, Craig Watson had a great chance to put Vics ahead when he rose highest inside the six-yard box to meet a Warren corner, but he sent his header over the bar.
Soon after, Craig Stephen intercepted a wayward pass from Gary Hamilton, but Cargill was quickly out of his area to boot the ball clear before he could take advantage.
The home side continued to push on and when Mark Fotheringham picked up a Stephen through ball and rolled it into the path of David McLeish, he sent a first-time drive flashing wide of the goal.
Hutcheson was almost caught out by Joe Tindal as he tried to kick clear and his attempt only went as far as Scott Fullerton who sent it back into the box, but Matty Johnston got back to head the ball behind for a corner.
In the 16th minute, Vics opened the scoring. McLeish swung over a cross from the right to the far post where Warren nodded it back across the face of goal for CRAIG WATSON to turn in from close range.
Former ASC player, Hamilton almost caught Vics out four minutes later with a quickly taken free-kick, which curled just wide with Hutcheson still trying to organise his wall.
Cargill prevented Albion from going further behind when he got enough on the ball to turn a Chris Simpson header round the post after Watson had nodded on a McLeish throw-in.
Albion were still dangerous when they came forward and they were denied by the crossbar in the 29th minute when Tindal got on the end of a Matthew Reynolds corner only to see his header strike the woodwork.
Johnston put Vics back on the attack, breaking up an Albion attack inside his own half and releasing Warren with a telling pass.
Warren in turn played it on for Watson and although Cargill came out of his box to kick clear, Simpson intercepted it and set up McLeish who whizzed a shot over the bar.
Vics still looked the more likely side and they doubled their advantage in the 39th minute.
Warren clipped a delightful ball over the head of Robbie Hood and into the box for WATSON who steered a first-time shot beyond the reach of Cargill.
Watson picked up a yellow card a minute later for a lunging tackle on Ian Plenderleith, which the referee took exception to.
Almost on the half-time whistle, Vics were awarded a penalty when McLeish was upended inside the box.
Watson was given the chance to complete his hat-trick from the spot, but his kick was saved by Cargill, who dived to his right to push it away.
Half-time: Arbroath Vics 2, Forfar Albion 0.
Albion got the second half off to the perfect start when they pulled a goal back within a couple of minutes leaving Vics to rue the penalty miss.
Reynolds broke free up the left and when the defence were unable to clear his cross, SCOTT FULLERTON crashed a volley into the back of the net.
At the other end, Sean Miller was forced to head a Stephen cross behind for a corner at the near post as Watson tried to get on the end of it.
Four minutes later, Simpson picked out Warren wide on the left and he cut into the box beyond Scott Black, but his cross was just too high for Watson and when the ball was headed out, McLeish, following up, shot wide.
Cargill then almost handed Vics a goal, when he allowed a long range drive from Watson to slip from his grasp and over his shoulder, but he recovered in time to prevent it from crossing the line.
Albion were far from out of it at this stage as they searched for an equaliser and when Mark McIntosh broke free on the right, Tindal came in at the far post to meet his cross, but could only head it wide of the post.
The danger signs were there for Vics and the visitors hauled themselves back on level terms in the 70th minute.
Hamilton crossed from the left and Reynolds fired off a shot, which was blocked, but the ball broke into the path of McINTOSH who drilled it into the net.
Before play resumed, Vics made a change, sending on Gary MacFarlane for Stephen.
As the home side’s frustrations grew, Craig Sturrock was yellow carded for dissent, before Albion replaced Fullerton with Robbie Small.
Vics then just managed to escape when a Reynolds free-kick saw Johnston’s header clear drop under his own bar and Hutcheson had to flap it away on the line.
With 10 minutes left a Warren corner caused confusion in the Albion defence as the ball bounced around the box but it wouldn’t sit down properly for Johnston who could only look on as his shot cleared the bar.
Cargill then made a good stop to deny Watson, getting his body behind the striker’s shot to save.
As Vics looked for a goal to put them back in front, Cargill made a great save to turn aside a thumping drive from Terry Gray at his near post.
From the flag-kick, Watson headed Warren’s cross goalwards only to see it cleared off the line.
From the clearance, Albion broke quickly and McIntosh carried the ball deep into Vics half before sending a shot across goal and just wide of the far post.
With four minutes left, Vics threw Danny McKenzie on up front and took off Simpson.
Cargill made another fine interception diving out towards his six-yard line to push away a dangerous Sturrock cross.
Deep into stoppage time, Terry Gray almost won it for Vics when he gathered in a McLeish throw and from a tight angle sent in an overhead kick, which struck the bar and dropped over.
Terry Gray injured himself in the process and was replaced by Colin Lawson but there was just time for the substitute to be allowed onto the pitch when the referee ended the match, signalling a disappointing afternoon for Vics who had to be content with a point after being in a seemingly commanding position at half-time.
Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, McLeish, Florence, Gray (Lawson 90), Johnston, Sturrock, Stephen (MacFarlane 70), Fotheringham, Simpson (McKenzie), Watson and Warren. Unused: Laing.
Forfar Albion: Cargill, Tindal, Miller, Stewart, Hood, Hamilton, Black, Plenderleith, Fullerton (Small 73), McIntosh and Reynolds. Unused: McLeish, Lawson and Miller.
Referee: Mr. K. Beats (Finavon).
Vics are out of town tomorrow (Saturday) when they travel north to meet Brechin Vics in the league. Kick-off is at 2 p.m. Players should meet at Ogilvy Park at 12.15 p.m.
Winners this week were: £10 – No.30 – H. MacKenzie and £5 – No. 84 – E. Simpson