Forfar West End 3,
Arbroath Vics 1
ARBROATH Vics’ final away match of the season saw them travel to Strathmore Park to meet Forfar West End in the league on Saturday.
Needing a win to continue their promotion hopes, Vics brought fit again Lee Hutcheson back into goal in place of Bob Duncan, while top scorer Craig Watson was also given a start at the expense of Ross Kenny.
West End, with several games in hand, were also in need of the points to enhance their promotion bid having gone down to Kirrie Thistle in midweek.
The first attack came from the home side when Robbie Black crossed into the box from the left and there were half-hearted appeals for a penalty for handball as Graeme Hart tried to get in a diving header.
Soon after, Chris Simpson got up above a cluster of players in the West End box to get on the end of a Matty Johnston free kick but his header dropped over the bar.
Grant Mowatt found his name in the referee’s book for a trip on Gavin Tinley just outside the box, but David Taylor’s effort from the resultant free kick was headed clear by Steve Florence.
In the 15th minute however, West End opened the scoring. Tinley flicked on a James Mullen throw-in into the path of Darren Scott who in turn set up GRAEME HART and his low shot found the net off the body of Hutcheson and the post.
Within a minute, West End had doubled their advantage. A defensive mistake allowed Hart to play in DARREN SCOTT and he wasted no time in firing an angled drive beyond the reach of Hutcheson.
In the 28th minute, Fotheringham was booked for what appeared a two-footed tackle on the far touchline, which could have seen a red card on any other afternoon.
Two minutes later, Vics hauled themselves back into contention when McLeish and Fotheringham worked the ball out wide to CHRIS SIMPSON on the left and he cut inside before firing a blistering shot into the roof of the net, which was beyond Ben Peter before the ‘keeper had time to react.
Almost immediately, West End came close to restoring their two-goal advantage when Scott got away down the right and rolled the ball into the box for Tinley, but Hutcheson stuck out a foot to clear before the number 10 could get in a shot.
West End came forward again and a fine move involving Hart, Scott and Kevin Garrick saw the ball teed up for Scott whose shot was deflected into the side-net by Hutcheson diving low to his left.
Vics responded with Watson coming charging in to get on the end of a Mowatt corner, but his powerful header cleared the bar.
With half-time approaching, West End were forced to make a change when Mullen hobbled off and was replaced by Gary Bartlett.
Half-time: Forfar West End 2, Arbroath Vics 1.
Hutcheson was the first ‘keeper called into action in the second period, having to leave his line to dive and save at the feet of Mathew Ramsay after the ball had ricocheted into the box.
Despite that, Vics looked much more up for it this half and Watson had a great chance to equalise when he was sent through by Florence, but Peter managed to block his shot with his foot.
West End had a chance themselves in the 55th minute when Florence was penalised for tripping Hart just outside the box, but Taylor fired the free kick into the ‘wall’ and Black slashed the rebound high and wide.
On the hour mark, Vics passed up another chance to get back on level terms. Cowan did well to get the ball out wide to Mowatt on the right and when he cut into the box beyond a couple of defenders he looked certain to score, but Peter was able to dive and block his shot with his body.
Play became broken up for a spell with bookings administered to Garrick and Cowan before West End sent on Jonathan McBride for Hart.
McDonald then found his name in the referee’s book for dissent after Watson caught Peter as he tried to get on the end of a ball into the box.
Simpson was then yellow carded for dissent before both teams made a change, Vics sending on Ross Kenny for Watson and West End replacing Mathew Ramsay with Ruaridh Donaldson.
Vics kept pushing in search of an equaliser and a great cross into the box from Sturrock saw the ball spiral into the air as players challenged for it, but Peter kept his eye on it and claimed the ball on the six-yard line as it fell to ground.
With 15 minutes left Cowan was replaced by Garry Warren and he was immediately tripped by Bartlett, which earned the West End player a booking.
Vics came close to getting back on terms soon after when good play by Warren set up Kenny on the left and his angled drive beat Peter, but flew inches wide of the far post.
As Vics continued to pepper the West End goal, Peter did well to race form his line and punch a Warren corner off the head of Kenny in a packed penalty box.
It was Vics who looked the more likely to score and when a Simpson cross deflected across the box to Mowatt he clipped the ball back into the middle, but it was just a shade too high for Kenny and although he got on the end of it, his header dropped over the bar.
Sixty seconds later Sturrock sent a good ball out wide to Warren whose cross picked out Mowatt at the far post but again the header failed to find the target, the ball going over the bar.
Having been under the cosh for a lengthy spell in the second half, West End broke away to score a decisive third goal in the 86th minute. Scott got the better of Johnston on the left and played the ball inside to GAVIN TINLEY who sent a terrific shot from distance high into the corner of the net.
With little time left, there was no way back for Vics and although that ended the scoring the referee still had to add to his paperwork, noting the names of McLeish and Tinley before the final whistle.
The game was won and lost inside the first 15 minutes when West End took a two goal lead. Although Vics pulled a goal back before the interval and had West End on the ropes in the second period they just couldn’t get an equaliser and were made to pay when the Forfar side grabbed a third shortly before the close to end Vics’promotion hopes.
Forfar West End: Peter, Mullen (Bartlett 41), Black, Garrick, McDonald, Black, Scott, Taylor, Hart (McBride 63), Tinley, Ramsay (Donaldson 72). Unused substitutes: Cairney and Johnstone.
Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, McLeish, Sturrock, Cowan (Warren 75), Johnston, Florence, Mowatt, Fotheringham, Watson (Kenny 70), Tosh, Simpson. Unused substitutes: Stephen, Durno and Campbell.
Referee: Mr M. Ritchie (Arbroath).
With promotion now out of their reach, Vics complete their league programme for the season tomorrow (Saturday) with a home match against Montrose Roselea, who are still in with a chance of going up. Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m.
This week’s winners were: £10 – No. 60, Susan Emslie; £5 – No. 71 Eddie Forbes.
McBookie.com East North League
P W D L F A Pts
East Craigie 20 14 2 4 56 28 44
Montrose 19 13 2 4 58 19 41
Dundee NE 19 12 3 4 55 22 39
Kirrie Thistle 17 11 4 2 52 23 37
Arbroath Vics 21 11 4 6 50 34 37
Downfield 20 11 2 7 55 36 35
Blairgowrie 21 10 2 9 47 36 32
Forfar West End* 17 12 0 5 43 30 30
Lochee Harp 18 4 2 12 22 45 14
Brechin Vics 22 3 1 18 31 73 10
Forfar Albion 18 2 1 15 23 80 7
Coupar Angus 20 1 1 18 18 84 4
*Forfar WE deducted 6 points for playing unregistered players