Having been at home for the past three weeks, Arbroath Vics were out of town on Saturday when they travelled to Dundee to meet Downfield in a league match.
With Mark Fotheringham unavailable Colin Lawson came into the starting line-up, but otherwise it was the same 11 who drew with league leaders East Craigie the previous week. Danny Smith, recovered from injury, and David McLeish were back and given places on the substitutes’ bench.
Vics were first off the mark and had a great chance to score in the fifth minute when Kevin Durno sent Craig Watson racing through the Downfield defence, but goalkeeper Gary Thain stood his ground and blocked his shot away with his knees.
Downfield, however, were first to get on the score sheet when they struck in the seventh minute. The ball was worked upfield and along the 18 yard line for ROSS KIDDIE to drill a shot beyond Lee Hutcheson.
The lead was shortlived as within a minute Vics were back on level terms. Garry Warren sent over a corner and CRAIG WATSON outjumped the defence to power a header into the roof of the net.
Vics again broke forward with Matty Johnston carrying the ball down the right and crossing into the box, where Craig Watson missed his kick and the ball ran across to Garry Warren. He was penalised for pushing as his shot struck the hand of a Downfield defender.
Soon after, Gary Thain did well to pluck a Grant Mowatt corner off the head of Andy Cowan as Vics went in search of another goal.
Three minutes later, Lee Hutcheson picked out Garry Warren with a kick-out down the left and he drilled the ball across the face of goal, where Craig Watson, racing in, just failed to get on the end of it and the ball ran behind for a goal-kick.
At the other end, Scott Reynolds looked to be crowded out at the corner flag, but he managed to pull the ball back for Kevin Scott whose cross was flicked away by Lee Hutcheson from Gavin Hood, and Matty Johnston booted the ball away for a throw-in.
Despite that, Vics looked the more likely to score. Good play from Grant Mowatt created space for Colin Lawson to fire the ball across the face of goal, but it was flicked away and although Garry Warren fired it back in, his effort was blocked by Sean Reilly.
The former Vics player was injured making the block and was forced to limp off to be replaced by Nathan De Gernier.
Lee Hutcheson was forced into making his first worthwhile save in the 37th minute when Gavin Hood slipped the ball into the box for Ross Kiddie, but he was equal to the task, diving to save at the Downfield player’s feet.
Kevin Scott was yellow-carded a couple of minutes later when he prevented Grant Mowatt from taking a quick free-kick.
In the 40th minute, Matty Johnston fired a delightful cross along the face of goal, but there were no takers and the ball drifted out for a throw-in at the far side.
Having created the best chances of the half, Vics almost found themselves behind three minutes later when Lee Hutcheson hesitated coming off his line when Scott Reynolds crossed into the box and Kit Bremner got a touch, but the ball struck the ‘keeper on the chest and bounced away.
Half-time: Downfield 1 Arbroath Vics 1.
Downfield upped the pace from the start of the second half and a Scott Reynolds free-kick from just outside the box was charged down before being clipped back into the box where Chris Simpson was forced to head it behind for a corner.
Craig Sturrock then almost inadvertently turned a Scott Reynolds corner into his own net when trying to clear, but was fortunate to see it land in the arms of Lee Hutcheson on the line.
The home side almost grabbed a controversial goal soon after when a Scott Reynolds free-kick struck the referee and he played it again when it rebounded back to him, which should have resulted in a free-kick to Vics. The official didn’t notice and Ross Kiddie got on the end of his cross to fire in a shot which Lee Hutcheson smothered on the line.
Vics were giving away numerous free-kicks just outside their own area, but fortunately Downfield didn’t have their shooting boots on as most of them went high, wide and handsome.
Andy Cowan found his name in the referee’s book for pulling back Kevin Scott, before Downfield sent Andy Payne on for Ross Kiddie.
Downfield should have got their noses in front almost immediately when the substitute rolled the ball across the box for Scott Reynolds, but he contrived to send the ball into the side-net with only Lee Hutcheson to beat.
Yet another free-kick conceded in a dangerous area led to a booking for Craig Sturrock, but this time, although the shot was on target, Steve Florence blocked Scott Reynolds’ drive behind for a corner.
As play raged on, Nicky Deuchars was the next player to have his name noted when he hauled down Garry Warren.
Grant Mowatt almost worked his way in on goal when he jinked past several defenders, but his shot, just inside the box, was charged down by Ralph Henderson and Colin Lawson’s follow-up struck Nathan De Gernier and bounced out for a corner. The Downfield player appeared to sustain a bad injury in blocking the ball and had to be helped from the field, with Ally Vannet coming on.
Despite that, Vics were living dangerously and a Scott Reynolds corner led to a huge scramble inside the six-yard box, before Lee Hutcheson flopped on it to snub out the threat.
A minute later Andy Payne pulled the ball back for Gavin Hood to fire a shot across the face of goal and just wide of the far post.
Downfield continued to push Vics back and Lee Hutcheson did well to get a hand to a Scott Reynold free-kick to turn the ball away for a corner. From the flag-kick, yet another scramble inside the six-yard box saw Vics clear their lines by the skin of their teeth.
With 12 minutes left, Vics sent on David McLeish for Colin Lawson, but a minute later they were down to 10 men when Craig Sturrock picked up a second booking for clattering into Ally Vannet.
The home side had claims for a penalty waved away when a Scott Reynolds corner was nodded goalwards and chested off the line before it was eventually stabbed behind for a goal-kick.
Craig Watson was the next player to be yellow-carded when he voiced his displeasure at being caught offside.
Mark Ferrie had a glorious chance to head Downfield in front when he was left unmarked in the box but he sent his header from Scott Reynolds corner high over the bar.
The home side did have the ball in the net in the 88th minute when Kit Bremner bundled Lee Hutcheson over the line after he had held the ball under the bar, but it was clearly a foul and the referee was on hand to rule it out.
Just when it looked as if Vics had escaped with a point the home side grabbed the winner three minutes into time added on. Garry Warren looked to be fouled wide on the left, but the referee didn’t agree and instead awarded a foul to Downfield when Grant Mowatt committed a foul as the ball ran lose, which earned him a booking. The free-kick was hoisted long into the box where it was helped on for KEVIN SCOTT to apply the finishing touch.
That completed the scoring but there was still time for Scott Reynolds and David McLeish to have their names taken as Downfield saw out the additional minute.
After a promising start, Vics fell away badly in the second period, handing the initiative to Downfield and although they defended resolutely and looked to be hanging on for a draw, they were undone with almost the last kick as Downfield grabbed all three points.
Downfield: Thain, Reilly (De Gernier, Vannet) Henderson, Deuchars, Ferrie, Martin, Reynolds, Bremner, Scott, Kiddie (Payne), Hood. Unused substitutes: Ross and Tennant.
Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, Johnston, Sturrock, Cowan, Durno, Florence, Mowatt, Lawson (McLeish), Watson, Simpson, Warren. Unused substitutes: Smith and Duncan.
Referee: Mr. C. Fordyce (Dundee).
Due to Emirates Scottish Junior Cup replays this Saturday, Vics are without a fixture, but hope to arrange a friendly.
Winners this week were: £10 – No. 144 Steve Donald; £5 – No. 21 Craig Watson.