Arbroath Vics were back at home on Saturday when they entertained Lochore Welfare in the McBookie.com North Division.
Despite having won away at Kirrie Thistle the previous week, Vics were forced into making three changes to the starting line-up. Suspensions ruled out Jamie Thomson and Danny Ross, while Colin McNaught was forced to sit out having injured a hamstring in training.
That meant recalls to the starting 11 for Colin Lawson, Matthew Swan and Garry Warren.
The visitors settled first and almost took the lead in the third minute when Craig McGuire switched play out to Grant Laing wide on the right and his cross into the box picked out Lee Celentano whose bullet header looked netbound until Alex Cargill threw himself across his line to make a brilliant save; tipping the ball round the post.
The resultant corner saw the ball deflect across to the far side of the box where Craig McGuire got in a shot, which Kieran MacGregor blocked at the post.
Play quickly moved to the other end with the ball being hit into the Lochore half sending Kane Hester free but he blasted his shot on the run over the bar.
Lochore came close again in the eighth minute when Greig Renton sent a terrific pass through Vics’ defence to set Scott Penman up, but he crashed his shot off the bar as Alex Cargill advanced from his line to try and narrow the angle.
Vics began to settle down and an interchange of passes between Scott Donald and Garry Warren saw the former played into the box, but he failed to get any purchase behind his shot and it was easily blocked away by the Lochore defence.
The visitors then had strong claims for a penalty waved aside when a Bryan Donnelly free-kick struck the arm of Dale Riddell and looped up into the arms of Alex Cargill.
Lochore complained vociferously and were almost caught out when Alex Cargill launched the ball down the park sending Kane Hester away, but his opposite number, Gary Inglis, in the away goal was switched on and raced from his box to kick clear before the striker could reach.
In the 25th minute, Matthew Swan sent Kane Hester away and Gary Inglis did well to block his shot with Willie Campbell getting a touch to the loose ball to flick it away from goal. The clearance ran only as far as Scott Donald who fired it back in, but the keeper got his legs to the drive to send the ball looping up, and over, the bar.
Willie Campbell was then bailed out by Gary Inglis when he was short with a header back to his keeper who raced from his box to boot clear from Kane Hester before he could get a touch.
Lee Celentano found his name in the referee’s book for a bad tackle on Dale Riddell in the 33rd minute before Lochore found themselves down to 10 men three minutes later.
Kane Hester’s pace again caused problems for the visiting defence and when Callum Deas clipped his ankles as he tried to break into the box it left the referee with little option other than to show him the red card for a last man tackle. The away side made a positional change, with Scott Penman dropping back into the left-back area.
Grant Mowatt fired in the free-kick, but Gary Inglis came to Lochore’s rescue by throwing up a hand to block it away.
The visiting keeper was in inspired form and he again denied Kane Hester after he had been released by Dale Riddell before Scott Donald latched onto the rebound and made space for a shot, but dragged it wide of the target.
In the final minute of the half, Matthew Swan drilled a shot over the bar after Gary Inglis had punched a Grant Mowatt corner out of the danger area.
Half-time: Arbroath Vics 0 Lochore Welfare 0.
Vics were first to show after the break with Kieran MacGregor sending Kane Hester away where he released Grant Mowatt, but yet again, Gary Inglis made a fine save, blocking his shot with his feet.
Kane Hester then had a chance to give Vics the lead when he got on the end of a Garry Warren cross after Dale Riddell and Matthew Swan had worked the ball forward, but he angled his header wide of the post from 10 yards.
Garry Warren then came close with an angled drive, which just eluded the far post following a solo run, which had taken him into the box.
Craig Sturrock saw yellow in the 57th minute for lunging into Grant Laing, but despite that it was Vics who were dominating play, but finding it difficult to breach a stubborn Lochore defence.
A surging run from Grant Mowatt looked to have done the trick, but Willie Campbell threw himself at the ball to block it away and was quickly back on his feet to do likewise as Kane Hester fired in the rebound.
Four minutes later an incredible block inside the six yard box denied Vics the opening goal. Craig Sturrock sent the ball forward where Kane Hester took it up the left before rolling it into the path of Grant Mowatt. His shot beat the keeper but no fewer than three Lochore players threw themselves at the ball and it ricocheted away from goal.
Just when it looked as if Vics were to have no luck in front of goal they made the breakthrough with 10 minutes left. Craig Sturrock and Grant Mowatt looked to have wasted a free-kick on the edge of the box, but the ball found its way out to Matthew Swan who whipped a cross into area where KANE HESTER guided a header beyond the reach of the keeper, low down and just inside his right-hand post.
Willie Campbell found his name in the referee’s book for dissent before he was replaced soon after by John Cusick.
Vics too made a late change when Scott Donald was replaced by Josh Chalmers in the 84th minute.
Despite being behind, Lochore were unable to mount any serious challenge in an attempt to get back on level terms and Colin Lawson tested Gary Inglis with a low drive from distance which the keeper did well to get down and hold.
Grant Mowatt then fired a drive inches over the bar as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes.
Despite that, Vics were unable to add to their tally and seconds after the referee blew for time up, Scott Penman was lucky to only see yellow for a ridiculous challenge on Kane Hester after the whistle had sounded, which resulted in a few unpleasant exchanges as the teams left the field.
Despite their only being one goal in it, Vics dominated for the most part, with Lochore defending stubbornly for all but the first 10 minutes. Indeed, they had that and goalkeeper Gary Inglis to thank for keeping them in it until late in the game, before Vics got a deserved winner.
Arbroath Vics: Cargill, MacGregor, Sturrock, Riddell, Durno, Lawson, Mowatt, Swan, Donald (sub Chalmers 84 mins), Hester, Warren. Unused substitutes: Florence, Miller and Johnston.
Lochore Welfare: Inglis, Laing, Campbell (sub Cusick 82 mins, Deas, Vaughn, Scott Renton, Greig Renton, Donnelly, Celentano, McGuire, Penman. Unused substitute: Dair.
Referee: Mr. R. Milne.
Yellow cards: Vics - Craig Sturrock. Lochore -: Lee Celentano, Willie Campbell, Scott Penman. Red cards: Vics - None. Lochore - Callum Deas.
Vics are out of town this Saturday when they continue their league programme with an away match against Brechin Vics.
Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m.
McBookie.com East North League
P W D L F A Pts
Downfield 20 17 1 2 63 18 52
Kennoway Star Hearts 24 14 6 4 87 45 48
Blairgowrie 22 13 3 6 58 31 42
East Craigie 20 12 4 4 62 32 40
Brechin Vics 22 13 0 9 55 48 39
Thornton Hibs 19 10 4 5 63 37 34
Newburgh 22 10 3 9 43 39 33
Arbroath Vics 22 9 5 8 46 43 32
Luncarty 21 9 4 8 47 39 31
Lochee Harp 21 9 1 11 46 47 28
Scone Thistle 20 8 2 10 38 45 26
Lochore Welfare 20 5 2 13 35 66 17
Kirkcaldy YM 22 4 2 16 40 71 14
Kirrie Thistle 21 3 5 13 21 55 14
Forfar Albion 22 2 0 20 20 109 6