Linn bags hat-trick in Eight-goal Thriller
Match report by Theo Kyriacou
Arbroath 5-3 Stirling Albion
J.Skelly (30) J.Sukar (33 og)
B.Linn (57,66 pen,71) B.Henderson (54)
O.Kader (77) E.Ferns (69)
Gayfield was the venue for an absolutely phenomenal match, as Arbroath beat Stirling Albion 5-3 in an end-to-end Eight-goal thriller. Attacking play was on display throughout the whole game and it was clear that both teams had a lot of fire-power in attack.
Arbroath, who came into the game on the back of a 1-0 win at Elgin, made two changes to the side that snatched 3 points thanks to a late goal by Josh Skelly last weekend. Robbie Mutch started in goal. The back-four was made up of Ricky Little at right-back, Gary Phillips at left-back and Jassem Sukar and Colin Hamilton at centre-back. Omar Kader replaced Liam Callaghan on the right-wing and Bobby Linn was on the left. Mark Whatley partnered David Gold in central midfield. Up front, the electric Josh Skelly partnered Steven Doris, who replaced Kane Hester.
Arbroath named 7 substitutes: Jason Brown, Liam Callaghan, Ryan McCord, Kane Hester, Bryan Prunty, Gavin Malin and Ricky Gomes.
The opening exchanges were quite scrappy, but the first real chance of the match fell to Doris. A delightful flick from Skelly split the defence and sent Doris through on goal. Doris managed to fire a cross into the box towards the on-rushing Linn at the back post but Linn blazed his shot way over the bar. Doris was then sent through on-goal again, but he fired his shot wide after taking the ball past the keeper. However, the angle was very tight for him there.
Stirling, who had started the game quite poorly, then had the ball in the back of the net, but it was disallowed by referee Graham Beaton. Hodges’ cross into the box evaded everyone and crept into the far right corner. However, the ref made a great decision as Henderson, although he never touched the ball, was offside and he was interfering with Mutch’s line of sight.
Stirling seemed to be fired up by the disallowed goal. D.Smith managed to get to the edge of the box and put a superb cross into the box. The ball fell to Henderson, who in failing with his overhead kick, passed the ball towards Layne who had a shot brilliantly saved by Mutch. Moments later, Hodge won the ball in Arbroath’s half and flashed a shot just over the bar.
However, Stirling were punished for missing those chances. In the 30th minute Kader won the ball deep into Stirling’s half. Kader played it through to Skelly who raced on to it and confidently chipped the ball over C.Smith to make it 1-0 Arbroath.
However, Arbroath’s lead lasted for only 3 minutes. D.Smith found himself in acres of space near the penalty box. His goalward shot took a wicked deflection off of Sukar and wrong-footed Mutch. Despite Mutch’s best efforts to keep the ball out, the ball trickled into the net to make the score 1-1.
Half-Time – Arbroath 1-1 Stirling Albion
The Second Half was a half that no one in Gayfield could have predicted.
Arbroath started very brightly. Doris had a great chance to score. Kader beat his man out wide and chipped a cross into the box towards Doris, who was standing on the penalty spot. Doris managed to steer a header goalwards but his effort was once again well-blocked by Stirling’s defence.
Stirling then took the lead in the 54th minute against the run of play. Hamilton completely missed a simple header and Henderson capitalised on his error to run through on goal, cut inside and calmly slotted the ball through Mutch’s legs to make it 2-1 to Stirling.
However, just like Arbroath, Stirling’s lead lasted 3 minutes. Doris out-jumped his man in the air and headed it to Skelly. Skelly then cut inside and crossed it to Linn at the back post, who volleyed it past C.Smith, to draw Arbroath level. 2-2.
The goal seemed to have completely transformed Linn and he was very unlucky not to grab his second minutes later. The ball was switched out-wide to Linn, who cut inside and had a shot cleared off the line by McMillan. Linn was very unfortunate there.
Jason Brown, who was making his home debut, came on to replace Phillips for Arbroath.
Arbroath, Linn especially, kept on pressing for a goal and they were awarded a very controversial penalty in the 66th minute. McMillan seemed to win the ball fairly from Skelly. However, referee Beaton deemed McMillan’s challenge as a foul and gave Arbroath a penalty. Linn stepped up and passed the ball down the middle of the net, past the helpless C.Smith to give Arbroath a 3-2 lead.
Stirling brought on Olanrewaju for Layne.
3 seemed to be a number of significance in the match as Arbroath, once again, conceded 3 minutes later. Olanrewaju, full of running after being brought on moments earlier, fired a ball to the back post. The ball reached D.Smith whose goal-bound volley was flicked in by Ferns to make it 3-3.
Moments later, Stirling had a huge chance to take the lead. D.Smith beat his man and crossed the ball towards Henderson who headed the ball towards goal. However, the ball clipped the post and went wide. How costly that missed proved to be. Arbroath immediately countered Stirling and scored. Skelly was played through one-on-one with the keeper. However, his shot was blocked, but the ball fell to Kader who played it to Linn. Linn then cut inside and fired the ball into the net to complete his hattrick and to send Arbroath 4-3 up.
Arbroath brought Hester and Prunty on for Doris and Skelly.
Hester had an immediate impact on the game. He received the ball out-wide and managed to beat his man, cut inside and play the ball to the on-rushing Kader who ran onto the ball and curled an unstoppable finish into the top corner leaving C.Smith with no chance. It was a stunning goal by Kader and Arbroath manager Dick Campbell was over-the-moon by it as he was jumping with joy on the pitch. Kader’s goal made it 5-3 to the Red Lichties.
Morrison came on to replace Ferns for Stirling.
Full-Time – Arbroath 5-3 Stirling Albion
Arbroath deservedly won 5-3 against Stirling Albion in an end-to-end game. Both teams showed a lot of attacking enterprise, but a lot of defensive weaknesses. Arbroath had a number of star performers today and Dick Campbell’s men showed great determination to come back from 2-1 down to win 5-3.
Man of the Match: Josh Skelly. The on-loan Dundee frontman scored his second goal in 2 games for Arbroath as well as getting an assist and winning a penalty. Skelly caused Stirling’s defence a lot of trouble with his direct running and he was a class act throughout the game.