Edinburgh City 3 – 3 Arbroath – Match Report
Match Day 8 – Ladbrokes League 2 – Season 2016 / 2017
Saturday 1st October 2016, Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh, 3.00pm kick off
The Lichties travelled down to the Capital on Saturday to face Edinburgh City for the first ever time in the league after City won the right for league status after defeating East Stirlingshire in the end of season pyramid play-off.
Arbroath have of course been to the Meadowbank Stadium in the past to face Meadowbank Thistle who left to become Livingston in 1995. The tall concrete main stand in the brutalist style of architecture, a direct throw back to the 1970’s when it was built for the Commonwealth Games.
It was a sweltering afternoon in Edinburgh, but the main stand drew a large chilly shadow over the running track as the teams emerged from the changing rooms from the far corner of the ground with Edinburgh in their home kit of black and white with the Lichties in their traditional all maroon kit.
Manager Dick Campbell made two changes to the starting line up with Jason Brown dropping out and Liam Callaghan dropping to the bench. This mean Robbie Mutch (GK) started in goal, with Mark Whatley (RB) dropping to right back, and Jassem Sukar (LB) continuing at left back, allowing Ricky Little (CB) and Colin Hamilton (CB) to continue their partnership that worked so well against Cowdenbeath.
Martin Scott (CM) dropped into midfield after starting as a striker last weekend to partner Ryan McCord (CM) with Omar Kader (RM) and Bobby Linn (LM) on the flanks with Bryan Prunty (ST) coming into the side to partner Josh Skelly (ST) up front.
Arbroath were again able to name a strong bench full of options with Steven Doris (ST), Kane Hester (ST), Gary Phillips (LB), Gavin Malin (CM), Liam Callaghan (RM), David Gold (CM) and Ricky Gomes (GK).
It was the Lichties who started the match as they attacked towards the old giant screen and to the left for those who were sitting high up in the main stand.
The home side made a bright start and won their first corner in the 2nd minute after Shaun Harrison tried his luck from 30 yards out from a free kick with Robbie Mutch being safe and pushing it round his post for the corner.
From the corner kick, the Citizens really should have taken the lead. The ball made it’s way to the far post after it was flicked over from a sea of bodies where it found Harrison who controlled the ball with his right foot before firing over the bar from close range.
Edinburgh were passing the ball about very well, and former Stirling Albion striker Craig Beattie was linking up well with the impressive Ousman See and a nice moved almost let in See but Mutch read the situation and grabbed the ball just as See went to shoot. It was a warning to Arbroath, and again they were given a let off when City captain Gair was sent through but only managed to pull his shot wide.
Despite the early advantage it was Arbroath who opened the scoring in the 8th minute when Bobby Linn caught out the Edinburgh defence with a quick free kick finding Skelly in the box who took a great touch before crossing the ball into the box where Omar Kader got in front of his marker to fire Arbroath into the lead.
Unfortunately the lead wasn’t to last more than 90 seconds. It was the inspirational passing and vision of Craig Beattie that carved open the Arbroath defence. The striker played a few passes on the left wing, before hitting a wonderful pass on the outside of his boot to John Dunn who found Mark Laird, who took a touch before firing a shot high into the top corner of the net in the 10th minute. A tidy finish for the former Tranmere Rovers player.
It was hard to believe City hadn’t won a game in the league as they passed the ball about with great skill and the pace of See was a constant threat for the Arbroath defence as was the skill of Beattie who almost sneaked a goal after a Scott header back towards goal was intercepted before Mutch could reach it but the ball thankfully was just wide of the open goal.
Colin Hamilton was shown the yellow card for a foul on See in the 22nd minute, which seemed a little harsh given it was his first offence in the match.
The Lichties did press though and were unlucky when Skelly broke down the right and played in Kader but his shot was saved by Stobie’s boot but as both Kader and Prunty raced for the bouncing ball, Stobie reacted quickly and grabbed the ball stopping the danger.
Ousman See despite performing well also was shown a yellow card for a foul on Mark Whatley right in front of the Arbroath bench.
Arbroath won a series of corner kicks on the half hour mark and had the ball in the back of the net after Bryan Prunty reacted quickest to a Martin Scott knock down from Linn’s corner, turning and smashing the ball past Stobie but the referee blew his whistle and instead gave City a free kick with Scott adjudged to have leapt over Laird to win the header.
Josh Skelly tried his luck from outside of the box with a free kick before a Linn shot was deflected and fell to Kader in the box but defender Christopher McKee managed to get to the ball and take some of Kader too as the ball went over the bar.
Half time – Edinburgh City 1 – 1 Arbroath
Arbroath won an early corner kick as the second half got under way but despite City clearing Linn’s cross, the ball fell to McCord and he again found Linn who hit a high looping cross into the box where Ricky Little rose highest beating Mbu to head the ball down onto the ground before it bounced high into the net to put Arbroath back into the lead in the 47th minute.
It didn’t take long for City to again equalise but the goal was controversial and resulted in some horrifying scenes which nobody every wishes to see on a football pitch.
Aaron Dunsmore was played into space where he hit a high cross into the Arbroath box, where Ousman See got in the middle of Little and Whatley and as Mutch leapt for the ball, See also jumped with his left arm in the air. As they players leapt, See’s elbow struck Mutch in the throat with the keeper falling to the ground in distress and dropping the ball in the process with See taking full advantage and tapping the ball home.
There was disbelief from both sets of players that referee Scott Millar gave the goal. As Edinburgh City celebrated, Mutch lay motionless with Craig Beattie reacting quickest and signalling for the medics. It was soon clear that Mutch was in heavy distress as both physio’s were joined by the paramedics and Doctor before the backboard was carried on and after a 5 minute period the young keeper was finally stretchered off the pitch into the Edinburgh City Ambulance before being transferred into another ambulance which took him to A&E.
Arbroath brought on Ricky Gomes for his first taste of action in the League as play finally restarted with the score all level again at 2-2.
There continued to be some odd decisions by all three officials with free kicks being given when no fouling having been committed and blatant handballs being ignored.
Chances were coming thick and fast for both sides as play raged from end to end, but neither team were showing much composure in front of goal.
Arbroath made their second substitution of the game in the 70th minute when Steven Doris came on for Bryan Prunty in attack.
Edinburgh City’s 3rd goal was full of controversy too, as the Lichties attacked Linn’s run was halted but as Harrison turned to push away the ball, it him on the arm which Skelly and Linn protested at, but Harrison hit a wonderful cross field pass finding See who was in acres of space, before he ran at the Arbroath goal hitting a shot which slid under the glove of Gomes to give City the lead in the 74th minute.
In the aftermath of the goal Arbroath’s goal keeping coach John Ritchie was sent to the stands by Referee Millar before City brought on Ross Allum for Craig Beattie.
It only took Arbroath 4 minutes to draw level. A sweeping corner kick from Skelly was cleared away to the edge of the box where McCord cleverly took a turn to evade Allum before his curling shot was blocked on the line as Doris hit the rebound, his shot was blocked as the City defence threw themselves at the ball before the ball finally spun over to Martin Scott who made no mistake and smashed the ball into the net in the 79th minute.
Arbroath’s miserable afternoon continued as Jassem Sukar was sent off. Sukar originally won a free kick after being pulled back by John Dunn, but as the referee blew for the City foul, Sukar continued on and clattered into Ian McFarland with a red card being flashed straight away by referee Millar. Tensions flared and words were exchanged by both sides before calm was restored.
Edinburgh made their second substitution with Mark McConnell replacing Mark Laird and Kane Hester came on for Josh Skelly as Arbroath pushed for the winning goal.
The Lichties did push and from a McCord free kick, Colin Hamilton headed the ball back into the box but both Ricky Little and Steven Doris attacked the same ball with Doris’s shot being saved.
With the game going deep into injury time due to the delay Shaun Harrison was booked for a foul on Omar Kader
As the game came to a close Arbroath almost snatched a win with the last kick of the ball. A wonderful corner kick by McCord found the head of Little and his header was going right for the bottom corner but Douglas Gair was standing on the post and he did his job as he jabbed the ball out for another Arbroath corner.
Full time – Edinburgh City 3 – 3 Arbroath
C’mon the Lichties!
Possession – Edinburgh City 41% – 59% Arbroath
Total Shots – Edinburgh City 13 – 8 Arbroath
On Target – Edinburgh City 6 – 6 Arbroath
Off Target – Edinburgh City 6 – 1 Arbroath
Blocked – Edinburgh City 1 – 1 Arbroath
Corners – Edinburgh City 3 – 13 Arbroath
Fouls Committed – Edinburgh City 13 – 13 Arbroath
1 – Andrew Stobie
2 – Aaron Dunsmore
21 – Joseph Mbu
4 – Shaun Harrison
5 – Mark Laird (McConnell 81)
6 – Christopher McKee
7 – Ian McFarland
8 – Douglas Gair(c)
9 – Craig Beattie (Allum 76)
10 – John Dunn
11 – Ousman See
12 – Mark McConnell – 5; 81st
14 – Gordon Donaldson
15 – Ryan Porteous
16 – Jordan Caddow
17 – Ross Allum – 9; 76th
18 – Ross Guthrie
20 – Calum Antell (GK)
Goals – Laird 10, See 53, 74
Yellow Cards – See 29, Harrison 86
1 – Robbie Mutch (Gomes 56)
2 – Mark Whatley (c)
3 – Jassem Sukar
4 – Ricky Little
5 – Colin Hamilton
6 – Martin Scott
7 – Omar Kader
8 – Ryan McCord
9 – Bryan Prunty (Doris 70)
10 – Josh Skelly (Hester 83)
11 – Bobby Linn
12 – Steven Doris – 9; 70th
14 – Kane Hester – 10; 83rd
15 – Gary Phillips
16 – Gavin Malin
17 – Liam Callaghan
18 – David Gold
21 – Ricky Gomes (GK) – 1; 56th
Goals – Kader 8, Little 47, Scott 79
Yellow Cards – Hamilton 22nd
Red Cards – Sukar 80th
Attendance – 495
Referee – Scott Millar
Assistant Referee 1 – Brian Templeton
Assistant Referee 2 – Jim Burns