Super Steve sends Arbroath Second with Injury time strike!
Arbroath 3 – 2 Elgin City
B. Prunty (54) B. Cameron (18)
S. Doris (56 & 90+1 Pen) C. McLeish (51)
J. Sukar (Sent off 69) T. Reilly (Sent off 73)
Match Report by Theo Kyriacou
Arbroath came from two goals down to win 3-2 in a highly entertaining and controversial match against Elgin City. A second half comeback from Arbroath was completed in added time of the second half when Steven Doris fired a penalty into the back of the net, to make it two wins in a row for Arbroath and to send them up to second in the table.
Arbroath made one change to the side that beat Forfar 1-0 last week. Gomes was in goal. The back four was made up of Gold at right-back, Sukar at left-back and Hamilton alongside Little at Centre-back. In midfield, Skelly was on the right wing, Linn on the left and Whatley played alongside McCord. Up front, Doris partnered Prunty, who came in for Scott.
Arbroath named seven substitutes: Michael Dunlop, Omar Kader, Liam Callaghan, Gary Phillips, Gavin Malin, Josh Thomson & Robbie Mutch.
Elgin started the game on the front foot. After some good play by Moore, he managed to get his cross into the box. His cross found Dodd but his shot was wide of the mark. Dodd then had another sighting of goal. This time it was McPhee’s cross that found him unmarked on the edge of the box. He managed to fake his man but his shot had no power in it and it was easily saved by Gomes.
Elgin kept on attacking Arbroath, who appeared to be unable to cope with their blistering pace, and after a good save from Gomes from McHardy’s long range effort, Elgin deservedly took the lead in the 18th minute. It was a goal of great quality and that is down to the interchange of passing between Cameron and Sutherland. Cameron played a one-two on the edge of the area with Sutherland, received Sutherland’s inch perfect pass and calmly slotted it under the legs of Gomes to give Elgin a 1-0 lead.
The goalkeeping exploits of both Gomes and Mutch have been terrific this season and if it wasn’t for a sensational save from Gomes, Arbroath would’ve been two down in quick succession. McLeish held up the ball well on the edge of the area and laid the ball off for the on-rushing Sutherland, whose curling effort was terrifically pushed onto the post by Gomes and cleared away by Gold. The ball looked destined to nestle in the bottom left-hand corner but somehow Gomes managed to claw it away.
This saved seemed to wake the Arbroath players up and they began to create chances. Whatley’s through ball set Doris through on goal but MacKay did well to come out and block the shot. Then Arbroath had a huge chance to equalise. Skelly launched a ball into Elgin’s box, which was headed down by McCord into the path of Prunty. However, Prunty’s shot went agonizingly wide of the far post and out for a goal kick.
It seemed as if both goal keepers were trying to out-do one another to see who could make the best save and MacKay, just like his opposite number, did just that. Linn played the ball to Doris, who held the ball up and played it into the path of Whatley, who was on the edge of the area. Whatley’s powerful deflected strike was magnificently pushed away by MacKay, who did extremely well to push the ball out to safety.
The final kick of the half saw Arbroath have another brilliant chance to equalise. Once again, Skelly’s cross fell to an unmarked McCord on the penalty spot. However, he somehow, from close range and with two attempts, failed to score and his shot was easily saved by MacKay.
Half Time – Arbroath 0-1 Elgin City
Arbroath started the second half well and had an almost immediate opportunity but Prunty headed Skelly’s cross just wide.
However, Arbroath were undone by another bit of brilliance from Elgin and this came in the form of a brilliant counter-attack. The ball was cleared from an Arbroath corner and Sutherland managed to knick in front of Sukar and send McLeish free on goal. McLeish raced through on goal and slotted the ball past Gomes to give Elgin a 2-0 lead.
But Elgin’s lead lasted little more than five minutes, as Arbroath scored two goals in as many minutes to draw level. The first goal came about after some terrific play by Linn. Linn beat Stewart and drilled a low cross into the box. MacKay managed to get a hand to it and push it away but Prunty was on hand to head the ball into an empty net and to make the score 2-1. Then Arbroath drew level and it was down to the brilliant work rate of Prunty. Prunty did really well to charge down McPhee’s clearance and he whipped in a superb ball into the box which Doris volleyed home to make the score 2-2.
The game though was disrupted by two harsh sending off’s by Referee Mike Roncone. First, Sukar was sent off after receiving a second yellow for his challenge on McLeish. It looked incredibly harsh on Sukar as he seemed to have won the ball. Elgin’s one man adavantage though didn’t last very long, as the referee made another harsh decision to send off Reilly, who received a second yellow. Reilly received the yellow for an apparent blocking of Skelly who had put the ball past him. However, it seemed incredibly harsh as Skelly seemed to go down after very little contact from Reilly.
Arbroath then made a substitution as Malin came on in place of McCord.
Elgin then won a free-kick in an extremely dangerous area, on the edge of the Arbroath area. Nicolson took it but his effort went wide of the goal. It was a poor effort as he really should’ve tested the goalkeeper from that position.
Gold then had a half-chance for Arbroath but he dragged his shot into the side-netting from an acute angle.
Kader came on in place of Prunty for Arbroath and Elgin made a change as Gunn came on for McLeish.
The game seemed to be flittering out for a draw but in the 90th minute Arbroath were awarded a penalty, when Hamilton was adjudged to have been barged to the ground by Stewart. The decision once again seemed incredibly harsh as Hamilton went to ground very easily. Doris though calmly fired the ball past MacKay from the spot to give Arbroath a 3-2 lead.
Reid then came on for McPhee for Elgin and Linn was replaced by Dunlop for Arbroath.
Full Time – Arbroath 3-2 Elgin City
Although Elgin have cause to feel aggrieved by some of the refereeing decisions in today’s game, Arbroath deservedly claimed the three points. Arbroath showed real tenacity and desire to come from two goals down to record a valuable win. Dick Campbell will no doubt be pleased with his team’s performance and he knows that a win at bottom of the table Cowdenbeath on Christmas Eve will keep his side second, going into the New Year. It was Arbroath’s last home game of the calendar year and what a cracker it turned out to be.