Arbroath 3-2 Elgin City
R. McCord (38,63,80) J. Reid (58, Sent off 68)
J. Sukar (86 OG)
Hat-trick hero McCord sends Arbroath top of the League!
Match report by Theo Kyriacou
Arbroath claimed all three points in an action-packed game against Elgin City at Gayfield. A marvellous display by Ryan McCord helped the Red Lichties to claim a well deserved win. The result means that, as Forfar drew away at bottom of the table Cowdenbeath 1-1, Arbroath now lead the Ladbrokes SPFL League 2 by a point with one game remaining.
Dick Campbell named an unchanged side to the one that recorded a 2-1 victory away at Cowdenbeath last week. Gomes remained in goal. The back-four was made up of the impressive Gold at right-back, Hodge at left-back and Little partnered Hamilton in central defence. In midfield, McCord and Linn were on the right and left wings respectively and Smyth played alongside Whatley in central midfield. Up front, Scott partnered Doris.
Arbroath named seven substitutes: Bryan Prunty, Omar Kader, Jassem Sukar, Gavin Malin, Eddie Ferns, Donald McCallum and Rab Douglas.
Both sides started the game very brightly with the home side creating the first half-chance of the match. McCord delivered a brilliant corner into the box which was begging to be touched in. However, the ball went right across the face of the goal and the chance went begging.
Elgin are a side renowned for the attractive football that they play and it was easy to see why. McPhee, who was a constant threat to Arbroath all game, managed to take the ball past McCord and Gold and advanced towards the goal. McPhee squared the ball to McLeish on the edge of the penalty box however, from an acute angle, his shot hit the side-netting.
McCord’s performance was as near a 10/10 as you will ever see and once again his delivery from a set-piece was causing the visitors all sorts of problems. This time though, Hamilton couldn’t scramble the ball into the net and the ball was cleared.
Arbroath were gradually starting to control the game and Waters was forced into making a good save from Hodge’s low-drive. Hamilton then headed wide from another glorious corner from Waters, a chance in which the defender should’ve done better with.
A set-piece was looking likely to be the key to breaking the deadlock and Elgin really should’ve taken the lead but somehow McPhee’s corner was not turned into the net from close range by McLeish. The striker had the whole of the goal to aim at but struck it right at the keeper.
Arbroath though did break the deadlock from a free-kick and it was no real surprise who scored it. McCord is a very technically gifted player and he showed that once again by firing the ball into the bottom right-hand corner from the edge of the box, giving Elgin keeper Waters no chance, to make it 1-0 Arbroath.
Half Time – Arbroath 1-0 Elgin City
If you thought the First Half was good the Second Half was even better.
Arbroath had the first effort on goal in the second half but Whatley’s effort was easily saved by Waters.
However, Elgin levelled the scoring thanks to a moment of absolute brilliance by Reid. The ex-Arbroath forward volleyed in McHardy’s knock-down from the edge of the area into the top right-hand corner of the net. It was an absolutely sensational strike from Reid who was booked for his excessive celebration.
Elgin’s lead, however, only lasted for five minutes. Hodge clipped a ball into the penalty area where McCord, who had sprung the offside trap, was waiting to clip the ball past Waters and to make it 2-1. The Elgin players were appealing for offside but, regardless of that, the defending was awful from the visitors there.
Things then got even worse for the visitors when Reid went from Hero to Zero after receiving his marching orders for a second yellow after showing dissent towards the referee.
Elgin responded by making a double substitution as Gunn and Sutherland replaced McLeish and Brownlie.
Elgin were up against it being a man down and Waters was required to make a good save from Linn’s curling effort.
Elgin then made their third and final substitution as Dodd replaced Reilly. Incidentally, Reilly deserves an award for moaning the whole game when half the time it was his own fault.
Ryan McCord was by far the best player on the pitch today but it didn’t look like he would get his hat-trick after spurning two golden chances. McCord fired wide from close range after good play by Hodge and then saw his shot well-saved by Waters. However, McCord eventually did score his third and it was all down to the sensational Gold. He beat his man and fired an exquisite ball right across the face of the goal which McCord, from close range, tucked home to make it 3-1.
Arbroath then made a double substitution as Sukar and Prunty replaced Doris and McCord.
Sukar’s first real contribution to the match though was the worst possible one as he headed McPhee’s ball into his own goal to make it 3-2 and to create a nervy last few minutes. However, Arbroath managed to hold on and to seal an important win.
Full-Time – Arbroath 3-2 Elgin City
Arbroath deservedly took all three points today in a thoroughly entertaining game against Elgin City. The result takes Arbroath to the summit of League 2 and means that, if they equal or better Forfar’s result next week, they will be crowned Champions. Arbroath travel to Stirling Albion whereas Forfar have a very tricky tie against third-placed Annan Athletic, fresh from a 5-1 demolition of the division’s in-form team of recent weeks Montrose. It is all in Arbroath’s hands next week as a win will see the Red Lichties win the League and promotion to League 1!