Elgin City vs Arbroath – Match Report
Match day 3 – Ladbrokes League 2 – Season 2016 / 2017
Saturday 20th August 2016, Borough Briggs, Elgin – 3.00pm kick off
Elgin’s Borough Briggs hasn’t been the kindest of grounds in recent seasons for the Lichties, nor many teams for that matter, with League 2 Champions East Fife the sole team to register a win there in the league last season.
You actually have to go back to the Challenge Cup in 2012 when hat tricks by Lee Sibanda and Darren Gribben gave the Lichties their last win at Borough Briggs in a 7-5 classic, and even further back to 2010 for a win in the league when Josh Falkingham inspired a 5-3 win.
Dick Campbell retained faith in the players who impressed in the cruel defeat to East Fife midweek. Ryan McCord sat out as he served his one match suspension and he was joined in the stands by influential Martin Scott. There was also a surprise as both Steven and Doris started the game on the bench.
This gave the Lichties a very youthful starting line up with just an average age of 23.2 with goalkeeper Robbie Mutch celebrating his 18th birthday holding onto the Number 1 shirt. Ricky Little again started at right back, with Gary Phillips at left back with Jassem Sukar and Colin Hamilton as the central pairing.
Bobby Linn came back into the team and started on the right wing, with David Gold and Mark Whatley in the middle of the park and Liam Callaghan starting on the left wing with Josh Skelly joining Kane Hester up front.
Elgin had kept the nucleus of the team that had served them so well last season and it was slightly odd for the away support to see former Lichtie Keiran Stewart starting in central defence. Despite the loss of Dylan Easton, Shane Sutherland had been re-recruited to spearhead the attack with Arbroath nemesis Craig Gunn.
Arbroath have already profited from set plays this season, and it was a corner kick which provided their first real chance as Hamilton came very close as he hit a right foot shot over the bar after Linn delivered a great ball in.
Shane Sutherland was in the right position to receive a Gunn pass from the right wing, but the ball was just the wrong height for the striker to react to, then Gunn himself tried an acrobatic attempt but his shot went well wide of Mutch’s goal.
Colin Hamilton came under pressure as he tried to control the ball on the edge of his own box, before being robbed of possession and again Gunn found space to shoot, but again his shot was well wide of the goal.
A game of football in League 2 wouldn’t be complete without a strange refereeing decision, and the Lichties were left scratching their heads after Linn curled a ball into the box which was cleared by Cooper who was under pressure by Callaghan before the ball seemed to strike the hands of Stewart and as referee Alan Newlines blew his whistle the Arbroath players and fans were shocked when he instead gave a free kick to the home team.
Gary Phillips was booked for a foul on Mcleish in the 23rd minute.
There was another moment of controversy as Mutch was alleged to have picked up as passback from Sukar, with the referee seemingly only awarding it after pressure from the home support. Daniel Moore struck a low shot under the Arbroath wall, but Robbie Mutch smothered the ball comfortably at his near post.
The first half drew to a close with neither side really troubling the opposition keeper, but Arbroath were definitely enjoying their best performance at Borough Briggs in recent seasons.
Half time – Elgin City 0 – 0 Arbroath
Dick Campbell stuck by his rule of substituting any player with a yellow card, as Gary Phillips was replaced by Omar Kader and Steven Doris came on for Kane Hester at half time.
This meant a slight shift in formation, with David Gold moving to right back, and Ricky Little joining Jassem Sukar in central defence and Hamilton moving to left back.
Steven Doris was unable to fully connect with a diving header from a Callaghan cross as the Lichties went on the attack early in the second half and Doris came even closer just minutes later after a neat ball by Skelly set him running into the box but Nicholson’s pressure was enough so that his shot couldn’t trouble the keeper but the loose ball fell to Skelly who shot over the bar.
A simple ball through the middle opened up the Lichties defence with Sutherland able to run into the box and his shot on the run grazing the top of the Arbroath bar as the Lichties escaped going behind.
David Gold has really started to show in recent games his true value to the team and the 23 year old started a fine move from right back as he ran down the pitch with the ball at his feet before passing to Doris who found Linn out on the wing. Gold had continued his run forward and he out jumped everyone to head Linn’s cross at goal narrowly missing the target.
Linn again found space down the wing, this time cutting across to Skelly who hit a ball curling away from goal, but it just missed the far post of MacKay’s goal.
Arbroath made their final change with Bryan Prunty replacing Bobby Linn in the 75th minute with Skelly moving out to the wing with Prunty joining Doris in attack.
This move led to the goal with Prunty putting substitute Dodd under pressure, his back pass was too short and as Doris chased he managed to wriggle in front of Nicholson forcing keeper Mackay to come running out and his mis timed clearance fell to the feet of Skelly 40 yards from goal.
The on loan Dundee striker took a touch and step forward before looking up and hitting a right foot lob over the keeper to give the Lichties the lead in the 86th minute!
There was a heart in the mouth moment as the after play restarted when a diagonal ball from just inside the Arbroath half seen MacLeod bump into Mutch with McHardy hitting the loose ball off the post.
The Lichties held on and it was a fine win, especially when Borough Briggs has become a locked down fortress in recent years.
The entire team deserved it, but the defence really played their part with Sukar shining and Little, Gold and Hamilton all showing their versatility by playing in different positions and offering support down the wings all game.
A great win, and the perfect celebrations for Robbie Mutch on his 18th birthday!
Full time – Elgin City 0 – 1 Arbroath
C’mon the Lichties!
Possession – Elgin City 50% – 50% Arbroath
Total Shots – Elgin City 7 – 6 Arbroath
On Target – Elgin City 1 – 1 Arbroath
Corners – Elgin City 3 – 7 Arbroath
Fouls Committed – Elgin City 9 – 8 Arbroath
1 – Cameron Mackay
2 – Matthew Cooper
3 – Archie MacPhee (c)
4 – Mark Nicolson
5 – Keiran Stewart
6 – Thomas Reilly
7 – Christopher Mcleish (Dodd 76)
8 – Brian Cameron
9 – Craig Gunn (MacLeod 65)
10 – Shane Sutherland
11 – Daniel Moore (McHardy 84)
12 – Jamie Duff
14 – Kyle MacLeod – 9 65th
15 – Christopher Dodd – 7 76th
16 – Robbie Bruce
17 – Darryl McHardy – 11 84th
18 – Jamie Reid
21 – Stewart Black (GK)
Bookings – Nicolson (90+1)
1 – Robbie Mutch
2 – Ricky Little
3 – Gary Phillips (Kader 46)
4 – Jassem Sukar
5 – Colin Hamilton
6 – Mark Whatley (c)
7 – Bobby Linn (Prunty 75)
8 – David Gold
9 – Kane Hester (Doris 46)
10 – Josh Skelly
11 – Liam Callaghan
12 – Steven Doris – 9 46th
14 – Bryan Prunty – 7 75th
15 – Michael Dunlop
16 – Josh Thomson
17 – Omar Kader – 3 46th
18 – Gavin Malin
21 – Ricky Gomes (GK)
Goal – Skelly 86
Bookings – Phillips 23
Attendance – 519
Referee – Alan Newlands
Assistant Referee 1 – Stuart Stevenson
Assistant Referee 2 – Richard Murphy