Arbroath and Queen’s Park had faced up to one another six times last season, with each encounter almost being played like a game of Chess.
Gus MacPherson has become astute at fielding a team which is well organised and strong at the back, so a game against an Arbroath side who were determined to show that they still have grit and a winning edge was sure to be an entertaining match.
Todd Lumsden had kept to his word and made changes to his starting 11 and with two strikers playing up front he had answered the pleas from many of the fans.
However the game had only just kicked off and the Lichties were already unstuck.
A fine run by Sean Burns found on loan Partick Thistle striker Christopher Duggan who brilliantly disguised a defence splitting pass through to Paul Woods who slotted past Allan Fleming in the third minute.
Arbroath did show determination to come back but it was last season’s nemesis goalkeeper William Muir who would foil them yet again.
A David Gold header was tipped over the crossbar before a wonderful shot on the turn from Martin Grehan forced Muir into another acrobatic leap to tip over his crossbar yet again.
Grehan was to be denied again this time by the woodwork from a header.
Into the second half and the Lichties found themselves behind again.
It was a run by Duggan up the wing before another well timed pass found Burns on the overlap and despite striking the ball at an acute angle his shot found the roof of the net.
It was yet another goal conceded in the opening minutes of the half which was becoming a systematic failure of Arbroath’s season so far.
Arbroath were forced to push hard again, and again luck, that 12th man that sometimes is with you or without you, seemed the latter for the Lichties.
Good work by Jamie Reid found Craig Johnstone whose cross was found by Andy Ryan at the back post, but despite Muir diving the wrong way, the ball found his trailing legs and bounced back out.
A goal was to come, and this time it was from a former Queen’s Park player, Joao Victoria.
He had started a fine move by coming deep to collect the ball from Ricky Little before it found Bobby Linn on the wing who curled in a cross where Victoria smashed a header past Muir.
It was too late for the comeback as the full time whistle blew just minutes later as MacPherson claimed the first check mate of the new season.
This result, despite defeat, was a small victory in terms of performance for Arbroath.
There is still a lot of work to be done, but with the return of Mark Whatley from injury and the possible signing of Victoria there is still a lot of points to be played for.
Manager Todd Lumsden was content with the improvements to his side’s play, adding he was disappointed his players didn’t get anything from the game.
He said: “I thought the performance was night and day from the week before, it was miles better. How we didn’t get anything out of the game is still a bit of a mystery with the chances we had. We can’t afford to turn over possession that cheaply or defend poorly as we did for their goals.
“Joao Victoria has signed for the rest of the season. The fact he came on and scored was great for him. He’s very skillful, fit and quick.
“Hopefully that will give us the legs to get in behind people but also coming short he’s good with the ball to his feet.”
Arbroath: Fleming; Wilson, Munro, Little, Johnstone; Reid (Ramsay, 60), Stewart (Whatley, 60), Gold, Linn; Grehan (Victoria, 69), Ryan.