ARBROATH squandered their chance to go top of Division Three when their seven-game unbeaten run came to an end against East Stirlingshire at Gayfield on Tuesday night.
In a game full of goals, the Lichties suffered a 5-3 defeat, which also saw an end to their string of four clean sheets in a row.
Before Tuesday night, ‘Shire had only scored 10 league goals all season, but they increased their tally by 50 per cent by knocking five past the home side.
Kieran McAnespie had put the Gayfield men in front before the visitors levelled and then went ahead.
Alan Rattray brought the score back level just before half-time but three more goals from East Stirling saw them take the points despite Steven Doris scoring a consolation penalty.
At full-time, Arbroath manager Paul Sheerin was disappointed they had missed the chance to go top of the table but remained upbeat about their recent form.
He said: “It was a bit of an anti-climax after Saturday’s results which all seemed to go in our favour.
“You can’t go round ranting and raving because we have been excellent and been on a great run lately so hopefully it is just a blip.
“It is unfortunate we couldn’t go top and that we conceded five goals at home but hopefully we can put things right and bounce back against Stranraer on Saturday.”
For the third game in a row, Mr Sheerin named the same starting line-up that had taken maximum points from Montrose and Berwick Rangers.
The Lichties dominated the possession early on and gave little away to the visitors, who struggled to make an impact.
And on 23 minutes, the Maroons deservedly took the lead when they won a corner which was quickly taken by Paul Sheerin.
The player/manager curled the ball high into the box and it was McANESPIE who connected with it and sent a diving header into the back of the net.
But their lead didn’t last very long, as ‘Shire converted their first chance of the game when a cross in by Stephen McGuire was picked up by Scott Johnson whose close range effort brought the score back level.
The Lichties pushed to take back the lead but it was the visitors who made it 2-1.
A handball by Stewart Malcolm on the edge of the box gave them a free kick in a dangerous position and David DUNN stepped up to take it with his effort blasting right past the Arbroath wall and Darren Hill.
It looked as though the Maroons would go in at the interval behind but RATTRAY brought the score back level.
A free kick sent into the box by McAnespie was flicked on by Malcolm to Rattray who had the simple task of putting the ball in an empty goal.
Half-time: Arbroath 2, East Stirlingshire 2.
Immediately from the restart the visitors took the lead once more when they caught the Lichties’ defence off guard.
Dean Richardson played a through ball to McGUIRE who made no mistake firing the ball past Hill.
And soon after DUNN grabbed his second goal of the night to put ‘Shire 4-2 up with a long range effort.
But just three minutes later Arbroath were presented with an opportunity to try and close the deficit when DORIS was brought down in the box.
The referee pointed to the spot and he blasted his penalty straight in the back of the net for his 10th goal of the season.
On 77 minutes, the Lichties could very well have then levelled the game again when Doris was brought down in the area for the second time.
But he was unable to convert from the penalty spot again with his kick going wide of the post.
The frantic pace to the game continued and it was the visitors who unexpectedly grabbed another goal to make it 5-3 and seal the win.
Eight minutes from time Stuart BEVERIDGE tried a long range volley on the edge of the box and his powerful shot fooled Hill who watched the ball sail past him and into this net.
Gavin Swankie had the best opportunity to try and get the Lichties back into the game in the dying stages but his shot from close range went wide of the post.
The result still leaves Arbroath two points behind Stranraer at the top of the table but the manager added the final score may have been different if the second penalty had gone in.
He explained: “If Doris had scored the penalty then who knows, things may have turned out right but the disappointing thing tonight is conceding five goals at home.”