Gowfers dump Arbroath Vics in GA Engineering cup tie

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CARNOUSTIE Panmure ran out narrow 1-0 winners over near neighbours Arbroath Vics in a GA Engineering Cup preliminary round tie at Laing Park on Saturday afternoon and will now be at home to Montrose Roselea in the first round proper.

The sides had already met this season when Carnoustie edged Vics out in the semi-final of the D.J. Laing League Cup with a last-gasp winner at Ogilvy Park.

With Mike McIlravey unavailable, Gowfers’ manager Ian Gilzean made a couple of changes to the side beaten by St Andrews United the previous week.

Steven Narey was on from the start as was Mark Matthew, making his first appearance since suffering a broken shoulder blade in the pre-season friendly with Cove Rangers on July 16. Bench spots were taken by Robert Hendry, John Roberts and Greg Beattie.

The Gowfers had the better of the opening exchanges and it was Vics’ ‘keeper Lee Hutcheson who had to make the first save, diving to turn a Brian Clark shot around the post after the striker had gathered a Scott Gates throw-in and angled his drive towards the bottom corner.

The visitors replied when Garry Warren sent Craig Stephen scampering up the left and into the box beyond Danny Millar. However he elected to pull the ball back when a shot might have reaped a better reward and Colin Lawson fired his cut-back over the bar from just outside the 18-yard box.

Good play from Stephen then allowed him to release Warren, but his dangerous cross from the left was swept away on the penalty spot.

At the other end, Matty Johnston failed to cut out a through ball and the dangerous Scott Gates got on the end of it to fire in a shot, which Lee Hutcheson did well to usher behind for a corner with a little help from the outside of the post. From the flag-kick, John Tonner got on the end of Clark’s cross at the opposite post, but his flicked effort went inches wide of the target.

In the 20th minute, a Danny McKenzie cross was allowed to run through to Warren, but when his cross came in there was no one in a black and white jersey in position to take advantage and Carnoustie were able to clear their lines.

The home side responded with Josh Perera breaking away from Vics’ defence and curling in a shot, which Hutcheson was glad to see find the side netting.

Three minutes later, Gates got free on the left and whipped over a dangerous cross, which found Kevin Cumming racing in at the far side of the box and his downward header bounced down into the turf and reared up and inches wide of the upright.

Warren put Vics back on the front foot, flicking the ball on to Colin Lawson, but although his curling shot was on target, it presented little difficulty to ‘keeper John McCafferty who was able to clutch it comfortably.

Hutcheson kept Vics on level terms with a great save from point-blank range to keep out a Perera header following a corner, before the rebound was swept out of harm’s way.

McCafferty was then tested for the first time in the match when he was at full stretch to tip away a Warren cross that was angling over his head and McKenzie, from a tight angle, could only turn the ball on to the roof of the net.

Carnoustie again looked dangerous when Steven Narey fired a crossfield ball towards the right, which Kevin Laing failed to cut out, but Cumming wasted the opportunity by firing the ball across the box with no one up in support and it drifted harmlessly away for a throw in at the opposite side.

With half-time in sight Kevin Durno ensured the teams would go in level when he just did enough to head a Clark free-kick over his own bar under pressure from a couple of Carnoustie attackers.

Half-time: Carnoustie Panmure 0 Arbroath Vics 0.

Carnoustie almost found a way through Vics defence within a minute of the re-start when Millar and Mark Matthew swapped passes, but Danny Millar’s drive from just inside the area cleared the crossbar.

However, in 49 minutes Carnoustie took a decisive lead. Gates got free on the left and although his low cross was cleared out of the box, it only went as far as CLARK who was given time and space to bring it under control before firing low into the net from 19 yards.

The first change of the afternoon came eight minutes later, when Carnoustie replaced Matthew with John Roberts.

Hutcheson then had to look lively to dive and smother a cut-back from Gates as Carnoustie tried to add to their slender lead.

Robertson was next to be denied by the ‘keeper, flicking in a close range shot, which Hutcheson did well to block before it was swept behind for a corner by Johnston. From the flag-kick, Carnoustie thought they had extended their lead when Robertson bulleted in a header from Clark’s cross, but their joy was shortlived as referee Kenny Beats disallowed the goal for a push before he reached the ball.

Midway through the half, Vics had what looked like a certain penalty waved away when Warren and Durno linked up to send Stephen into the box. The number nine was just about to pull the trigger when he was upended, but the referee wasn’t interested and Carnoustie breathed a sigh of relief as the ball was booted clear.

With 15 minutes remaining, Perera was withdrawn in favour of Greg Beattie.

Vics pushed Durno into a more advanced role as a striker, but still couldn’t find a way through the Gowfers defence.

A fumble from McCafferty might have proved costly for the home team when he failed to gather a Stephen cross cleanly but he got away with it as the ball was eventually cleared away from the danger area.

In 82 minutes Vics sent Danny Brown on up front in place of Warren.

Despite that, it was Carnoustie who almost added to their lead two minutes from the end when Gates cut in from the left and let fly with a vicious drive which Hutcheson managed to beat away.

With seconds remaining, Robertson picked up the only booking of the afternoon when he clattered into Mark Fotheringham midway inside his own half. That gave Vics one last opportunity to hoist the ball into the Gowfers box, but when McCafferty rose above everyone to claim it, the referee brought proceedings to a close.

In a hard fought encounter, there was little between the sides, but Carnoustie got the goal that mattered to set up a home tie against Montrose Roselea in the first round proper of the competition.

Teams:

Carnoustie Panmure: McCafferty, Tonner, Gates, Millar, Perera (Beattie 75), Matthew (Roberts 57), Narey, Robertson, Clark, Cumming, Cook. Unused substitute: Hendry.

Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, Laing, Florence, Johnston, Durno, Sturrock, McKenzie, Fotheringham, Stephen, Lawson, Warren (Brown 82). Unused substitutes: McLeish, Simpson and Cargill gk.

Referee: Mr. K. Beats, Finavon.

Match-ball sponsor, Shaggy Dog Designs, Carnoustie.

Tomorrow’s match

Tomorrow (Saturday), Carnoustie play host to Hill of Beath Hawthorn in the ACA Sports East Super League.

In the Haws last league visit to Laing Park back on March 1 2008, they were 2-1 victors, but just four weeks later at the same venue the Gowfers won 4-1 in the second round of the East of Scotland Cup and will be hoping for a similar result in this latest encounter.

Kick-off time is 2.30 p.m.