As the full time whistle blew at Gayfield on Saturday, no doubt the scoreline raised a few eyebrows around Scottish Football.
Jim Weir’s Elgin City were to return to the Highlands with all three points thanks to a three-goal victory.
“Probably the easiest three points they will get all season” was the main sentiment from Arbroath manager Todd Lumsden after the match as the Lichties’ league campaign stuttered on the opening Saturday.
The day had started brightly for the Red Lichties with the annual Gayfield open day bringing a healthy turn out of local boys and girls.
Competitive mini games took place on the Gayfield pitch with the coaches and players creating magical memories for the youngsters.
It’s not every day they get to celebrate scoring a goal with Bobby Linn or get shooting advice from assistant manager Steven Hislop.
The fun did stop and by 3pm it was time for the real action to start.
The Lichties started brightly, winning a corner within the opening 60 seconds but as they swarmed the Elgin box the play was halted by referee David Munro as Elgin’s Daniel Moore fell to ground after taking a blow to the head from a thumping shot by Craig Wilson as Arbroath conducted the early momentum.
It was Moore who was to be involved in the opening goal just three minutes later when he broke down the Elgin left wing, sending a dipping cross to the back post with hitman Craig Gunn instinctively waiting at the back post who calmly volleyed past Allan Fleming from four yards out.
Arbroath immediately responded with a long range shot by Sergio Cecilia Alvarez but it was easily saved by Mark Hurst in the Elgin goal.
Arbroath’s fate was sealed in the 29th minute when Craig Wilson tangled with Kyle Macleod in the box with referee Munro pointing to the spot and also producing a red card for Wilson.
Gunn stepped up and bagged his second of the game when he sent Fleming the wrong way.
Arbroath responded with a tactical substitution with Andy Munro replacing Alvarez and Ricky Little dropping to right back, with Munro partnering Graham Hay.
Elgin’s lead was unchallenged as the first half came to an end.
A more determined Arbroath had taken to the field after the interval and almost grabbed a goal in the opening minutes.
A turn and shot by Lewis Coult was deflected up in the air and as Elgin keeper Hurst came off his line, he flapped at the ball allowing Jamie Clarke to head the ball at goal, but Brian Cameron had stepped back to help cover the open goal and he was able to head the ball off the line.
Coult was replaced by Martin Grehan in the 54th minute and his introduction had certainly sparked the Arbroath attack and Grehan came close in the 68th minute when he forced Hurst into a save from an angled header.
The game ultimately was over in the 74th minute after Arbroath failed to clear the ball again.
Elgin didn’t waste a second opportunity to cross the ball, and with a shade of the first goal a deep cross to the back post was thumped into the net by Mark Nicholson.
Todd Lumsden was very disappointed at full-time.
He said: “It’s very, very disappointing, disappointing result, disappointing performance, and a poor start to the game. We gave ourselves a mountain to climb. The sending off changes the game, obviously.
“The referee says it was a red card for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity, coming from the angle of the penalty box but I don’t know, I think he needs to do a bit to score from there.
“He has given it and there is nothing we can do”
With an Angus derby to look forward to next Saturday he was confident he will get a response from his players.
Todd added: “They will fire themselves up. They are as disappointed as I am.
“We all need to have a look at what we did and get better at that, individually and collectively”
Arbroath: Fleming, Wilson, Little, Hay, Lowdon (Jones, 77), Clarke, Stewart, Alvarez (Munro, 32), Gold, Linn, Coult (Grehan, 55).
Elgin: Hurst, Cooper, McHardy, Gordon, Duff, Nicholson, McKenzie (Bruce, 86), Cameron, Gunn (Hunter, 84), MacLeod, Moore (MacPhee, 81).