Lichties caught in Spiders’ web

editorial image

Arbroath’s lead at the top of SPFL League Two was cut to three points when they went down to Queen’s Park at Hampden Park on Saturday.

Things looked tricky before the match with Paul McManus and Kevin Nicoll both missing out due to injury.

The Spiders’ form in recent weeks had been poor with four consecutive draws.

But this didn’t affect them as they grabbed the lead in the third minute - almost a repeat of the last meeting of the teams in November.

Shaun Rooney, a thorn in the side of the Lichties in that clash, made a run towards goal. His attempted pass was knocked away, but only as far as Paul Woods whose right-foot shot found the net.

As Arbroath pressed forward in search of an equaliser, Jack Smith and Scott McBride saw efforts at goal thwarted.

It was 2-0 in 19 minutes when Darren Miller created space for Sean Burns who smashed a left-foot effort past David McCallum.

Arbroath came out for the second half in determined mood, but an early opportunity created by Bobby Linn for Ryan McGeever was saved.

Moments later, Linn raced away on the wing and saw his cross collected by Muir.

Linn was Queens’ tormentor in chief and he flew away from Berry before finding Simon Murray with a cross. His shot came off the post and fell kindly for Muir to gather.

The Maroons continued to dominate play, but their efforts were not rewarded with a goal until the final seconds when a strike from Linn was deflected past Muir to make it 2-1.

Ultimately, the piece of good fortune was too little too late for Arbroath.

Gus McPherson always has his sides well disciplined, but a draw may have been a fairer result.

Lichties’ boss Allan Moore was disappointed with the display, but he remained in bullish mood about the team’s chances of winning the league.

“It is not many times that the players have disappointed me but they disappointed in this game,” Moore said.

“We did not get any more than we deserved, and I am not going to sugar-coat it.

“We are still top of the league and have the belief that we can go on and win it.”

A period of three games that could have set the Lichties up for the remainder of the season hasn’t been particularly kind.

A draw with Montrose and a loss to Queens, allied with the postponed Albion Rovers match, has left them only three points clear of the Spiders, albeit with a game in hand.

They remain four ahead of Rovers, having played a game more, after their match was postponed again on Saturday.

Allan Moore’s men head west again tomorrow (Saturday) to face Clyde. They have enjoyed good fortune against Barry Ferguson’s side thus far this campaign.

And a repeat of either of the performances from earlier on in the season, when the Maroons were among the goals, will see them back on track.