Hotrod Simon Murray’s late finisher against Elgin City at Gayfield on Saturday has put the Lichties five points clear at the top.
The fiery young player, who earned a booking for his over-exuberant goal celebration, was a constant thorn in City’s side and given the sheer volume of shots on goal by Arbroath it was only a matter of time before one got through.
In the hot seat was assistant manager Todd Lumsden. He said: “You see he’s [Simon Murray] like a maverick, it can be frustrating at times because he does the unbelievable things with ease and the easy things, he doesn’t, but the things he brings to the team at times give you a little something.
“At half time, we said that same as last week, we need to go and win the second half, and we thought the longer the game went on the more chances we would create.
“That’s kind of how games have been going lately, so just stay mentally strong, keep playing and hopefully something will fall our way.
“There is a direct correlation between teams that are fitter and teams that are at the top of the league because teams that are fit make less mistakes. And if you don’t make a mistake you don’t lose a goal.”
Despite controlling the flow of the game through the fearsome foursome of Linn, McManus, Murray, Careirro and McBride, they suffered from a catalogue of miskicks and mistimings that could easily have seen a much more painful scoreline for the visitors.
However, at times it seemed like Arbroath were holding back and City were given far too much space to play with and time and again were able to get close and make stickman Crawford work for his pay.
The best scoring opportunity in the first half came from Elgin’s McPhee who had the ‘keeper stone cold and were it not for a brave leap from Johnstone it could have been a very different story.
Arbroath came charging out of the dressing room after the whistle, and within a couple of minutes Linn had given Fraser a couple of promising scares.
Elgin had used the break to swap out Cooper for Beveridge and the fresh legs started to rock the boat a bit for the hosts.
A crunching intercept by City’s McPhee on Murray gifted the Maroons a fantastic chance for a free kick 10 minutes into the half, but Careirro was unfortunate to see his shot only found a safe pair of hands with Fraser.
But in the 76th minute MURRAY was able to make good on a batch of botches and slot a blinder low and left into the net.
Tempers were starting to fray towards the end, McPhee blatantly fouled Careirro with a shoulder barge, and McBride’s protest that Fraser was time wasting over a spot kick earned them all bookings.
City battled hard, and probably deserved a point, but Arbroath were in rampant, if unpredictable, form, and the win for them was more a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’.