McManus the man for Lichties

Paul McManus opens the scoring for Arbroath.
Paul McManus opens the scoring for Arbroath.

A hat-trick from the experienced Paul McManus was enough to book Arbroath a place in the third round of the William Hill Scottish Cup and a home tie against Highland League Nairn County.

The teams battled it out over 210 minutes of cup football but in the end it was the clinical finishing of the striker that gave his side victory.

Manager Allan Moore made one change, with captain Kevin Nicoll in for Ricky Little.

The biggest crowd of the season was inside Links Park at kick-off time on a fine autumn day for football.

And the Lichties made the perfect start as they took the lead after only four minutes. Wood and Graham got into a mess inside the box and as McKenzie came off his line McMANUS calmly slotted the ball into the net for the opener.

Montrose tried to respend and a good run from Paul Harkins saw him slip a pass into Paul Watson and his low 25-yard effort was well held by David Crawford.

Despite being under pressure the visitors created a rare opening just short of the half hour mark. Scott McBride took the ball first time on the volley but his shot was deflected out for a fruitless corner taken by Adam Hunter.

Arbroath won a corner kick with three minutes of the half remaining. Hunter played the ball short to Bobby Linn but his shot was cleared by the home side.

The Gable Endies grabbed a deserved equaliser in the first minute of first half stoppage time. Ross McCord broke into the box and found Scott Johnston, who slipped the ball into the path of HARKINS, who took a touch before bundling the ball home from close range.

It was almost a repeat to the start of the second half when Montrose had another let off. A mistake allowed Linn a chance but Stuart McKenzie saved Montrose with a great save to put the ball behind for a corner kick. Scott Johnston failed to clear Hunter’s corner kick and this allowed Hunter to get in a shot but he powered the ball well over the bar.

In the 53rd minute, McBride got free on the left but his cross found McManus but his volley went straight into the arms off McKenzie.

Two minutes later Montrose had another let off when Simon Murray played a one-two with Linn and found himself through on goal but McKenzie raced from his goal to pull off a great save. Hunter again took the corner kick but McKenzie got up to gather.

Both sides made a change in the 64th minute. The visitors replaced Jordan Lowdon with Kieran Stewart, while Montrose brought on Terry Masson for McCord.

With 20 minutes of the match to go Arbroath went on the counter attack and McManus’s near-post cross was met on the volley by Bobby Linn only for Stuart McKenzie to pull off a great save.

Adam Hunter again played a short corner to Linn but the ex-Dundee man shot straight into the arms of McKenzie.

Arbroath were forced into a second substitution when the injured Craig Johnstone was replaced by Ricky Little.

With five minutes of the match remaining Garry Wood produced a great tackle inside the box to deny Bobby Linn.

Arbroath had one last chance before the game went into stoppage time with El-Zubaidi seeing his header being blocked for a corner kick but when the ball came over McKenzie grasped the ball with ease.

The Lichties took control in extra-time and took an early lead. McBride skipped down the left and his low centre was slipped home by McMANUS for his second of the afternoon from close range.

In the 101st minute Arbroath sealed victory. Murray was allowed into the box and his cross found McMANUS, who was all alone to fire home for his hat trick.