Arbroath’s disastrous 2015 got a lot worse on Saturday when they lost again away to play-off hopefuls Annan Athletic at Galabank.
As we reach the end of February, the Lichties have still to win a game in the New Year, and have taken only three points from the 18 available for them to date this year.
Allan Moore’s men are now off the top of the table after Queen’s Park recorded a late win over Berwick Rangers at Hampden in the early evening game. The Spiders are now two points clear, although they have played two games more than the Gayfield men.
Albion Rovers, too, are having a nightmare time of it. They fell to their fourth consecutive defeat, going down to East Stirlingshire.
Annan, meanwhile are on good form and are now firmly in contention for a play-off spot.
At the present time, the Lichties are incapable of keeping a clean sheet and although they are still creating chances, there is a lack of confidence about the side that swept all before them in the run up to the festive season.
A seven-point lead has been lost and the momentum with that has entirely disappeared.
Gaffer Allan Moore said: “I thought we were about to turn the corner because we played some magnificent stuff for 75 minutes but it’s just not going in for us at the moment. At no point in the game did I feel we were under any pressure whatsoever.
“The first half was the best we’ve played in a long while but when you get opportunities like that, you’ve got to put them away.”
And the gaffer lamented the way in which goals were lost. He continued: “I told them not to give away any silly free kicks or corners because set-pieces looked like the only way Annan could hurt us, and that’s what happened.
“They got a free kick through a foul we shouldn’t have made and then other boys in the team decide not to follow instructions and don’t go with their runners and then we’re 1-0 down and chasing the game.
“The second goal came because we had to send our centre-halves up.
“The fact we had to do that tells you everything about our centre forwards at the moment.”
Having lost 3-1 to Berwick the previous week, it was Arbroath which started the more brightly of the two sides and Annan goalkeeper Jordan Hart had to make two quickfire saves to deny Paul McManus.
Thomas Grant then came close for the visitors before Annan lost Matthew Flynn to injury after 33 minutes. The game was goalless at the break.
However, it was Steven Swinglehurst who gave the home fans joy on the hour mark, making the most of the rebound after a free kick from Andrew Mitchell, although there was more than a suggestion of handball.
Amid some late Arbroath pressure, veteran Peter Weatherson made the game safe for Annan early in stoppage time when he fired into the net after being set up by Josh Todd.