Poor form punishes Lichties again

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Fans certainly got their money’s worth on Saturday in the calamitous match against Elgin City at Gayfield.

A dismal start saw the off-colour Lichties drop an embarrassing three goals despite plenty of opportunities on target.

The pace started quickly despite the heavy pitch and near constant drizzle but Elgin managed to find their feet first when Shane Sutherland opened the scoring slamming in a cross from Daniel Moore in the 39th minute.

The break did nothing to buoy the home side as the defence failed again to pick up players, leave Marc McCallum unable to stop Sutherland’s second.

No sooner had Elgin’s top scorer left the pitch following an injury than Brian Cameron sneaked a third into the back of the Lichties’ goal.

Arbroath finally began a frantic campaign of attack spearheaded by Paul McManus who drove home a header set up by a Bobby Linn cross, to put them on the scoreboard in the 65th minute.

Despite his previous misgivings, Ricky Little managed to squeeze one over line in the 81st minute from a Dylan Carreiro cross to reduce the deficit further.

Taking advantage of Elgin’s loss of composure Linn shot another successful shot past ‘keeper Stewart Black in the 83rd minute, consolidating the Lichties’ belated comeback.

A jubilant crowd celebrated as Black then fumbled a well targeted Linn shot and McManus got behind it to slam it in for the win. But a controversial decision by referee Calum Murray ruled it offside.

McManus admitted after the match they need to work harder. He said: “We should have been better than that, we gave away soft goals and the past few weeks I’ve not been scoring.

“As a striker, I don’t feel like you get it on a plate. You’ve got to work for them. You don’t get goals for nothing in this league.

“Getting some key players back from injury and we’ll have the settled 11 we had at the start of the season. No disrespect to the boys, but I think when you’ve got a settled 11 and you’re winning every week, that breeds confidence from the back to the front and that’s what we need.”

A furious gaffer cursed his team’s slapdash performance. He said to the Arbroath Herald: “We can’t expect a pat on the back because we came back from 3 - 0 down.

“We’re now third in the league. We had a chance to get back on top and we didn’t take it.

“We need to have a look at ourselves individually and collectively. It is simply not acceptable.

“The harsh reality is there will be no more nice guy. These guys are getting paid good money and they’re not doing their job.”

A vital win at Gayfield on Wednesday night against East Stirlingshire also evaded Arbroath, missing their chance to go top.