REPORT: Lichties move upto fifth in League Two after Stirling score late leveller

Photo by Graham Black
Photo by Graham Black

Arbroath and Stirling Albion were forced to settle for a point apiece on Saturday as both teams were forced to take on the unforgiving winter weather.

The Lichties were dealt a blow before the game with Jordan Lowdon forced out with an injury.

The attacking left back has been at the forefront of his side’s good form, but it did allow an opportunity for Shaun Rutherford to make his debut after joining on loan from Queen of the South.

Both teams made strong opening attacks with Smith getting into good space for the Binos in the third minute before Skelly hit back for Arbroath with a strike just wide of the post.

Stirling thought they had opened the scoring in the seventh minute after Doris found Lamont whose first time strike forced Fleming to save, but D Smith pounced on the rebound only to turn and see the flag raised for offside.

Arbroath have so often looked to Linn for inspiration and his brilliance and so it came as a huge blow when he was forced off with a knee injury after only 30 minutes with former Dundee winger Reid his direct replacement.

Stirling captain Forsyth missed the best chance in the later stages of the first half when the ball broke to him at the back post from a corner but the defender’s strike ballooned over the stand.

Despite playing against the wind Arbroath in the second half, the Lichties started to close in on target and a run and strike down the wing by Skelly forced C Smith to spill but R Smith got a touch just as Ramsay slid in to pounce.

Substitute Reid should have found the net as in an echo of the Forsyth chance the ball fell to him at the back post from a Ramsay cross, but he could only shoot wide.

Once again it was the pace and skill of substitute Kane Hester which turned Arbroath’s fortunes around.

He was introduced after Arbroath won a free kick and as Little launched the ball high into the Stirling box, Hester had taken his place just in time to strike G Rutherford’s knock down.

It was an incredible entrance and goal from the young striker having only been on the field for 12 seconds and scoring with his very first touch.

The outcome of the entire game changed in the 75th minute.

At one end Hester’s pace allowed him to gain on a Stirling mix up but unselfishly he passed to G Rutherford who was upended by Johnston but the ball still found the back of the net, only for yet another offside flag.

As play restarted Stirling raced up the other end and Doris was first to the ball and his strike beat Fleming but D Smith slid in to make sure, and despite being in front of all the Arbroath defence his goal was given much to the anger of the home support.

In the dying seconds a long range strike by Reid looked to be the winner until C Smith pulled off the save of the game and then with the last kick of the ball Doris ran into the Arbroath box but Fleming and Watson dived together forcing Doris wide at the cost of a corner.

A draw was probably a fair result, but the vital point helping the Lichties claw up to fifth in the table.