Arbroath Vics 1,
Thornton Hibs 5
Having been without a match since the first week in December, Arbroath Vics resumed action with a league match at home to Thornton Hibs on Saturday.
With leading scorer, Kane Hester forced to sit out with a foot injury picked up in training; there was a recall to the starting line-up for David Sturrock in midfield.
A bitingly cold wind greeted the teams on a well prepared pitch as they lined up for the kick-off, although it was not as fierce as earlier in the day, which led to the postponement of Arbroath’s match with Albion Rovers at Gayfield.
The away side was not to be denied and took the lead in the sixth minute. Vics struggled to deal with yet another corner and when Adam Drummond returned the ball into the box from the left hand side, CHRIS IRELAND had time to bring it under control before drilling a shot into the back of the net.
Hibs nearly got a second in only the eighth minute when Nicholas McGowan picked the ball up in midfield and let fly with a long range drive, bringing out a fine save from Alex Cargill, the keeper diving low to his left to turn it round the post.
Hibs were very much in control at this early stage in the game and it came as no surprise when they scored again in the 12th minute. Ireland sent a raking pass out wide to RAYMOND CRICHTON on the left and the number 11 cut inside before angling a shot beyond the reach of Alex Cargill.
Vics did come close to reducing the deficit in the 19th minute when Sturrock sent the ball over the half-way line for Garry Warren who in turn released Scott Donald, but his shot rolled agonisingly wide of the post as ‘keeper Mark Rowbotham came out to narrow the angle.
Vics began to get a bit of a grip of proceedings after the poor start and Sturrock was next to have a go; his 20 yard shot taking a deflection and going behind for a corner.
Hibs were forced to make a change in the 37th minute when Morgan picked up a knock and had to be replaced by Steven Leslie before Raymond Crichton saw yellow for a foul on Kieran MacGregor.
With half-time approaching, Vics passed up a gilt edged chance to pull a goal back in the 43rd minute. Ryan Winter sent Chalmers scampering up the left and along the by-line where he rolled the ball beyond Mark Rowbotham and along the face of goal, but there was no one able to get a touch to send it into the empty net and Hibs were able to clear the danger.
Half-time: Arbroath Vics 0, Thornton Hibs 2.
Vics made a change at the start of the second-half when MacGregor was replaced by Dale Riddell. The substitute went into central defence with Matty Johnston moving to right-back.
Mathew Gay picked up an early booking for barging into the back of Sturrock inside Vics box as Hibs again threatened with a positive start to the second period.
Indeed Vics failed to heed the warning and within seven minutes of the restart Hibs were all but heading back over the Tay Bridge with all three points when they went 3-0 ahead. Thomson clipped the ball forward and when Dale Riddell failed to cut it out, CHRIS IRELAND took full advantage to run on and plant a shot beyond Cargill.
Ryan McNeill picked up the visitors third yellow card of the afternoon when he lunged into a tackle on Thomson and he was soon joined in the book by Johnston for an almost identical tackle on Crichton.
Vics almost got a goal back in fortuitous fashion in the 58th minute when Mark Rowbotham came out of his box to clear a Thomson through ball away from Chalmers, but his clearance cannoned off Adam Drummond and rebounded back towards goal, but it didn’t have enough pace to reach the line and Ian Hepburn got back to clear.
Winter found himself in the book for kicking the ball away before Hibs extended their lead in the 62nd minute. McNeill was the architect, flicking the ball through Vics’ defence for CHRIS IRELAND to run onto and take beyond Cargill before slotting it away to complete his hat-trick.
Midway through the half, Vics made a second change when Chalmers was replaced by Colin Lawson.
The substitute almost pulled a goal back for Vics in the 74th minute when he was picked out by Sturrock, but Rowbotham just got enough on his shot to divert it onto the post and behind for a corner. From the flag kick, Warren’s cross found its way to the far side of the box where Lawson drilled it back across goal but his shot skipped wide of the post.
Vics made a further change in the 75th minute when Joe Tindal came on for Winter before Sturrock found his name in the book for a foul on McNeill, who, despite not being injured, was immediately taken off and replaced by Andrew Adam.
In the 78th minute, Vics grabbed a consolation when Sturrock sent the ball wide to Warren. His cross eluded Rowbotham and JOE TINDAL turned it into the net.
The scoring wasn’t complete however as in the 89th minute Hibs went 5-1 in front. Riddell again missed a through ball and conceded a penalty as he tried to make amends by bringing down Ireland, which resulted in him being red carded. CHRIS IRELAND stepped up to take the kick himself and cheekily chipped the ball down the middle to bag his fourth goal of the afternoon.
Vics got off to the worst possible start to 2015 and indeed the writing was on the wall in the early stages of the match, by which time the visitors led 2-0. A revitalised end to the first half gave hope for the second, but the concession of a third goal less than 10 minutes in ended any such notion and a slick Hibs side ran out worthy winners.
Arbroath Vics: Cargill, MacGregor (Riddell 46), Sturrock, Florence, Johnston, Thomson, Chalmers (Lawson 63), Winter (Tindal 75), Donald, Sturrock, Warren. Unused subs: Swan, Whitton GK.
Tomorrow (Saturday), Vics are away to Scone Thistle in the league. Kick-off is at 1.45 p.m. and players should meet at Ogilvy Park at 11.30 a.m.
Winners this week were: £20 – No. 20, Emma Forbes; £10 – No. 13, Niamh Hogg; £5 – No. 14 Donna Ritchie.