Albion Rovers put paid to any Lichties’ fans hopes that Arbroath were back to their winning ways in the re-scheduled fixture at Gayfield on Wednesday.
Only four minutes into the match Albion scooped an early goal as Ally Love lobbed an opportunistic ball over ‘keeper Marc McCallum to put the homeside immediately on the back foot.
“It could have been a different story if we had got the first goal,” Arbroath manager, Allan Moore lamented.
The Lichties battled on, but Albion’s robust defence proved punishing and Moore’s men failed to find a chink in their impenetrable armour.
Bobby Linn responded to Love’s goal feeding a quick cross to Liam Rowan, whose gallant effort sailed over the top bar.
A determined attack from Scott McBride put pressure on the wing but no amount of trying could turn his attempts into points.
Linn and Simon Murray also chased hard, trying to press into a good attacking position but could not find the space as Albion Rovers’ centre-halves rallied to quash every attempt.
The home side struggled to maintain possession as the Wee Rovers clung stubbornly and effectively to their mark.
Arbroath’s old nemesis reared its ugly head and Moore was yet again frustrated by their defensive deficiencies.
“People need to take responsibility in the box. In the second half they didn’t even have it in our box, then they get one shot on target and take the goal.
“The first goal was a bad goal from our point of view.
“It put us on the back foot and gave them something to play for and hang on to and they did well.”
Albion Rovers manager/player Darren Young admitted the first goal was a stroke of luck: “We got the goals at good times. We were solid defensively and it is another clean sheet against one of the best teams in the league so we are delighted.
“It’s been a long hard season and this is a massive three points for us tonight but there’s still a long way to go, with seven games still to play.”
The second half kicked off and Arbroath quickly put pressure on the opposition goal. With the pace running consistently high, both sides fought for every opportunity.
Linn crossed a fast ball to Mark Whatley who blasted it straight on target, only to be blocked by the impassable Albion defence.
The final blow came in the 65th minute when Gary Fisher fired a low ball into the far corner taking Albion Rovers to 2-0 and knocking the last remnants of strength from the home side.
Try as they may, the effects of an evening match, countless fruitless attacks and a two goal deficit took its toll and no amount of tactics could bolster their efforts.
Defeated by the better team on the night, Arbroath must start afresh for their next fixture against East Fife on Saturday and focus on a clean sheet if they are in with a chance of regaining their coveted position at the top.