The Courier: BRECHIN’S UNBEATEN home record came to an end when they were completely overwhelmed by near neighbours ARBROATH and the home side’s manager Jim Duffy was not in the mood for excuses.
“We were flat throughout and showed no real spark,” he said. “Arbroath deserved to win, there’s no question.” He made no complaint either about a debatable decision by referee John Beaton to allow Arbroath's second goal despite the linesman’s flag being raised for offside. “It was a contentious decision but I’ve seen many of these before,” said Duffy. “It is a confusing rule which is continually being analysed even at the top of the game. “At the end of the day, we should have cleared the ball anyway.”
The visitors struck the first blow in less than a minute when Steven Doris slipped the ball through for Lichties hitman Steven Hislop to head past Brechin keeper Craig Nelson. At the other end, the hosts had several chances but Mark Docherty missed from close range, a Charlie King shot was caught by the Arbroath keeper Darren Hill and Rory McAllister fired wide from 20 yards.
Arbroath should have extended their lead on 22 minutes but Alan Rattray could not put the finishing touch to a shot from Keith Gibson, then minutes later, Kenny McLean missed with a 25-yard volley.But they got their second on 32 minutes in the midst of some confusion.
The linesman’s flag went up against Jamie Redman and everybody on the pitch had stopped when Doris overlapped him and knocked the ball on to Robbie Ross who rolled it over the line and the referee allowed the goal.
The Arbroath defence continued to prove too strong for the home side in the second period and they had few good chances to salvage anything. McAllister was off the mark with a free kick after a foul by Ewan Moyes on Kevin Byers and misfired a couple more times. It was into injury time before substitute Mark Cowan came the closest, rifling in a shot which required a wonder dive from the Arbroath keeper to block.
Arbroath manager Jim Weir said, “We got an early goal with a great cross and a great header and the second goal gave us a half-time cushion. “We defended well overall and over the piece the three points are fully deserved.” Though the win did not move Arbroath off second bottom spot in the second division, a buoyant Weir said, “We are aiming to climb higher up the table.”
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Arbroath became the first side to win at Brechin this season, when goals from Steven Hislop and Robbie Ross gave them a 2-0 victory.
Arbroath manager Jim Weir handed a debut to former Aberdeen defender Phil McGuire, who signed for the club on Friday evening, and McGuire played his part in a strong defensive showing for the visitors.
Hislop headed home a Steven Doris cross after only 40 seconds, then in 32 minutes, Arbroath scored a controversial second when the linesman flagged for offside against Jamie Redman. The referee overruled the flag as Redman didn’t touch the ball and Doris ran from deep and crossed for Ross to score.
A disappointed Brechin manager Jim Duffy was honest enough to admit that his side were second best in the Division 2 contest. He said: “Arbroath thoroughly deserved to win, there is no question about that. It is not often we don’t deserve anything, but I can’t complain.
“We were flat throughout the game and had no real spark. They started well with the early goal, but even in the second half when we had a lot of the ball, we never looked threatening. “Arbroath defended well and broke in numbers, while our determination and sharpness wasn’t there.
“The manner in which we lost disappointed me. If a side gives everything a manager can’t complain, but that wasn’t the case. The second goal was a contentious decision, but you see them at every level. “The referee may well have interpreted things correctly and I’m not going to complain. “The cross when it came in was poor and we should have cleared it. It was a borderline decision, but we just didn’t play well enough.”
Arbroath manager Jim Weir said: “I’m delighted with the three points. We got an early goal with a great cross and a great header, then Robbie scored a second one which gave us a half-time cushion.
“Two-nil is a hard lead to defend, as a goal back for them would give them a lift. We defended well and over the 90 minutes, our win was fully deserved.
“We are aiming to get as high up the league as we can. At the moment we are in the play-off position, with Clyde below us with games in hand.
“We showed a bit of character today while Phil McGuire came into the middle of our defence and was excellent. “I think the referee was right to overrule his linesman. It is a rule we have all complained about for a number of years, but it is a rule which is there for us all to abide by.
“I’m delighted for Robbie Ross who has come in and got his goal. His effort was fantastic.”
RECHIN boss Jim Duffy admitted his side deserved to lose their seven-game unbeaten league record. First-half goals from Steven Hislop and Robbie Ross handed Arbroath the bragging rights in the Angus derby. But they earned the win and City gaffer Duffy agreed. He said: "I've no complaints about the result.
"We were flat and there was no real spark about our play."
Arbroath got off to a flying start by shocking neighbours City with a goal inside the first minute.
Steven Doris crossed from the right and Hislop was in quickest to direct a low header past Craig Nelson.
The home team had a chance to equalise in 10 minutes but Charlie King's free-kick was well saved by keeper Darren Hill.
Lichties' second, on the half hour, came in controversial circumstances. The linesman's flag was up but ref John Beaton waved play on as Doris found Ross who made no mistake.
And it should have been 3-0 just after the break when Ewan Moyes' header picked out Hislop who ballooned over from close in. Arbroath gaffer Jim Weir said: "We defended well and showed character.
"I was delighted with Phil McGuire.He hasn't play ed for a while but was excellent and showed his class."