Lichties lose to poor Alloa.

Last updated : 02 October 2004 By Simon

Arbroath: Inglis; McMullen, McLeod, Bishop, Donaldson, Rennie; Cusick, McDonald, Henslee; Swankie, McLean.

Subs: Brazil, Beith, Collier; McAulay; Woodcock.

Arbroath kicked off towards the Switchie facing into a strong wind blowing diagonally across the pitch from the sea. Most of the early constructive moves came from Alloa and Arbroath were finding it difficult to find their forward players. The best moves for the Lichties came from down the flanks when Cusick had time to feed the ball wide. Donaldson put in some useful crosses from open play and free kicks but nobody was there to put on a finishing touch. However most goalmouth action was at the other end and Inglis made several good stops from goalbound shots and was coping with the numerous corners won by the opposition. Although Alloa had the better share of possession, it looked as if the half would end scoreless until Callaghan let rip a strong shot from 25 yards that looked headed towards Inglis’ top left corner, however the ball smacked off Cusick, flew to the keeper’s right and into the net. Most fans felt that Arbroath could come good in the second half, as the wind would help them to hold the ball up the park. How wrong we were.

There is very little that need be said about play in the second half. Arbroath went further behind early on due to inept defending, and their body language showed they were a beaten side. They nearly conceded several more before Ingles appeared to punch a corner onto the bar and into the net, giving Callaghan a hat-trick (if the first wasn’t an o.g.) The Lichties won a few corners (Alloa seemed to win dozens) which came to nothing, McGlynn not being troubled, and the closest we came to a goal was when Rennie pushed the ball across the goalmouth from the right which the advancing McLean couldn’t quite reach. Brazil, Collier and Beith were introduced and showed some spirit and hard running, but this served simply to highlight the complete lack of shape, skill and discipline shown by the Lichties. To be totally outplayed by Alloa at home, with the visitors playing into a strong wind, is hard to take. The absence of McGlashan’s strength and leadership means that as soon as things go wrong the heads go down and the match is as good as lost. The first thing Cairney must do is to get a senior player to hold the team together when the going gets tough. There are not many choices at present – ex-captain McAuley is one possibility, to replace Cusick, who is constantly unfit and not warranting a place in the starting 11, in my opinion.

There can’t have been more than 100 Lichties fans in the ground at the death. A very poor performance from the Lichties, and also from the referee who made several unwarranted bookings and did not keep up with the play.