Lichties stay bottom with home loss to Stranraer.

Last updated : 07 September 2004 By Simon

Arriving at Gayfield just as the team lineouts were being read out, there didn’t seem to be any surprises. We lined up with Woodcock, McMullen, Beith, Rennie, Bishop, Trialist (McLeaod), Miller, MacDonald, McLean, Henslee and Swankie. On the bench were McAulay, Brazil, Cook, Farquharson and Inglis.

There was a high wind blowing round Gayfield, which had a rather poor crowd of only 405. With Cuisck still injured Miller was Captain again, and having won the toss, he opted to play with the wind, and we were attacking the harbour end in the first half. Stranraer’s keeper plodded up to the Harbour end with some early chants about his weight. As Stranraer kicked off it was Swankie who created the first opening running down the right wing, before putting in an early cross, however there was nobody there to put it away. As things settled down, the ball was being kicked up and down the park. Arbroath’s best chance of the first half came in the 8th minute when their goalkeeper somehow managed to make a fingertip save from the head of McLean. Minutes later MacDonald had an effort from around 20 yards, but their keeper had no problem in saving this shot.

Arbroath held there breathe as what was some good skill by McLeod to control the ball, almost turned into a disaster as he slipped, as he was away to clear. As the play switched Arbroath were lucky not to concede, with Sharp heading a shot from about 5 yards out. Woodcock just managing block it for a corner. The resulting corner was another close shave for Arbroath with the shot again being knocked out for a corner at the other side. Arbroath’s next chance was really a bit of improvisation from Swankie. His back was to goal from about 25 yards out and he tried to hook a shot over his head as their keeper scurried back to his box, the idea was right, but the shot was too wild and just went out for a goal kick.

Stranraer were starting to have more joy and were getting a lot of freedom down our right hand side. Swift and Graham for Stranraer were seeing plenty of the ball, and there were numerous misses for Stranraer. The best of these who fell to swift who failed to score at the back post from 2 yards. A great fingertip save was needed from Woodcock in the 25th minute, resulting in another corner.

In the 28th minute, Swankie who was seeing plenty of the ball put in another great cross, but alas there was nobody there to score. In the 30th minute, we got a free kick out on the right wing. Beith took it into a crowded box that see McLean again unlucky getting on the end of it.

In the 38th minute Swankie battled and won the ball, before playing across field to McMullen, however the ball broke to Miller who had a decent shot at goal from 20 yards out but the keeper again managed to save.

McMullen got onto the ball in his own box before running the length of the pitch, before he was unlucky to fall over the ball by three Stranraer players pressuring him. His desire and strength were rewarded as the ball came out from under his body and hit off a defender for an Arbroath corner.

Another run from Swankie brought out a fingertip save from their goalie who was becoming more Goram-esq by the minute. This resulted in 2 corners and this brought out some increased pressure from Arbroath and we had at least another two half chances in this melee.

The end of the half seen a 35 shot from McMullen curl away from Goals.

Arbroath were treated to some Peter Andre, Blazin Squad (?) and some Missy Elliot who wanted to pass some Dutch. Kinky! The 50/50 ticket was 0837, I had 0857!!!!!! Arse!

The understatement of the day came from the PA announcer when he said as he “was having some problems” today with the scores. Do we have any budget left for a new microphone? Maybe we could get a new PA announcer on a bosman!

Second Half and no changes to either team.

Arbroath Kicked off and had some early pressure and won a corner in the first minute. Seven minutes later Swankie put in another great cross, but again nobody there to put it away. Another Swankie run down the left wing resulted in a Henslee shot from 18 yards, but it seemed there was nothing we could do to beat their keeper. On the 60th minute their number 10 with a skunk like haircut had a fantastic chance to score!

In the 65th minute Stranraer won a free kick from a foul on Miller. Everyone could hear what Bishop thought as he saw that the referee had signalled that Stranraer had won it. I think his words were something like “fucking hell ref”. Perhaps their number 4 had played rugby in a previous career, as all he got was 3 points and a seagull with the resulting free kick. Stranraer Substituted Donnachie for Jenkins in the 63rd minute.

Arbroath oh so nearly beat their goal drought in the 67th minute, when we won a free kick about 22 yards out, slightly to the right of their goal. The fans behind the goal watched as Swankie struck the ball and it made its way past the wall towards the goal, cruelly and unfortunately the ball hit the post and somehow stayed out.

This seemed to bring their bench to life and their manager was even more vocal, again our bench today was rather quiet. Their manager was even more animated as sharp missed another shot for Stranraer.

In the 70th minute Swankie again played another great ball into the box, this time the ball fell to Miller who was in yards of space, failed to convert to the agony of the home crowd. Miller had a better game in the middle again, but again had times when his control failed him. There were two chances from a throw in the first half he gave the ball away when in acres of space up field. Arbroath’s substitution in the 71st minute came about with Cook coming on for McMullen.

Minutes later Swankie again broke down the left wing. This time again his perfect cross-arrived at the back post for MacDonald. He was in acres of space and all alone, but somehow managed to fall into a heap over the ball instead of toe-poking the ball into the net.

A foul on Miller in the 74th minute seen him being replaced by Brazil. A new younger PA announcer had Swankie coming off, if this had happened there would have been hell! At the same time Stranraer replaced Aitken for Gaughan. Another Swankie cross was not met, and we were to pay for this. There little winger latched on to the ball from 20 yards out and smashed the ball past Woodcock. The shot wasn’t into the top corner and maybe a small doubt if Woodcock should have saved it, but to be fair it was a decent strike.

We made our last substitution in the 80th minute with Farquharson replacing MacDonald. Stranraer then held onto the ball for the remaining 10 minutes, Arbroath trying to break them down, but to no avail. To waste some more time, Stranraer made their last substitution and brought on McCutcheon on for Graham. Arbroath’s last effort was a weak overhead kick from McLean in a crowded box.

Full time whistle blew to leave us in our worst start to a season ever.

A poor crowd of 405 witnessed Arbroath play the best they have played in recent weeks. A match that seen no cards shown by the referee! Surely another first at Gayfield. Swankie was my man of the match for his wing play and the amount of chances he created. Still at times we were just thumping the ball into the air, letting Swankie and McLean to chase the ball. As soon as we started to play the ball on the deck we were better. We need McGlashan or someone back in the midfield as our biggest problem is still getting the ball from defence to attack.

A better performance than last week, but well to be honest that wouldn’t be hard. We desperately need a goal, and well to be honest if it wasn’t for Alloa being as just as bad as ourselves then we would have been left at the bottom!

C’mon Arbroath!!!! We must improve!!!!! Smokies and Wine!!!!

Thanks to smokie_bacon_crisps for a great report! Shame it wasn't of a Lichtie win!