Ploughing uphill - tough and deflating

Last updated : 06 March 2010 By Fargone

killer blowLovely mild afternoon at Gayfield with no wind.  Arbroath's lineup was the same as last week's with Hislop, back from suspension replacing Lunan in the starting lineup.   Third successive home game in a row and, unbelievably, we were looking of our third successive win against potential relegation rivals - disappointment was inevitable.

Arbroath started well forcing early corners.  From one, on the right, the ball broke to Redman who ran at speed into the box and was sharply `taken out'  for a clear penalty after about 5 minutes.  Hislop steppped up but sent a weak shot to McCluskey's left allowing n easy save.  Still we continued to press forward and a nice move starting on the left where McLean sent over a ball or Hislop to head on to Redman who controlled it, created space  and hammered in a great angled finish low into the right-hand corner.  Maybe that penalty miss wouldn't matter.

Thereafter, Stenny came back into it.  Their defence tightened up, the midfield closed us quickly and denied us space out wide.   Doris seemed quiet and Hislop struggled to get into the game.   The away team forced a series of corners and, as we struggled to clear Moyes misjudged the flight of a high ball back into the box to foul the Stenny player.    Motion stepped up with a cooll finish to Hill's left despite the keeper guessing correctly.

ploughingWe stirred oursleves as an attacking force for the last few minutes but didn't come that close.  With no changes at halftime we stepped up a gear and looked threatening for a spell.  Hislop broke free and drew a great save from the keeper ater 50 minutes.   A series of corners createdconfusion in the opposition box but  a solid visiting defence held out

Stenny came more into it, holding the ball better in the middle third but without creating much up front.   A few Arbroath players looked off the pace yet only Lunan was subbed very late.    

When Thomson made an agricultural body challenge on Doris on the halfway line on 75 minutes, he deservedly received a second yellow.   Their tactics had been rather physical and robust all afternoon but the foul count was too high on both sides.  This was followed by wild lunge by Love on Booth out on the touchline and this prompted a straight red - the ref had no choice.    We got the ball into danger areas quite a few times in the last 15 minutes but good defending, insufficient guile and quality or delivery, and no breaks meant it finished stalemate.  It seems we need any goals these days to be absolute crackers - oh for some mediocre finishing of any kind

Stenny will feel it's a point gained, we've blown the chance to close the gap on potential rivals.   There were some positive aspects of the afternoon but in general the team looked less fluid and energetic than the second half against Dumbarton.   Hislop had a poor game on his return and Doris and Gibson, normally so critical, were surprisingly quiet.  Stenny were tenacious and we could'nt carve out much. Jamie Redman had a good afternoon and his contribution should have made the difference

Frustrating afternoon eventually but we didn't lose