The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)
RedLichties‘playGers off park’butloseout
Rangers claimed for a penalty in the 11th minute when Lee McCulloch’s blistering shot seemed to strike Alan Cook’s arm but referee Euan Anderson was not interested.
Arbroath took the game back upfield and a Michael Travis header from a Paul Sheerin corner was not far away.
Soon after, McManus looked to have a strong shout for a penalty after being barged in the box but again the referee failed to be impressed.
Arbroath continued to look adventurous and Linn delivered a powerful shot which Bell gathered safely.
The deadlock was broken in the 19th minute when an unmarked Jon Daly headed home FraserAird’s corner to claim his 25th goal of the season.
The lack of marking obviously annoyed Arbroath player-manager Paul Sheerin but his men responded positively and another good run from Linn ended with the Arbroath midfielder shooting into the side netting.
The visitors came within inches of extending their lead in the 27th minute, however, when Aird’s 30 yarder cracked off the underside of the bar before being cleared.
Aird, who was arguably Rangers’ top performer, again came close just before the break with a free-kick which Sandy Wood punched away.
The frame of the goal again came toArbroath’s rescue 20 seconds into the second half as Travis headed against his own crossbar when trying to clear an Arnold Peralta cross.
The Lichties settled down again and were gifted an equaliser just after the hour mark when Frenchman Sebastain Faure made a hash of trying to clear the ball which landed at the feet of McManus.
The Arbroath marksmen was surprised to be given such an unexpected opportunity but he wasted no time in turning and firing low beyond Bell to raise home spirits.
Arbroath now looked the more likely side to steal a winner and with 12 minutes remaining Alan Cook came close when heading a Sheerin cross narrowly over the top.
But with three minutes to go Aird delivered a fatal blow to the home side’s hopes of ending Rangers’ 100% away league record when he nudged the ball over the line from close range after a Daly effort bobbled into his path.
Sheerin’s men went back on the offensive and McManus had a shot blocked before, in the fifth minute of injury time, centre-back Alex Keddie missed a golden opportunity to level the score.
Sheerin sent a free-kick deep into the danger area, Nicol headed it on and Keddie somehow managed to direct the ball over the top from less than two yards out.
Paul Sheerin believes his team should have taken something from the match and acknowledges this latest defeat leaves the Lichties with a mountain to climb if they are to preserve their League One status.
He said: “At 1-1 I thought we were the team who would go on to win the game, to be honest.” FORFAR ATHLETIC manager Dick Campbell said the hunger was lacking among his players as they sunk to 2-1 home reverse to lowly East Fife.
Campbell claimed the Fifers wanted the result more and no one could deny Gary Naismith’s side deserved the three points.
He said: “To say I am disappointed is an understatement.
“They were bad goals to lose from our point of view, never mind the timing of them.
“I can’t believe we went in at half time 2-1 down but East Fife battled hard and deserved to win.
“They wanted it more than us. We looked like we were going through the motions in the first half.
“I thought the referee could have given two penalties but that would be taking it away from East Fife if we had won today.
“It is disappointing as we would have been right back in it with the way results went, but now we have Rangers and Dunfermline away in our next two games.
“We had plenty to play for today but it did not look like it.
“I can’t believe after the run we were on we have come off the back of defeats to Airdrie and East Fife.”
Campbell admitted his side had been hit hard by injuries and suspensions but refused to use that as an excuse.
“It is the same for everyone. There was just something missing today and East Fife wanted it more than us.”
Fifers manager Gary Naismith admitted he was a very happy man.
“That is two different types of winning we have