Stenhousemuir 1 Arbroath 2: Stenny unlucky to lose to leaders

Stenhousemuir players celebrate McGuigan's opener
Stenhousemuir players celebrate McGuigan's opener

A resilient Stenhousemuir were defeated by League One leaders Arbroath on Saturday, despite having taken a first half lead.

Despite the contrast in league positions before kick off, visitors Arbroath knew that the Warriors would provide tough opposition in a competitive league.

McGuigan was all smiles after giving his side the lead

McGuigan was all smiles after giving his side the lead

A strong wind and the artificial surface made playing conditions tricky and Stenhousemuir started quickly as Sean Dickson forced Arbroath keeper Darren Jamieson into an low save after only six minutes.

Arbroath hit back in the 13th minute when Ryan Wallace latched onto a Gavin Swankie cross before forcing keeper Graeme Smith to parry the ball out for a corner.

Mark McGuigan fired Stenny into the lead in the 24th minute with a left foot angled drive across goal as he latched onto a Seb Ross pass which just evaded defender Ricky Little.

Michael McKenna hit the post from 16 yards in the 39th minute before Wallace forced Smith into a stunning save on the stroke of half time as the Lichties began to find their rhythm.

Harry Paton returned to Ochilview

Harry Paton returned to Ochilview

Stenny, though, led at the break.

A free kick early in the second half gave Bobby Linn the chance to test Smith but his strike curled over the bar.

A perfect pass into the Stenhousemuir box by Colin Hamilton was controlled beautifully by Swankie who forced Ruaridh Donaldson to handle with a cutback.

Referee Mike Roncone pointed to the spot after consultation with his assistant and Wallace calmly pulled the Lichties level as he struck his penalty into the bottom right corner.

Ryan Wallace came close to grabbing his second minutes after but his clever lob was pushed away for a corner by Smith.

Stenhousemuir were always a threat with McGuigan leading the line, and in the 75th minute he should have really tested Jamieson but headed wide after finding space in Arbroath’s six yard box.

There is little room for error in League One and Stenhousemuir were punished just five minutes later.

Swankie was again involved as he controlled a Wallace header on the edge of the box before getting a call from substitute Ryan McCord who ran in and curled the ball past Smith and into the far corner.

Substitute Danny Denholm was twice denied by the fingertips of Smith as Arbroath searched for a third goal in the remaining minutes.

2-1 it remained, and that means Stenhousemuir sit bottom of League One after seven matches – although in such a tight league, they remain just four points from the play-off places.

Arbroath are four points ahead of second place Raith, and a huge seven ahead of Airdrionians in third.