East Craigie Swifts got the new season off the perfect start with a 4-1 victory against Arbroath at Craigie Park. The hosts managed to go through the entire league campaign unbeaten last season, winning 18 games out of 18, and were 2-0 up inside 10 minutes’ courtesy of goals from Keir Gardener and Leon Gibson. Arbroath halved the deficit early in the second half but Gibson would go on to find the net twice more in the second half and secure all 3 points.
East Craigie started the game on the front foot, with Arbroath keeper Arran Lyall tipped away Jordan Conway’s low effort after just 40 seconds. It wouldn’t take long for the hosts to open the scoring. A low cross fell at the feet of Keir Gardener, who sent a well struck effort curling past Lyall after 3 minutes.
The early pressure on the Arbroath goal continued as Conway sent a strike just wide of the goal from the top of the box. Cameron Christie was next to try his luck but his effort was saved by Lyall. However, the consistent pressure was about to tell.
With 9 minutes played Christie picked out Leon Gibson on the left hand side of the penalty area. The striker stepped inside the defender and showed excellent composure too slot the ball under Lyall and double his sides lead. It was a nightmare start for Arbroath who were struggling to get out of their own half due to the relentless pressure.
Christie was continuing to cause Arbroath problems. This time the midfielder played a neat one-two with Gardner but Lyall managed to smother the midfielders shot. Half way through the half, Arbroath made a double change that saw Alex Martin and Cameron Meldrum replace Ben Sellars and Ryan Napier.
This change seemed to spark the visitors into life and they started to put East Craigie under some pressure. After a series of corners Argyle Cairns managed to get a shot away, but his effort was blocked before it could trouble the goalkeeper.
Cairns would have Arbroath’s best chance of the half on the half hour mark. Calvin Wood’s delivery from the wing landed at the feet of Cairns, but his effort on the turn was wide of the mark.
As the half time break approached the game opened up. East Craigie’s Brandon Black sent on a cross from the right that hit the crossbar before going out of play. From this, Arbroath went up the other end of the pitch and nearly scored.
The impressive Cairns managed to get Brandon Prouse in behind and he picked out Craig Tosh. His effort was well blocked by the recovering Aidan Mcirvine. The half ended with Arbroath improving, but still trailing by two goals to nil.