Entertainment at its best.
City took a two goal lead, Arbroath stormed back to draw level. One player from each side was sent off. Then the game was decided in the home side’s favour by a disputed penalty kick in the final minute.
Make no mistake, it was enthralling from start to finish as both Elgin and Arbroath showed more than a few flashes of brilliance punctuated by moments of sloppiness on a day when the outcome was in doubt until the final whistle.
For City captain Archie McPhee, who was partly at fault for the Red Lichties’ crucial equalising goal, the result was hard to take. He said: “I’m absolutely devastated. We were 2-0 up and looking quite comfortable, then we lost silly goals.
“I was involved in that as well.
“I took too many touches when I should just have cleared my lines. These things shouldn’t be happening.
“We need to bounce back. Now we have a massive game against Forfar coming up so we have to regroup, go back to the drawing board and hopefully pick up three points from that one.
“We’ve lost eight games this season and although we’ve played well we’ve ended up losing because of bad decision-making. It’s not nice to lose like that, but we won’t get too down about it.
“We played some good football but we need to see games like this through if we are to be pushing hard at the top of the table. There’s a long way to go and we’ll just try to get a run going again.”
Elgin made a bright start and took the lead in the 18th minute when Brian Cameron powered into the box to shoot low beyond Ricky Gomes.
The visitors’ free-flowing football was causing the home defence problems and Shane Sutherland came close to extending City’s advantage three minutes later with a curling shot from the edge of the box which struck the inside of Gomes’ right hand post before being cleared.
Arbroath responded positively, however, and had strong claims for a penalty when a Josh Skelly shot was blocked by an Elgin defender. Ryan McCord then set up a chance for Bryan Prunty but the veteran turned his effort narrowly wide. The home side continued to press and Elgin goalkeeper Cammy Mackay did brilliantly to claw away a powerful Mark Whatley volley which appeared net-bound.
The Lichties started the second half on the front foot but were caught on the break when midfielder Chris McLeish ran half the length of the field to score in the 50th minute.
Prunty pulled one back three minutes later with a close-range header after a Bobby Linn shot had been blocked and within 60 seconds it was all square when Steven Doris bundled the ball home.
Arbroath were reduced to 10 men in the 69th minute when Jason Sukar was given his second yellow card and Elgin suffered the same fate four minutes later with Thomas Reilly also taking an early bath. Both decisions left the managers far from happy.
The game continued to swing from end to end but it was almost inevitable there would be a final slice of drama and it came in the 90th minute when Colin Hamilton went down inside the box under a challenge from former Lichties player Kieran Stewart.
Referee Mike Roncone had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and, with a hush falling over the ground, Doris stepped forward to confidently send Mackay the wrong way to give the home side all three points.