Ross County U20 2 Forfar Athletic 1 (Irn Bru Cup First Round) 15th August 2017

Forfar Athletic exited the Irn Bru Cup at the first hurdle following a 2-1 defeat to Ross County’s U20 side in Dingwall.

Goals from Billy McKay and Ross Maciver in the first half had the Staggies ahead and despite Mark Millar’s late free kick, the Loons couldn’t pull it back.

Forfar came into this after a 3-0 defeat at Ayr United while the young Staggies, including experienced striker Billy McKay, were not to be taken lightly after their SPFL Development League win last season.

The Loons made three changes from their weekend defeat with Andy Munro, Ousman See and debutant Paddy Cregg replacing Jim Lister, Michael Travis and the injured Simon Mensing.

Dylan Easton had the first opportunity in the fifth minute when David Cox’s cross was headed down by Marc Scott but the midfielder’s shot was blocked and eventually cleared.

County were unlucky not to go ahead two minutes later; James Wallace did well to get a shot away off balance however his effort crashed off the post with McCallum beaten.

Easton curled over shortly after but it was the hosts who took the lead after 24 minutes. Russell Dingwall teed up Billy McKay and he expertly lobbed McCallum. It was 2-0 within three minutes as Ross Maciver slotted home from inside the box.

Greg Morrison saw his shot turned over the bar by McCallum before McKay was also denied as the Staggies looked to add to their tally.

Forfar were unlucky not to pull one back on the stroke of half time; Paddy Cregg setting up Easton however his long range effort flew just over the bar.

Andy Munro nodded over from a Millar corner a minute into the second half before McKay saw a header held by McCallum at the other end.

Millar fired over in the 49th minute and from the goal kick, County were instantly on the attack with Morrison having his shot tipped wide.

Another Millar corner created a stramash that ended with Munro’s powerful strike blocked by Morrison as the game approached the hour mark.

In the 63rd minute a Conor Quigley throw was flicked on by Ousman See; allowing Michael Travis to connect with a volley that Ross Munro smothered.

Two minutes later Morrison weaved his way past two defenders but couldn’t net County’s third as his shot rattled the bar.

A long ball by Aitken up to Jim Lister was just inches too heavy by the youngster as the County keeper nipped it away before Lister could get a shot away.

Wallace thought he had scored with eight minutes left when he slipped the ball under McCallum but Munro did well to clear the ball off the line.

Forfar did pull a goal back in the 87th minute to give themselves some hope with a Millar free kick. See and Munro had efforts off target in injury time but the Staggies held on to go through to the next round.

Ross County U20: Ross Munro, Tom Kelly, Kyle Johnson, Sam Morrison, Tom Grivosti, Max Ashmore, Greg Morrison, Russell Dingwall, Billy McKay (Nathan Turner 66), James Wallace, Ross Maciver

Subs not used: Ben Johnston, Mark Gallagher, Jack Murray, Jack Grant, Joel MacBeath, Lee Herbert (gk)

Forfar Athletic: Marc McCallum, Jamie Bain, Conor Quigley, Paddy Cregg, Andy Munro, Eddie Malone, David Cox (Jim Lister 46), Mark Millar, Ousman See, Dylan Easton (Michael Travis 53), Marc Scott (Matthew Aitken 40)

Subs not used: Greg Warwick, Scott McBride, Michael Kennedy, Jason King (gk)

Ayr United 3 Forfar Athletic 0 (League One) 12th August 2017

Forfar Athletic were comfortably defeated 3-0 in their first away game in League One at Ayr United on Saturday.

Goals from Craig Moore and Declan McDaid had United ahead at half time before Robbie Crawford completed the scoring late in the second half.

The Loons made just one change from their opening day win over Airdrieonians, Ousman See dropping to the bench in favour of Dylan Easton.

The hosts had the first chance of the game six minutes in when Craig Moore nodded wide from a Craig McGuffie cross.

A counter attack on the quarter hour mark led to Marc Scott setting up Dylan Easton and the midfielder forced a terrific save from Jordan Hart.

Simon Mensing had a header cleared off the line with Eddie Malone’s follow up cleared shortly before Michael Moffat and Paddy Boyle were denied by Marc McCallum at the other end.

Ayr were awarded a penalty in the 32nd minute after Michael Travis was adjudged to have held Moffat; the hosts angered by the referee’s decision to award the spot kick after Michael Rose had netted.

Craig Moore stepped up to take the spot kick and was denied by McCallum, however the striker found the net with the rebound.

Malone headed wide from Jamie Bain’s cross as Forfar looked for a leveller, but it was the hosts who found the net again just four minutes after going ahead when Andy Geggan’s ball was flicked over the head of McCallum by Declan McDaid.

Travis powered a header over from another Millar corner on the stroke of half time.
Just five minutes into the second half and Malone was unlucky not to pull a goal back for the Loons; a Bain cross was met by a diving header and Hart had to look sharp to deny the former Ayr man.

Cox had an effort held before McGuffie was denied by an excellent save at the other end just before the hour mark.
Easton did well to win the ball back on the edge of the box in the 61st minute before cutting the ball back; Lister beating Hart but seeing his shot cleared off the line by Higgins.

There were chances wasted at both ends in quick succession as Moore sent an effort over the stand before Scott lobbed Hart at the other end; the ball landing on the roof of the net.

Former Loons loanee Rose curled a free kick over but they extended their lead with ten minutes left when Alan Forrest set up Crawford and he slipped the ball under the keeper.

Sub Ousman See had a couple of late chances to net a consolation with Easton also firing over but it wasn’t to be for Forfar against a strong Ayr side.

Ayr United: Jordan Hart, Chris Higgins, Paddy Boyle, Michael Rose, Andy Geggan, Michael Moffat (Alan Forrest 69), Robbie Crawford, Craig Moore, Declan McDaid (Brian Gilmour 75), Craig McGuffie (Craig Reid 62), Ross Docherty

Subs not used: David Ferguson, Stuart Faulds, Leon Murphy, Lyle Avci (gk)

Forfar Athletic: Marc McCallum, Jamie Bain, Conor Quigley, Eddie Malone (Scott McBride 74), Michael Travis, Simon Mensing, David Cox (Matthew Aitken 83), Mark Millar, Jim Lister (Ousman See 74), Dylan Easton, Marc Scott

Subs not used: Andy Munro, Greg Warwick, Michael Kennedy, Jason King (gk)

Forfar Athletic 1 Inverness Caledonian Thistle 2 (League Cup Group A) 29th July 2017

Inverness Caledonian Thistle got themselves out of a sticky situation as they came from behind to beat Forfar Athletic 2-1 at Station Park.

While Forfar finished bottom of Group A, Inverness finished second but failed to reach the second round through the back door.

Marc Scott put Forfar ahead after Liam Polworth missed a penalty however George Oakley and John Baird ensured all three points left Station Park with the visitors.

Inverness had the first opportunity five minutes in when George Oakley fired straight into Marc McCallum’s arms.

Eddie Malone blasted over from a Mark Millar lay off with Riccardo Calder failing to threaten McCallum with his effort at the other end.

Ousman See saw his shot blocked for the Loons but the visitors had a great chance to go ahead in the 31st minute when Jamie Bain committed a foul inside the box.

Liam Polworth stepped up to take the spot kick but couldn’t beat the keeper with McCallum diving the right way to deny the midfielder.

Both keepers were called into action to deny Jim Lister and John Baird but See should have put Forfar ahead however the summer signing blasted over.

The Loons took the lead just three minutes after the break; David Cox’s cross found Lister and after his shot was parried and spun up, Marc Scott nodded in from a yard out.

Scott almost grabbed an assist a minute later when he laid the ball off for Millar to fire over the bar.

Within six minutes of going behind Inverness were ahead; eventually penetrating the Forfar defence as Oakley slotted home from 25 yards after a poor clearance while John Baird rifled past McCallum from close range.

Polworth forced an impressive stop from McCallum before Michael Travis cleared an Oakley shot off the line.

See had another chance for the Loons when he rose to meet a Cox cross but couldn’t keep the header down.

He then set up Malone who shot inches over the bar from just inside the box.

Malone saw an excellent volley saved by Ridgers in the final fifteen minutes as the visitors scraped past Forfar.

Forfar now look to their league campaign, starting at home to Airdrieonians next Saturday.

Forfar Athletic: McCallum, Travis, Bain, Malone, Munro, Mensing, Cox (Aitken 79), Millar (McBride 50), Lister, See, Scott

Subs not used: Kennedy, Gill, Warwick, Easton, King (gk)

Inverness Caledonian Thistle: Ridgers, Raven, Chalmers, Elsdon, Polworth, Draper, Baird (Bell 83), Vigurs, Oakley (Zschusschen 70), Calder (Mulraney 75), McKay

Subs not used: Cooper, MacDonald, Esson (gk)

Forfar Athletic 6 Nairn County 1 (Pre-Season Friendly) 15th July 2017

The Loons completed their pre-season schedule with a comfortable 6-1 win at home to Nairn County on Saturday.

A Matthew Aitken hat-trick within 32 minutes along with Jim Lister’s header and Marc Scott saw Forfar five ahead at the break; Eddie Malone’s long range effort adding the sixth before Jack MacLean netted Nairn’s consolation.

Forfar fielded new signing Simon Mensing in defence along with a new trialist with none of the four trialists who played in the previous three games in the squad.

The trialist nodded wide of the mark in the fifth minute however sixty seconds later Jamie Bain’s cross was nodded in at the back post by Matthew Aitken.

Dylan Easton fired past the post shortly after prior to setting up Scott McBride, his effort held by Ryan MacLeod.

Aitken added a second in the 19th minute; Mark Millar’s corner fumbled was by the keeper and the young striker gleefully tapped home.

He completed his hat trick after 32 minutes as he rose to head home another Bain cross.

Sixty seconds later it was 4-0 as Jim Lister sent another header past the keeper from McBride’s cross.

Marc Scott added a fifth on the stroke of half time as he diverted a McBride ball in off the left hand post.

Four changes were made at half time with U20 Player of the Year Greg Warwick making his second appearance for the senior side, his first coming in October last season as a trialist against Edinburgh City.

The Loons scoring was completed five minutes after the break; Eddie Malone finding the top corner from 25 yards after being allowed far too much space by the visitors.

Aitken could have added a fourth just before the hour mark when he connected with a cross to the front post.

Nairn pulled a goal back in the 68th minute through sub Jack MacLean, who had been on the pitch for all of ten minutes. A lapse in concentration allowed MacLean in and he slipped the ball under Jason King.

Action was low in the final twenty minutes with the only real opportunity coming with five minutes left as David Cox fired over from close range from Jamie Gill’s cross.

The Loons begin their competitive season on Tuesday as they travel to Angus rivals Brechin City in their first League Cup Group A fixture.

Forfar Athletic: Marc McCallum (Jason King 60), Jamie Bain, Eddie Malone, Mark Millar (Michael Travis 46), Trialist (Andy Munro 46), Simon Mensing (David Cox 60), Marc Scott, Dylan Easton (Jamie Gill 46), Jim Lister (Greg Warwick 46), Matthew Aitken (Ousman See 60), Scott McBride

Nairn County: Ryan MacLeod (Dylan MacLean 57), Ryan MacDonald (Craig Munro 77), Cohen Ramsay, Callum McLean, Glenn Main, Adam Porritt (Callum Ednie 57), Adam Naismith, Kenny McKenzie (Jack MacLean 57), Dylan MacKenzie (Matty MacLeod 77), Jordan Macrae (Max Ewan 65), Ewen Urquhart

Forfar Athletic 1 Formartine United 1 (Pre-Season Friendly) 8th July 2017

Forfar Athletic continued their pre-season programme with an uneventful 1-1 draw at home to Highland League side Formartine United.

After falling behind to a Paul Lawson penalty, Andy Munro equalised with a header on the stroke of half time in their second of four friendlies in eleven days.

Four trialists were named in the starting line up along with U20 winger Jamie Gill while Dylan Easton made his first appearance from the bench.

There was little to shout home about in the first half with Wayne MacIntosh’s volley flying wildly over the bar the only thing resembling a chance in the first 15 minutes.

Marc Scott had an effort pushed away by Ewan MacDonald before the loose ball was cleared with the trialist wearing number ten lurking.

Former Montrose striker Garry Wood saw his shot parried by Marc McCallum however Scott Barbour could only watch as his goalbound effort was diverted past the post.

In the 37th minute the visitors took the lead from the penalty spot after Michael Travis fouled Wood; Paul Lawson stepped up and sent McCallum the wrong way.

The Loons pulled a goal back seconds before the break when Mark Millar’s free kick into the danger zone was bulleted past MacDonald by Andy Munro.

If anyone came up to Station Park to watch the second half, they were in for a shock with not much to report on.

Lawson came close for the visitors twice with long range efforts after the hour mark; his second curling inches past the post with McCallum beaten.

Forfar’s only clear cut opportunity in the second half fell to sub Scott McBride with his surging run ending in his shot curling into the arms of former Loon Andy Reid.

The side are back in action on Tuesday as they host former Loons manager Neil Cooper’s Inverurie Loco Works.

Forfar Athletic: Marc McCallum, Trialist, Jamie Bain, Trialist (Matthew Aitken 77), Andy Munro, Michael Travis, Marc Scott (Scott McBride 59), Mark Millar, Trialist (Ousman See 46), Trialist (Jim Lister 46), Jamie Gill (Dylan Easton 59)

Formartine United: Ewan MacDonald (Andy Reid 46), Calum Dingwall (Ross Gibbons 77), Archie McPhee, Paul Lawson, Scott Henry (Murray Esson 87), Wayne MacIntosh (Kieran Lawrence 65), Graham Rodgers (Sam Muirhead 46), Stuart Anderson, Scott Ferries (Cameron Heslop 89), Garry Wood (Jevan Anderson 48), Scott Barbour (Liam Burnett 46)

Forfar Athletic 4 Cove Rangers 2 (Pre-Season Friendly) 4th July 2017

Forfar Athletic defeated Cove Rangers 4-2 in their opening pre-season friendly on Tuesday at Station Park.

Goals from Michael Travis, Scott McBride, Matthew Aitken and a trialist sealed the win with Mitch Megginson and Paul McManus netting for the visitors.

Gary Bollan fielded three trialists from the start, including former Loons loanee Marc McCallum and ex-Montrose midfielder Kieran McWalter while two trialists made appearances from the bench.

The game got off to a slow start with Cove having the only clear cut chance of the opening quarter of an hour coming from Cove’s Harry Milne; his overhead kick flying over the bar from ten yards.

Forfar took the lead in the 19th minute after captain Michael Travis headed home Mark Millar’s corner at the back post.

The Loons weren’t ahead for long and just three minutes later Milne’s shot found its way to Mitch Megginson and he gleefully lashed past McCallum.

The trialist midfielder volleyed over while Ryan Strachan did the same at the other end with both sides beginning to carve out chances.

Marc Scott came closest to a second for Forfar in the first half however he could only fire wide from six yards.

Megginson was unlucky not to net again seven minutes before the break when his header was cleared off the line by Andy Munro.

The Loons did retake the lead just sixty second into the second half with another Millar corner; Scott McBride powering a header home on this occasion.

Shortly after the hour mark Jamie Masson rattled the crossbar with a fierce effort but just a minute later fellow substitute Paul McManus fired underneath McCallum to level the scores again.

With chances few and far between in the second half, there wasn’t much to write about until Matthew Aitken put Forfar ahead for the third time with ten minutes left; slotting through John McCafferty’s legs.

Jamie Buglass forced a good save from McCallum but it was Forfar who netted again when Aitken squared the ball for a trialist to bundle home at the near post.

Forfar Athletic: Trialist, Trialist, Jamie Bain, Trialist (Jamie Gill 70), Andy Munro, Michael Travis, Marc Scott (Trialist 80), Mark Millar, Jim Lister (Trialist 63), Ousman See (Matthew Aitken 58), Scott McBride

Subs not used: Michael Kennedy, Jason King (gk)

Cove Rangers: John McCafferty, Grant Campbell, Harry Milne (Jamie Buglass 80), Sam Burnett (Cameron Milne 66), Eric Watson, Darren Kelly, Dan Park (Jamie Masson 55), Ryan Strachan (Hamish McLeod 90), Mitch Megginson (Matthew McDonald 75), Connor Scully (Sam Robertson 67), Ryan Stott (Paul McManus 55)

Subs not used: Reigan Thomson, Stuart McKenzie (gk)

Forfar Athletic 2 Peterhead 1 (League One Play-Off Final First Leg) 17th May 2017

Forfar Athletic came from behind once again this season to take the advantage in the League One Play-Off Final with a 2-1 against Peterhead.

Despite going behind to an early Rory McAllister goal, the Loons came back through Martyn Fotheringham and Michael Travis following the Blue Toon’s Michael McMullin being sent off.

Gary Bollan fielded the same starting eleven that defeated Annan on Saturday with the only change being on the bench; Eoghan McCawl dropping out for Michael Kennedy.

Forfar got off to a bad start when Rory McAllister knocked home a Jamie Stevenson corner after just two minutes.Six minutes later Stevenson almost turned scorer but Grant Adam held his powerful effort.

Danny Denholm set up the Loons first effort in the 19th minute with Thomas O’Brien rising to meet it however he sent the ball wide.
Rory McAllister did the same at the other end two minutes later as the visitors looked to consolidate their lead.

O’Brien came close again from another set piece; his first effort blocked before sending his second flying over the bar.
David Cox had the Loons’ best chance of the first half after chesting down a punt from Adam; his low effort clawed away from goal by a scrambling Smith just after the half hour mark.

The final action of the first half saw O’Brien’s powerful free kick deflected over.

Cox came inches away from an equaliser again less than a minute into the second half as his curled shot fell inches wide with Graeme Smith beaten.

Three minutes later Peterhead were down to ten men when Michael McMullin was shown a second booking for diving in the box.

The Loons capitalised on this in the 53rd minute and it was none other than Martyn Fotheringham who grabbed the equaliser, firing a spectacular effort past Smith from 25 yards.

Scott Brown had a low driven effort held by Adam while O’Brien stung the hands of Smith with a 35 yard driven shot. 

With fifteen minutes to go it looked like it might be level going in to the second leg but Forfar grabbed a well worked goal to edge themselves in front.

O’Brien teed the ball up for Cox to deliver an inch perfect cross to the back post where Michael Travis bulleted home his third goal in four games.

They could have gone further ahead in the final stages of the game as Cox and Josh Peters saw efforts fly off target.

The final chance of the game fell to Peterhead sub Nathan Blockley as Adam was caught in no man’s land however his header was cleared off the line.

Forfar take the advantage going into the second leg at Balmoor this weekend as they eye promotion to League One at the second attempt.

Forfar Athletic: Adam, Bain, McLaughlin, Fotheringham (Milne 84), O’Brien, Travis, Cox, E. Malone, Lister (Peters 84), Swankie (A. Malone 64), Denholm

Subs not used: Munro, Kennedy, Scott, McGovern (gk)
Peterhead: G. Smith, Reid (McIntosh 56), McMullin, Strachan, Gordon, S. Brown, Stevenson (Blockley 60), Redman, McAllister, J. Brown (Ross 51), Anderson

Subs not used: Riley, Ferry, A. Smith, Hobday (gk)