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)

Forfar Athletic 4 (6) Annan Athletic 2 (4) (League Two Promotion Play-Off Semi Final Second Leg) 13th May 2017

Despite a second half scare, Forfar Athletic advanced to the final of the League Two Promotion Play-Offs after a 4-2 win over Annan Athletic on Saturday.

After coming from behind on Wednesday, the Loons went 3-0 up before Annan pulled two goals back with Forfar adding a fourth to kill the tie and win 6-4 on aggregate.

One change was made from the first leg with Andy Munro dropping to the bench to be replaced by Eddie Malone.

Forfar started off strongly with Martyn Fotheringham seeing his low driven effort pushed wide before Thomas O’Brien rattled the crossbar from the resulting corner in the opening five minutes.

O’Brien did well at the other end in the tenth minute as he raced back to deny Aidan Smith as the Annan striker shaped up to shoot.

The corner from this was cleared and Forfar broke away; Martyn Fotheringham delivered an inch perfect ball from his own half for Swankie to run on to and slip under the advancing Blair Currie.

The visitors came close to an equaliser almost instantly with the experienced Gavin Skelton seeing his long range effort deflected wide.

Danny Denholm tested Currie again with the keeper parrying his shot but Chris McLaughlin couldn’t get the rebound on target.

Smith had another great chance for the visitors on the half hour mark when he pounced on some slack defensive work; Grant Adam got a hand to his lob taking the sting out of it but Eddie Malone had to get back to clear the danger.

Just sixty seconds later Annan paid for this as Forfar went two ahead; Jamie Bain’s cross was met by Jim Lister with his shot hitting the post before finding the net. The goal was awarded to Lister and Denholm, who followed it up, by different media outlets however the highlights showed it was indeed Lister’s goal.

The Loons were further in front after 36 minutes as Fotheringham gave David Cox the ball and the attacker set up Swankie for his second of the afternoon.

Annan looked a different side at the start of the second half and pulled a goal back from the penalty spot after 49 minutes. Adam fouled Smith for the second penalty this week and it was the attacker who stepped up to fire it under the keeper.

The visitors could have had another goal almost straight from kick off as a slack pass presented Nathan Flanagan with a chance but despite weaving his way into the box he could only shoot straight at Adam.

Swankie and Lister tested Currie again but it was Jim Chapman’s side who grabbed the next goal to make it 3-2 on the day and 5-4 on aggregate. Substitute Darren Ramsay forced his way through the defence before coolly slotting it home after 66 minutes.

Any nerves in the home support subsided six minutes later when Swankie squared the ball for Jamie Bain to control and place past the keeper for his first goal of the season.

Sub David McKenna nodded over the bar from six yards before Lister flicked a header past the post from a Bain cross as both sides threatened in the final fifteen minutes.

Swankie was keen to grab a hat trick and came close in the 78th minute after latching on to a Denholm ball but his shot from a tight angle was pushed wide by Currie.

The result means that the Loons will take on Peterhead in the final after the Blue Toon defeated Montrose 4-1 on aggregate. The first leg will be on Wednesday at Station Park with the second leg at Balmoor next Saturday.

Forfar Athletic: Adam, Bain, McLaughlin, Fotheringham (Milne 87), O’Brien, Travis, Cox, E Malone, Lister (A Malone 82), Swankie, Denholm (Scott 82)

Subs not used: Munro, Peters, McCawl, McGovern (gk)

Annan Athletic: Currie, Home, Stewart (McKenna 73), Krissian, Swinglehurst, Skelton (Wright 82), Omar, Cuddihy, Weatherston, Smith, Flanagan (Ramsay 58)

Subs not used: Osadolor, Lucas, Watson, Mitchell (gk)

Annan Athletic 2 Forfar Athletic 2 (League Two Promotion Play-Off Semi Final First Leg) 10th May 2017

Forfar Athletic pulled themselves back from the dead as two late goals earned them a 2-2 draw with Annan Athletic in the League Two play off semi final first leg. 

After Peter Weatherston and Aidan Smith sent Annan two goals up, Michael Travis pulled one back before Martyn Fotheringham scored an exquisite free kick to set up an exciting second leg on Saturday.

Gary Bollan tinkered with his line up again with a new formation as Andy Munro and Martyn Fotheringham started in place of Josh Peters and Eddie Malone.

Jim Lister saw his shot blocked in the opening sixty seconds but it was the hosts who took the lead after just three minutes; Aidan Smith’s cross was nodded home by the unmarked Peter Weatherston.

Jamie Bain sliced wide after forcing his way into the box before Michael Travis’ deflected effort spun into the area but Lister couldn’t get a clear shot away before it bounced out.

Annan had a great chance to double their advantage in the 15th minute when Grant Adam slipped, taking Smith down as well. The spot kick from the attacker was saved but he was more than happy to net the rebound.

The hosts could have had a third three minutes later as Weatherston took down a Rabin Omar cross but his shot was too powerful and flew over the bar with Adam beaten.

Swankie and Omar fired over for either side while Denholm and Lister nodded wide before half time as Forfar looked to find a way back into the game.

Thomas O’Brien made a great run back to deny Smith three minutes after the break with the striker teeing up to shoot and a counter attack led to David Cox heading Swankie’s cross over the bar.

In the 56th minute Swankie set up Cox and his cross was met by Bain but he couldn’t keep his acrobatic effort down.
Two minutes later McLaughlin found Bain again; his header parried by Blair Currie before being cleared.

Smith came close to another shortly after the hour mark with a long range effort floating past the post.

Bain nodded over in the 68th minute but Forfar came closer to a goal two minutes later when Cox rattled the crossbar from just inside the box before seeing a header cleared off the line.

Adam had to look sharp to tip an Omar free kick from 25 yards over the bar as the game entered the final quarter of an hour.

Forfar pulled a goal back with ten minutes left when Michael Travis rose to nod Swankie’s corner home and it was 2-2 a minute later. Fotheringham sent a beautiful free kick in via the top corner.

The popular Loons midfielder hit the wall with another free kick in the 84th minute with Denholm firing wide from the rebound.

Swankie came close with a curled effort that skimmed the roof of the net with Forfar looking likely to grab a late winner.

Smith sent a header into the side netting late on for the hosts as an entertaining game came to a close.
Annan Athletic: Blair Currie, Callum Home, Jean Guy Lucas, Raffi Krissian, Stephen Swinglehurst, Gavin Skelton, Rabin Omar, Barry Cuddihy, Peter Weatherston, Aidan Smith, Nathan Flanagan 

Subs not used: Stephen Bronsky, Przemyslaw Dachnowicz, Peter Watson, Alex Mitchell (gk)

Forfar Athletic: Grant Adam, Jamie Bain, Chris McLaughlin, Martyn Fotheringham, Michael Travis, Andy Munro, David Cox, Thomas O’Brien, Jim Lister, Gavin Swankie, Danny Denholm

Subs not used: Stuart Malcolm, Marc Scott, Lewis Milne, Aiden Malone, Eddie Malone, Josh Peters, Joe McGovern (gk) 

Interview with Forfar Athletic defender Chris McLaughlin

Chris McLaughlin was delighted to help Forfar Athletic get back to winning ways and reckons it was one of his best performances as the Loons defeated Clyde 3-0.

The impressive left back is keen to help Gary Bollan’s side lift the League Two title and hopes his performances can secure him a new contract at parent club Ross County.

19 year old McLaughlin reckons displays such as Saturday’s are the true reflection of the Loons after last week’s derby defeat.

He said: “It was good to get the win, we needed to do that, especially with the result last week but then Arbroath ended up getting beat as well. In the two previous games we played brilliantly but then we had that slip up last week but got a lifeline so I’m happy with the result today, we’re back to the way we usually play.”

The defender was also pleased with his performance however he was gutted not to get on the scoresheet with a powerful effort cannoning off the post in the second half.

“I think that was one of the better games I’ve played; I could have scored one but it came back off the post, I thought it was coming straight back to me but these things happen, it’s a game of football so I just need to carry that on to next week’s performance as well.”

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McLaughlin also reckons that next week will be a tough match with both the Loons and Cowdenbeath still playing for something at this stage of the season.

“Cowdenbeath will be fighting for their lives but we’re fighting for promotion and the championship so that tells us the main achievement here, I only joined in January but that’s why I am here, to try to help the team win the title and hopefully we get the job done.”

“If Arbroath drop points, hopefully we get the win and that’s us but we just need to take it game by game and hopefully we keep that run of form up.”

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McLaughlin admits he is loving life at Station Park since joining in January but is also eying a new contact at the Premiership side with his current deal due to run out this summer.

“It’s been good, the boys are brilliant, I train on Thursdays and I make Tuesdays if I’m not up with Ross County but it’s great, especially if we’re playing football like that today, the boys are buzzing off it.”

“I’m waiting to find out if I get a new contract at County but if I have performances like that I’d say I’d be pushing in the gaffer’s head with the feedback Forfar give to him so hopefully it all works out in the end and I get a new contract at the end of the season.”

Forfar Athletic 1 Dundee 3 (Martyn Fotheringham Testimonial) 21st March 2017

Martyn Fotheringham was rewarded with his testimonial last night and despite Dundee winning 3-1, the night was all about the midfielder.

A decent crowd appeared at a chilly Station Park to support Foxy after ten years at the club, including several former team mates and friends, some of whom appeared on the bench.

Former Loons Paul Watson, Iain Campbell, Mark Baxter and Charlie King were the special guests with all four making an appearance at one point or another in the second half.

Before the match started, Foxy was presented with awards from both sides and his family as the teams lined up, fans also showing their appreciation for the midfielder.

Both sides had chances to score early on; Faissal El Bakhtaoui denied by Grant Adam while Josh Peters’ couldn’t divert a Marc Scott cross past Mitchell.

The main man of the evening almost netted what everyone wants to do in their testimonial in the 18th minute, a fierce free kick had to be beaten away by Mitchell at his near post.

Dundee took the lead on the half hour mark when Danny Williams lashed home however the scores were level four minutes later; Fotheringham and Marc Scott combining to set up Peters and he rolled the ball past Mitchell before netting.

At half time Iain Campbell came on to replace Andy Munro in the first special appearance of the night.

Dundee went ahead with two quick goals within the first ten minutes of the second half as El Bakhtaoui fired home two impressive goals following his spectacular weekend effort.

The game petered out with both sides making substitutions; Paul Watson, Mark Baxter and Charlie King all appearing from the bench in the last half hour.

Fotheringham himself was substituted with minutes left to allow him to receive a massive round of applause as he left the field.

All in all it was a fantastic night for Foxy to reward him for his ten years of service with the club with the result far less important.

Forfar Athletic: Grant Adam (Jason King 60), Murray Mackintosh (Mark Baxter 75), Michael Kennedy (Chris McLaughlin 60), Stuart Malcolm (Jamie Bain 82), Andy Munro (Iain Campbell 46), Martyn Fotheringham (Frankie Devine 88), Jamie Gill, Eoghan McCawl (Paul Watson 60), Josh Peters (Matthew Aitken 46), Aiden Malone (Charlie King 75), Marc Scott

Dundee: David Mitchell, Sam Dryden, Danny Williams, Kostadin Gadzhalov (Ian Smith 12), Matty Smyth, Marc Klok, Nick Ross (Connor Coupe 67), Daniel Higgins, Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Mark Smith 60), Craig Wighton, Conor Quigley (Brian Rice 46)

Edinburgh City 0 Forfar Athletic 1 (League Two) 21st January 2017

Edinburgh City 0

Forfar Athletic 1
David Cox 36 pen

It was a game of two penalties as Forfar Athletic’s 1-0 win over Edinburgh City extended their League Two lead to eight points on Saturday.

After Ousman See missed a 10th minute penalty for City, David Cox fired home from the spot for Forfar to seal a hard fought win as rivals Arbroath lost to Annan Athletic.

The Loons made one change from last week’s draw with Stirling Albion as Jim Lister’s injury meaning he gave way for debutant Eddie Malone.

Danny Denholm had the first half chance of the game just three minutes in when he curled a free kick wide of the mark.

The hosts were awarded a great chance to open the scoring seven minutes later; Grant Adam knocking John Dunn over in his attempts to gather a loose ball. Ousman See stepped up but Adam redeemed himself by saving the spot kick.

Josh Peters had a shot blocked following a Cox lay off before the latter sent a lob wide as he failed to capitalise on Joe Mbu’s poor passback.

It was Gary Bollan’s men who went in to half time ahead with a penalty of their own ten minutes before the break. Jamie Bain thundered his way down the left flank and after weaving in to the box he was fouled by Shaun Harrison.

Cox slotted the penalty past December’s League Two player of the month Andrew Stobie for his eighth of the season.

The second half started frustratingly for City with Forfar soaking up their pressure while the Loons’ own attacks were nullified largely by Mbu.

Dunn saw his effort diverted wide shortly after the hour mark and the resulting corner was missed by a host of white shirts.

Action was at a minimum with neither side creating much of note; Craig Beattie fired wide minutes after coming on when he should have done better in the 75th minute before Dunsmore sent a long range effort over the bar.

The Loons came close to grabbing a second late on to kill the game with both Lewis Milne and sub Eoghan McCawl seeing efforts go wide of Andrew Stobie’s goal.

Gary Bollan’s men now host bottom side Cowdenbeath next week looking to continue their unbeaten run.

Edinburgh City: Andrew Stobie, Aaron Dunsmore, Gordon Donaldson (Douglas Gair 78), Shaun Harrison, Marc Laird, Chris McKee, Ian McFarland (Mark McConnell 81), Dean Cummings (Craig Beattie 69), Ousman See, John Dunn, Joe Mbu

Subs not used: Ross Guthrie, Ross Allum, Jordan Caddow, Callum Antell (gk)

Forfar Athletic: Grant Adam, Jamie Bain, Eddie Malone, Thomas O’Brien, Andy Munro, Michael Travis, Josh Peters (Eoghan McCawl 78), Lewis Milne, David Cox, Gavin Swankie (Marc Scott 71), Danny Denholm

Subs not used: Stuart Malcolm, Michael Kennedy, Kerr Hay, Matthew Aitken, Joe McGovern (gk)

Annan Athletic 1 Forfar Athletic 2 (League Two) 7th January 2017

Annan Athletic 1
Max Wright penalty 21

Forfar Athletic 2
Jim Lister 37, Callum Home own goal 48

Forfar Athletic came from behind for the fourth game in a row as they defeated Annan Athletic 2-1 at Galabank.

After going behind to a Max Wright penalty, Jim Lister’s equaliser alongside an own goal from Annan full back Callum Home meant the three points came back up the road with the Loons.

Four changes were made from Monday’s 2-2 draw with Elgin City as Eoghan McCawl, Josh Peters, Michael Kennedy and the suspended Stuart Malcolm were replaced by Lewis Milne, Michael Travis, Jim Lister and Thomas O’Brien.

The league leaders started off well with David Cox and Michael Travis going close while the former forced Annan keeper Blair Currie in to action.

Jim Chapman’s side were awarded a great chance to open the scoring in the 21st minute when Max Wright was bundled over by Jamie Bain in the box. The winger stepped up to send Grant Adam the wrong way.

Five minutes later Forfar threatened when Cox and then Martyn Fotheringham had chances however they were denied by the Annan defence as players threw themselves in front of the efforts.

Raffi Krissian should have done better with his effort shortly before the half hour mark; a corner made its way out to the centre back who blasted over the bar from the edge of the box.

Gavin Swankie’s deflected effort flew wide and Thomas O’Brien nodded into the keeper’s arms from Lewis Milne’s corner. 

The latter set up the opener eight minutes before the break with a perfect cross that was bulleted home by Lister. Following the goal they were forced in to an early change when Martyn Fotheringham went off injured to be replaced by Eoghan McCawl.

Lister and Milne came close for the Loons as they attempted to complete a turn around before half time with Currie making saves from the pair.

Gary Bollan’s men forced themselves in front just two minutes into the second half.

A Travis throw found Cox and after his shot was spun away from goal, Lewis Milne collected the ball before seeing his effort diverted in to the net by the unfortunate Callum Home.

Milne almost added a third in the 50th minute but once again saw his shot deflected over after Lister’s cross found him.

The game started to quieten down as the fog surrounding Galabank began to make visibility poor for both sides. 

Annan’s latest signing Smart Osolador fired past the post with twenty minutes left in the closest the hosts came to scoring in the second half.

Cox threatened three times in the final fifteen minutes as he looked to kill the game before winger Danny Denholm saw his shot saved by Currie in the dying stages.

Result elsewhere for Arbroath and Elgin mean it’s as you were at the top of League Two with Forfar hosting Stirling Albion next week.

Annan Athletic: Blair Currie, Callum Home, Jean Guy Lucas (Adam Asghar 86), Raffi Krissian, Peter Watson, Gavin Skelton, Rabin Omar, Nathan Flanagan, David McKenna (Aidan Smith 68), Max Wright (Prezmyslaw Dachnowicz 69), Smart Osalodor

Subs not used: Stephen Bronsky, Tony Ribeiro, Ellis Pearson.

Forfar Athletic: Grant Adam, Michael Travis, Jamie Bain, Andy Munro, Thomas O’Brien, Martyn Fotheringham (Eoghan McCawl 38), Jim Lister, Lewis Milne (Josh Peters 78), David Cox, Gavin Swankie, Danny Denholm

Subs not used: Michael Kennedy, Marc Scott, Kerr Hay, Allan Smith, Joe McGovern (gk)