I sent this report off to the Forfar Dispatch, they will more than likely cut loads off if they do use it, it was supposed to be 400 words and I ended up with 1,030, but this is it in full.
“Forfar Athletic progressed through to the 4th round of the Scottish Cup on Saturday after they survived another late comeback up north to beat Nairn County 3-2 in the third round replay.
The Loons were forced to make changes to last week’s starting XI, with Michael Dunlop and a suspension-free Martyn Fotheringham coming in for injury victim Danny Denholm and Omar Kader, who was at a wedding, while Charlie King dropped to the bench with Jamie Bishop also taking a place on the bench for only the second time this season. They took to the field in a 4-4-2 formation, with Mark McCulloch starting in midfield and Dunlop going to the right back position.
Forfar started the better team, looking to end a run of 4 games without victory, having several chances in the first 15 minutes, the best of which was from a corner kick by Iain Campbell, the ball falling to Dunlop who had a scuffed shot diverted towards goal by Bolochoweckyj but was stopped on the line by a Nairn defender, Loons players claiming for handball but were waved away by ref Euan Anderson.
In the 22nd minute Mark McCulloch played a ball through the defence for Swankie who shot straight at the keeper and when the ball fell to him again took too long to shoot and was dispossessed. Three minutes later Nairn had their first shot at goal when Mackintosh hit a shot from far out that just went wide. The Wee County almost punished some poor defending when former Forfar trialist Conor Gethins latched onto a long ball, beat two defenders near the byeline and squared it to Ellis, his shot being cleared off the line by Bolochoweckyj.
Forfar took the lead in the 41st minute, Chris Templeman heading a long ball into the box, and Gavin Swankie’s resulting shot causing a stramash in the box until it landed at Ross Campbell’s feet, who slotted home from 6 yards, much to the delight of the 60 or so Loons fans who made the long journey north to Scotland’s other Station Park.
Half Time: Nairn County 0 Forfar Athletic 1
Nairn had the first chance of the second half almost instantly when Gethins raced clear and looked to be one on one with Derek Soutar until Dunlop made a brilliant effort to track back and nick the ball off him when it he was ready to shoot. Six minutes later they almost equalised after Ellis’ shot whistled past the post from Glenn Main’s cross.
Gavin Swankie made it two in the 54th minute after great play, Chris Templeman won a header in the middle of the Nairn half which fell to Martyn Fotheringham, him and Swankie switched the ball to each other twice through the defence which led to Swankie placing it past the keeper. Nairn then made the first sub of the game three minutes later, Ellis being replaced by John Cameron.
The Loons looked to be safe and sound on the hour mark when Chris Templeman played in Swankie who cut the ball back across goal to Ross Campbell who slotted it under the keeper to make it three without reply. Nairn wouldn’t give up though, within 60 seconds they thought they had scored when Cameron’s shot from a tricky angle beat Soutar but was cleared just before it went in by Dunlop, who was playing brilliantly. Two minutes later Soutar went down injured after a mid-air collision with Andrew Neill but luckily was able to continue after treatment.
In the 64th minute Gethins troubled Forfar again when his teasing free kick was played in and MacDonald’s header cannoned off the crossbar back into play, the ball then coming out to Glenn Main, whose goal ward shot was headed away by Ross Campbell. Stephen Tulloch was then replaced by midfielder Barry Sellars, with McCulloch going to right back and Dunlop taking Tulloch’s place in the centre of defence.
Nairn piled on the pressure and were unlucky not to score yet again in the 67th minute when a cross was whipped into the Forfar box by Glenn Main and Mackintosh headed just wide. The first booking of the game occurred in the 72nd minute when Morrison went in on McCulloch with what looked like his studs up. Charlie King then came on for the last 15 minutes, Martyn Fotheringham the man coming off.
County then pulled a goal back with ten minutes to go, Forfar conceding in the last quarter of the game 5 games in a row. Excellent play from Conor Gethins allowed him to curl the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. Two minutes later Nairn were given a free kick in a dangerous position, Kevin Motion being given a yellow before hand for dissent. They almost scored from the free kick when Gethins took the shot but put it just over the bar. The Loons then raced up the park and almost added a fourth when Swankie beat a defender to cross into the box for Barry Sellars to nod in, but he failed to connect properly and the keeper gathered with ease.
The away fans must have thought déjà vu was away to strike when Nairn scored a second with three minutes to go of normal time, sub John Cameron stabbing from close range to make it 3-2. Chris Templeman was booked in added on time after Nairn were awarded a free kick and had tried to take it but hit him before he could get out of the way. Dick Campbell then gave Jamie Bishop his first competitive minutes of the season, taking off Gavin Swankie in the process. Templeman had a chance to make sure there was no comeback with virtually the last touch when he was played into the box but shot straight at the keeper.
The final whistle went and the supporters that made the trip north applauded the players, who in turn applauded the fans. The Loons are now through to the 4th Round to face Second Division rivals Ayr United at Station Park on the 1st of December. Their next game is at home to Stenhousemuir this coming Saturday.”