Stranraer 0(0) Forfar Athletic 3(2)
Dunlop 9 (og)
Forfar Athletic made the long journey back from Stair Park with something they’re not used to bringing back from there, three points, after an excellent win over Stranraer on Saturday.
The win keeps them still a point behind fourth placed Arbroath, and still in the play-off hunt, which goes to the final day. It is also just the second win for the Loons down there in almost 30 years, the other win also being a 3-0 victory back in 2002.
The Loons made two changes from last week’s defeat to champions Queen of the South with Michael Dunlop and Ross Campbell starting in place of Willie Robertson, who dropped to the bench and Gavin Swankie, who had work commitments.
Nine minutes into the game Forfar took the lead after good play by winger Danny Denholm, heavily linked with First Division club Livingston this past week, saw him to the byline and his cross from there was knocked into the net by Stranraer defender MICK DUNLOP.
Striker Armand Oné , a cult hero in some parts of Scotland because of his enormous frame amongst other reasons, came close for the Stair Park men twice in the space of 5 minutes after the opener, seeing a shot go straight at Darren Hill and then a header go miles wide.
Gavin Malin threatened yet another long range stunner in the 19th minute, catching Forfar’s Michael Dunlop’s long ball on his left foot then firing his half volley just over the bar. Three minutes later Stranraer’s Mick Dunlop was forced off due to injury to be replaced by David MacGregor.
The Loons made it two after 27 minutes, sixty seconds before Templeman headed over from Iain Campbell’s cross and the same two combined for the goal, with CHRIS TEMPLEMAN stabbing home Campbell’s free kick from close range.
Five minutes before half time Stranraer almost pulled one back, top scorer Craig Malcolm beat two defenders and Darren Hill before seeing his shot cleared off the line by captain Mark McCulloch.
At the start of the game there were two Michael Dunlops on the pitch, one on each side, and by half time both had gone off injured when Forfar’s Dunlop went down on the touchline and Willie Robertson went on in his place.
HALF TIME: Stranraer 0 Forfar Athletic 2
During half time there was a kids game on the pitch and it says it all about how bad Stranraer were that their support thought the kids were better and more interesting than the senior players. Striker Robert Love also came on for the home side during half time in place of midfielder Sean Winter.
In the first 15 minutes of the second half there was very little action, with only Forfar coming close through a Ross Campbell shot which was scooped wide on 56 minutes.
On the hour mark Stranraer brought ex-Loon Darren Gribben on for Armand Oné and his presence seemed to make the home side livelier, although they still failed to have any form of shot on goal.
The Loons went further ahead after 69 minutes, Mark McCulloch played a well timed ball to Dale Hilson and his through ball to OMAR KADER, who had only been on the park for three minutes, was slotted under the advancing keeper to make it three for Forfar.
The only time Stranraer really threatened in the second half was when Ryan Borris saw his shot blocked by keeper Darren Hill in the 71st minute.
Chris Templeman was unlucky not to have a second goal twice as his shot from 20 yards in the 82nd minute went inches over then two minutes later a carbon copy beat Stranraer keeper David Mitchell but rattled the corner of the bar and post and Willie Robertson’s cross from the rebound had no takers.
The final whistle went to the joy of the 15 travelling supporters, although news Arbroath had defeated Ayr United soured celebrations slightly. The Loons are still just a solitary point behind the Red Lichties but now have a better goal difference by one goal. Stenhousemuir are also two points behind Forfar and can still sneak into the play-offs depending on results next week.
Here is the list of scenarios for next week:
If Arbroath win they secure the fourth spot.
If Arbroath draw or lose and Forfar Athletic win, Forfar Athletic secure fourth spot.
If Arbroath draw and Forfar Athletic draw, Arbroath secure fourth spot.
If Arbroath draw and Forfar Athletic lose, Arbroath secure fourth spot.
If Arbroath lose and Forfar Athletic draw and Stenhousemuir draw or lose, Forfar Athletic secure fourth spot
If Arbroath and Forfar Athletic lose and Stenhousemuir win, Stenhousemuir secure fourth spot.
If Arbroath lose and Forfar Athletic draw and Stenhousemuir win, Stenhousemuir secure fourth spot.
If all three teams lose or draw, Arbroath secure fourth spot.
Currently the teams are on:
Arbroath -9 52
Forfar -8 51
Stenhousemuir +1 49
Ramblings of a Loon’s Man of the Match: Iain Campbell – Was involved in most attacks, set up Templeman’s goal and defended well
Forfar Athletic: Hill 6, Dunlop 6 (Robertson 43, 7), I Campbell 8, McCulloch 6, Bolochoweckyj 6, Brown 6, Hilson 7, Malin 7 (Kader 66, 6), Templeman 8, R Campbell 7 (King 76, 5), Denholm, 7.
Subs not used: Sellars, Salmon.
Stranraer: Mitchell 5, Kinnaird 5, Staunton 5, McKeown 5, Dunlop 4 (MacGregor 22, 5), Aitken 6, Winter 6 (Love 46, 6), Gallagher 6, Oné 5 (Gribben 59, 6), Malcolm 6, Borris 5.
Subs not used: Moore, Cadwell.