What’s that coming back from Stranraer? Three points.

 

Stranraer        0(0)       Forfar Athletic       3(2)

                                       Dunlop 9 (og)

                                       Templeman 27

                                       Kader 69

 

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:

                             GD       PTS

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.

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Derby victory in seven goal thriller

Brechin City            3(0)                   Forfar Athletic           4(2)

Hay 57                                                    Hilson 12

Trouten 75, 86                                       Bolochoweckyj 33

                                                                Malin 47

                                                                Swankie 83

Forfar Athletic recorded only their second derby victory of the season against Brechin City despite almost throwing a three goal lead away on a still recovering Glebe Park pitch on Tuesday.

The Loons made just one change from Saturday’s win over East Fife, with Michael Bolochoweckyj coming back from a suspension in place of Stephen Tulloch in defence. The first ten minutes were quite even in terms of possession and chances, with Forfar’s only chances coming from the two Gavin’s, Swankie and Malin, both going nowhere near the goal.

DALE HILSON also had a shot go miles off target, but made up for it 60 seconds later when a free kick was knocked out towards him at the edge of the penalty area by Bolochoweckyj and he blasted the ball into the roof of the net to give Forfar the lead after 12 minutes.

Influential midfielder Martyn Fotheringham was unlucky to see his 30 yard effort tipped wide by Brechin keeper Michael Andrews in the 23rd minute while City’s on loan Ryan Ferguson saw his attempt deflected wide.

On the half hour mark Hilson came close again with another low shot from outside the box flying just past the post, and the pressure put on paid off three minutes later when a corner from Iain Campbell was met at the back by MICHAEL BOLOCHOWECKYJ to make it two-nil to the away side. Ray McKinnon must have thought a change was needed to get Brechin back into the game and took winger Derek Carcary off and put on a striker, in the shape of David McKenna.

Five minutes from half time City almost pulled one back after defender Paul McLean’s wayward shot was nodded towards goal by ex-Loon Andy Jackson but was unlucky to see it go over.

The Loons threatened twice again before half time with Iain Campbell’s free kick from a threatening position flash just off target and Fotheringham’s carbon copy of his earlier effort going wide this time.

The side in sky blue and navy started the second half in excellent fashion when Dale Hilson, who had been having one of his best games in a Forfar shirt won the ball in the Brechin half, beat half the home defence before cutting back to Gavin Malin, allowing him the simple task of slotting into an empty net from 12 yards for his 6th of the season and third in two games.

Three minutes later Ryan Ferguson rattled a free kick off the bar for Brechin and after a stramash in the area Iain Campbell cleared off the line. Alan Trouten was booked just after for attempting to punch the ball into the goal. The Loons then went up the park and almost grabbed a fourth if it wasn’t for keeper Michael Andrews, showing excellent reactions to push a Chris Templeman header onto the bar before it was cleared.

The home side regained some hope in the 57th minute after a corner into the penalty area ended with the ball at the feet of GRAHAM HAY and he sidestepped a defender before blasting past Darren Hill. Just after the hour mark they almost reduced the deficit to one goal, with Hill doing well to block a Ryan Stewart attempt.

Dale Hilson had yet another chance in the 64th minute, the ball played to him and he only had the keeper to beat but his last touch was too much and the keeper palmed away and eventually gathered the ball, with Gavin Swankie dragging a shot wide less than a minute afterwards. Dick Campbell made his first substitutions of the game with Omar Kader and Jordon Brown replacing Hilson and Martyn Fotheringham.

The Loons support were adamant they should have been given a penalty with twenty minutes to go when Gavin Swankie looked to have been hauled down in the box, although referee Des Roache wasn’t interested in any appeals.

In the 75th minute slack defending by Forfar let in ALAN TROUTEN who fired home to make it 3-2, Forfar supporters must have been biting their nails, having seen the team concede 16 goals in the last ten minutes of games this season. Six minutes later Chris Templeman dragged his shot across goal when it was much easier to cut back for Swankie.

The away support were relieved in the 83rd minute when it looked like the Loons had put the game to bed at 4-2, with Jordon Brown and Danny Denholm combining to set up GAVIN SWANKIE who thumped the ball into the roof of the net from 18 yards.

But alas, Forfar like to give the fans a scare, as three minutes later another poor clearance came towards ALAN TROUTEN and he volleyed home from the edge of the box. They almost equalised in the last minute as well, Darren Hill having to come to the rescue.

The Loons move up to 4th place again, two points ahead of Arbroath, having played the same amount of games as them and now look to capitalise on Tuesday’s result with another result against higher opposition, visiting second placed Alloa Athletic on Saturday. This season hasn’t been kind to Forfar in terms of playing Alloa though, with defeats in all three games so far.

Forfar are however the in form team outside of champions Queen of the South, with 16 points from the last 21 available.

Man of the Match: Dale Hilson (Forfar Athletic)

I have added my own ratings to the teamlines underneath, although this is just to see how it looks, or how others feel about it, not sure if I should do it in future reports.

Brechin City: Andrews 7, Pursehouse 6, McLean 6, Hay 7, McLauchlan 5, Fusco 5, Trouten 8, Ferguson 7, Jackson 6, Carcary 5 (McKenna 33, 6), R Stewart 6 (J Stewart 87).

Subs not used: Cameron, Murdoch, Nelson (gk).

Forfar Athletic: Hill 6, McCulloch 6, I Campbell 7, Bolochoweckyj 7, Faeroe 6 (Robertson 73, 6), Malin 8, Hilson 9 (Kader 68, 6), Fotheringham 7 (Brown 69, 6), Templeman 6, Swankie 7, Denholm 6.

Subs Not Used: King, Salmon (gk).

Bookings: Trouten (Brechin City)

Swankie winner helps in battle for fourth

Forfar Athletic     3 (1)

Malin 19, 51

Swankie 82

East Fife                 2 (1)

Sloan 45+1

McBride 79

Forfar Athletic continued their play-off push on Saturday with a 3-2 win over struggling East Fife, despite throwing the lead away twice.

The Loons made four changes from the midweek win against Albion Rovers, Odmar Faeroe, Martyn Fotheringham, Gavin Malin and Danny Denholm coming in for Michael Dunlop, Willie Robertson, Gregor Fotheringham and Jordon Brown.

The home side almost took the lead within 60 seconds of the start of the game when a cross from Denholm was met by Chris Templeman from a tight angle, but his header was saved by East Fife’s Callum Antell.

The Fifers first chance came after 5 minutes when poor defensive play allowed Colin Samuel through, although he could only see his shot saved by Darren Hill. Martyn Fotheringham headed over the bar seven minutes later from a Hilson cross.

Dunfermline loanee Paul Willis carved open his own goal scoring opportunity on the quarter hour mark when his solo run culminated in his dangerous shot flashing past the post.

GAVIN MALIN gave Forfar the lead in the 19th minute with a stunning goal, Iain Campbell saw a free kick hit the wall, Fotheringham’s follow up was also blocked, and the ball broke out to Malin who hit a first time shot from 30 yards that flew into the top corner, giving Antell no chance.

Malin’s goal seemed to fire up his team mates as two minutes later Gavin Swankie could have doubled The Loons’ lead when he picked the ball up on the halfway line, made his way to the East Fife box but when he rounded the keeper he pushed the ball past too far and was unable to stop it from going over the byline.

Steven Campbell was given the game’s first booking after 23 minutes after he hauled down Denholm just outside the box, from the resulting free kick Swankie had the free kick blocked, Malin’s attempt was also blocked and after a stramash in the box the ball fell to Dale Hilson who sent in a cross which was met by Stephen Tulloch but his shot was pushed of the line by Antell who was his team’s man of the match, keeping them in the game.

The next twenty minutes went by without anyone really troubling either keeper, with only Bobby Barr firing over from 20 yards and Antell yet again saving East Fife’s behinds after Swankie raced past a mediocre defence but failed to beat the on-loan Hibernian man.

East Fife equalised in added time when they were given a soft free kick outside the penalty area, and Martyn Fotheringham was booked for dissent, ROBERT SLOAN took it and curled in a brilliant effort beyond the reach of Darren Hill.

HALF TIME: Forfar Athletic 1 East Fife 1

The Loons started the second half with a bang, with just six minutes gone in the half, Danny Denholm sent in a cross from near the corner flag which made it’s way to the edge of the box and it was that man again GAVIN MALIN, who sent a thunderous low shot into the bottom corner for his second of the day and fourth since joining in December.

Three minutes later Forfar fans felt they should have been awarded a penalty when Gavin Malin went down under pressure when he was shaping up to shoot.

East Fife had their first chance of the second half in the 57th minute when Paul Willis flashed a shot across the face of goal but there was no-one in a red shirt to knock it in. Nine minutes later veteran Bob Malcolm saw his free kick go wide of the post.

60 seconds later the Fifers were lucky to still be 2-1 down after Callum Antell pulled off two brilliant saves on the line, the first after Hilson flicked on a Fotheringham corner and Templeman got his head to it and the second from Stephen Tulloch’s shot when he was set up by a Faeroe cross. Robert Sloan then went off to be replaced by striker Liam Gormley as East Fife aimed to get back into the game.

Jordon Brown and Omar Kader also came on to replace Dale Hilson and Martyn Fotheringham in the 76th minute, and almost three minutes later East Fife were level when Tulloch fouled Samuel to give a free kick away in a dangerous position, Malcolm whipped in a cross from it and SCOTT MCBRIDE rose to nod past Hill.

This week was Forfar’s turn to grab a goal almost instantaneously after conceding, and Gavin Malin was involved in yet another goal as he played that pass that allowed Iain Campbell to fire off a near post cross that GAVIN SWANKIE flicked past the keeper for his first goal since early January.

The Loons dominated the final few minutes with Swankie having a curling effort saved, Campbell’s free kick tipped over and Malin having two long range shots saved. East Fife’s keeper was absolutely excellent, if it wasn’t for him it would have been a cricket score.

A fact for people who like stats, this was the 6th 3-2 game between Forfar Athletic and East Fife at Station Park, five of them going the Loons’ way, and just one going the Fifers’ way.

Forfar are now on 45 points although are still 5th and a point behind Arbroath after their comeback win over Albion Rovers. They do however have a game in hand on the Red Lichties which they play on Tuesday against Angus rivals Brechin City at Glebe Park.

Man of the Match: Gavin Malin

Forfar Athletic: Hill, McCulloch, I Campbell, Faeroe, Tulloch (Robertson 79), Malin, Hilson (Kader 76), M Fotheringham (J Brown 76), Templeman, Swankie, Denholm.

Subs not used: King, Salmon (gk).

BookedM Fotheringham, Tulloch.

East Fife: Antell, Durie, Sloan (Gormley 69), Malcolm (Jamieson 84), Muir, S Campbell, Barr, Willis, Samuel, Keenan, McBride.

Subs not used: McCormack, Smith, M Brown (gk).

Booked: S Campbell, Durie, Keenan.

Referee:  Gary Hilland

Assistant Referees: Joseph Lawson, Mike Roncone

Attendance: 471

Loons fall to derby defeat

Forfar Athletic        2 (1)

Denholm 29, Templeman 55

Arbroath                  4 (1)

Doris 5, Hamilton 56, Travis 72, Sheerin 88

Forfar Athletic fell out of the Second Division play-off spots after losing 4-2 in a thrilling game to Angus rivals Arbroath at Station Park on Saturday.

The Loons made two changes from the 3-3 draw with Stenhousemuir two weeks ago, with Willie Robertson being demoted to the bench for returning internationalist Odmar Faeroe and Danny Denholm replacing the injured Dale Hilson.

The visitors took the lead after just five minutes when poor defending allowed Colin Hamilton to fire in a low cross for Steven Doris to stab home from six yards.

Forfar barely threatened in the first twenty minutes, with Martyn Fotheringham and Iain Campbell both having poor free kicks go wide, meanwhile Doris almost grabbed a second for himself and the Red Lichties but saw his free kick well held by former team-mate Darren Hill.

Arbroath were dealt a blow after 23 minutes when experienced midfielder Brian Kerr turned awkwardly on the pitch and went down injured, Kerr being stretchered off to be replaced by Scott Robertson.

Dick Campbell’s side equalised with half an hour gone after Omar Kader spotted Gavin Swankie’s run, threaded the ball to him and Swankie’s cross found Danny Denholm who flicked the ball over the head of Michael Travis and slotted past Scott Morrison.

The rest of the half saw action at both ends of the park, with both teams having an even share of possession, Arbroath’s Robertson and Forfar’s Templeman seeing efforts fly past the post, with Robertson’s being a long range shot.

In the 42nd minute Forfar came closest out of both teams after they were given a free kick in the middle of the Arbroath half, Euan Smith getting himself stupidly booked for blocking the attempt at a quick free kick, the ball ended up out with Danny Denholm and his cross was caught by Templeman’s chest, with Templeman attempting an overhead kick, his goal bound effort being tipped over by Morrison.

HALF TIME: Forfar Athletic 1 Arbroath 1

The second half started off with Forfar looking more threatening, Gavin Swankie and Gavin Malin both seeing deflected shots saved by Morrison in the first ten minutes. The Loons did take the lead in the 54th minute though, when Swankie, who despite not scoring since early January has been setting up his team mates goals, grabbed his second assist of the day when he placed a through ball to Chris Templeman who ran clear of the defence and slotted past the keeper, despite Michael Travis’ best efforts to get back to stop him.

The joy of being in front lasted barely a minute as Arbroath went straight up the park from kick off and left back Colin Hamilton beat players in the box before lashing the ball past Darren Hill, much to the delight of the large travelling support.

Forfar almost took the lead again two minutes later when Omar Kader’s cross found Templeman at the far post, but his header was pushed away by the keeper. Arbroath made their second sub of the day when Euan Smith went off and Daniel Rennie came on in his place.

Darren Hill almost handed his former employers a goal on the hour mark when he rushed out of his goal to try and stop an Arbroath player before he could shoot, but the ball ended up on the head of Paul Sheerin, but his header was cleared off the line by Stephen Tulloch with Hill miles out of his goal. Ross Chisholm was then booked for throwing the ball away after giving away a foul. The Loons brought on loanees Jordon Brown and Willie Robertson in quick succession for Omar Kader and Martyn Fotheringham.

Arbroath player/manager Paul Sheerin has been looking for his 100th career goal for a while, and he almost scored, albeit at the wrong end, as he got in the way of Hamilton’s clearance and the ball trickled wide to Sheerin’s relief. Derek Holmes came off for Arbroath, to be replaced by Graham Bayne.

With 18 minutes left of the match, Arbroath took the lead again, Michael Travis leaping to nod home Sheerin’s corner to undeservedly put them 3-2 up, with Darren Hill being booked for his protests. Charlie King came on in place of Gavin Malin three minutes later.

Gavin Swankie almost grabbed a hat-trick of assists in the 80th minute when he swung a dangerous looking cross into the box, but Danny Denholm failed to threaten and his header was gathered by Morrison. Stephen Tulloch was booked a minute later for a soft challenge, although the ref was shaky all game, worse challenges by both teams had gone unpunished, and sometimes without a warning, yet he had booked players for minor infractions.

Iain Campbell’s corner caused havoc in the Arbroath box with 4 minutes left, Willie Robertson seeing his header cleared off the line and then Charlie King’s effort from the clearance going over the bar.

The Red Lichties wrapped up the game in the dying minutes, Paul Sheerin was afforded a lot of space in the middle of the park and his effort from long range curled past the keeper for his 100th career goal.

Forfar now slip to fifth place in the league, Arbroath climbing above them with this victory and going three points clear, the Loons have a game in hand over them fortunately.

 

Forfar Athletic: Hill, McCulloch, I Campbell, Faeroe, Tulloch, Malin (King 75), Kader Brown 62), M Fotheringham (W Robertson 63), Templeman, Swankie, Denholm.

Subs Not Used: G Fotheringham, Salmon (gk).

Booked: Hill 72, Tulloch 81.

Arbroath: Morrison, Baxter, Hamilton, Kerr (S Robertson 23), Travis, Keddie, Smith (Rennie 58), Chisholm, Holmes (Bayne 66), Doris, Sheerin.

Subs Not Used: Sibanda, Bullock (gk).

Booked: Smith 42, Chisholm 60.

Referee: Euan Anderson

Attendance: 770