Brechin City 3 Dunfermline Athletic 2 (SPFL League One) 25th January 2014

Brechin City         3     Dunfermline Athletic      2

Carcary 57                    Shankland 30

Jackson 60                    Wallace 54

Petrie 89

Brechin City moved up to fifth today with an excellent 3-2 win at home to Dunfermline Athletic after the Pars threw away a two goal lead.

City stayed unchanged from last week’s 3-1 win at Ayr while Dunfermline made two changes with Kerr Young and Stephen Husband returning in place of Callum Morris and Allan Smith.

Dunfermline started off the stronger side and came close with Ryan Wallace firing over in the early stages. Andy Jackson nodded into Ryan Scully’s arms in one of Brechin’s few chances of the half.

The Pars took the lead on the half hour mark, Lewis Martin beating a defender and slotting a ball through for Lawrence Shankland, Shankland capitalising on McLauchlan’s sloppy defending and firing home from a tight angle.

Wallace should have added a second before half time as he passed two defenders before blasting wide when it would have been easier to pass to an unmarked Josh Falkingham.

HALF TIME: Brechin City 0 Dunfermline Athletic 1

Brechin made two changes at half time, McLauchlan and Craig Molloy being replaced by Derek Carcary and Allan Walker.

Dunfermline doubled their advantage in the 54th minute, a long ball found Ryan Wallace and he rounded Graeme Smith before firing home despite Brechin defenders efforts to stop him shooting.

After this goal Dunfermline switched off and by the hour mark Brechin were level, in the 57th minute Bobby Barr muscling between two defenders and letting fly with an effort in the box that smashed off the cross bar, Derek Carcary bundling home the rebound.

Three minutes later Barr sent a corner to Jackson who turned before shooting, his shot diverted in by Stephen Husband on the line.

Brechin City started to press more and more and really should have had more, Derek Carcary and Barr the main threat for City.

The home side grabbed a late winner in the 89th minute, a Dunfermline error allowing Caracry a run at goal, once he reached the box Lewis Martin put in a great tackle but the ball fell to loanee Darren Petrie and he scored his first senior goal as he fired home through a crowded box.

Dunfermline pressed for an equaliser in injury time but couldn’t find the net as they fell 23 points behind League One leaders Rangers.

Ramblings of a Loon’s Player of the Match: Bobby Barr

Brechin City: Graeme Smith, Paul McLean, Johnny Brown, Graham Hay, Ewan Moyes, Gerry McLauchlan (Derek Carcary 46),Ryan Ferguson (Steven Robb 83), Craig Molloy (Allan Walker 46), Andy Jackson, Darren Petrie, Bobby Barr.

Subs not used: Steven Jackson, Craig Nelson (gk)

Dunfermline Athletic: Ryan Scully, Ryan Williamson, Alex Whittle, Lewis Martin, Kerr Young, Andy Geggan, Shaun Byrne (Lewis Spence 71), Stephen Husband (Ryan Wallace 85), Ryan Wallace, Josh Falkingham, Lawrence Shankland (Jordan Moore 76)

Subs not used: Drummond, Millen, Page, Goodfellow (gk).

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Forfar Athletic 0 Rangers 2 (SPFL League One) 20th January 2014

Forfar Athletic     0       Rangers         2

                                      Mohsni 75

                                      Templeton 89

Despite a good performance, Forfar Athletic lost out 2-0 to a Rangers side who are unbeaten in the league at Station Park on Monday in front of the television cameras.

The Loons made no changes to the previous week’s 3-0 win over Stenhousemuir in the hope the squad could deliver a blow to Rangers’ hopes of going the league season unbeaten, having already crushed their dreams of going unbeaten all season in the League Cup in August.

Rangers started off strongly, with their first corner and chance coming in the first 60 seconds, Lewis MacLeod wasting the opportunity though, blasting miles wide from the edge of the box.

Stuart Malcolm saw his header come off the crossbar in the third minute as Forfar started to settle into the game. The away side’s Nicky Law fired over five minutes later.

Forfar started to press but failed to do anything with the corners they had, a free kick from Iain Campbell ending in a Rangers counter attack but Fraser Aird squandered the chance at the other end.

Rangers had a penalty shout in the 21st minute as Lee Wallace and Darren Dods ran for the ball, Wallace changed direction as he entered the box running into Dods but referee Stephen Finnie deemed it a fair challenge.

Four minutes later Aird had another chance, Jon Daly flicking a long free kick into his path but his header was straight at Rab Douglas. Daly set up Dean Shiels shortly after although Shiels’ effort was poor and flew wide.

The away side had been very physical since the start of the game and earned their first booking of the game in the 28th minute, Sebastian Faure going in hard on Martyn Fotheringham, before Lee McCulloch was lucky to get a yellow after throwing an elbow that gave Chris Templeman a cut that needed six stiches.

Iain Campbell played a short free kick to Fotheringham in the 35th minute, and he fired a long range shot that took a deflection into Simonsen’s arms.

Rangers recieved their third yellow of the evening, Bilel Mohsni tripping Odmar Faeroe on the halfway line.

Dale Hilson had a cross blocked in the 42nd minute, the ball spinning into Gavin Swankie’s path and Swankie sent a volley that rippled the sidenetting.

HALF TIME: Forfar Athletic 0 Rangers 0

Stephen Finnie evened up the bookings count in the first twelve minutes of the second half, Gary Fusco, Iain Campbell and Gavin Swankie the recipients of them after showing they wouldn’t roll over to Rangers’ physicality. Fusco was then replaced by Mark Baxter returning from injury before he recieved a second yellow.

Lee McCulloch hammered a free kick towards goal that Douglas touched onto the bar before Rangers had two very poor claims for a penalty, Mohsni going down rather easily as he waited on the ball coming to him and Lee Wallace was booked for touching the referee as he claimed for handball after the ball struck Dods as he was falling, there’s was no way he could avoid it.

Nicky Law headed over from an Aird corner in the 63rd minute, as did Jon Daly seven minutes later from yet another corner.

From Rangers’ fourteenth corner of the evening they took the lead fifteen minutes from the end, Mohsni rising to nod the ball into the back of the net.

The Loons didn’t put their heads down after the goal though, Dale Hilson flashing a shot from just outside the box past the post, with a helping hand from Simonsen. From Martyn Fotheringham’s corner Mohsni attempted to head away put his poor header cannoned off Lee Wallace and forced Simonsen into a great save.

Forfar came the closest they did in the whole game in the 87th minute, Chris Templeman winning a free kick on the edge of the box after Lee McCulloch fouled him once again. Dale Hilson took the free kick and it swirled towards goal shaving paint off the post.

From the goal kick, Rangers raced up the pitch, Lewis MacLeod slipping the ball to sub David Templeton and he let fly with a shot as if he had a foot like a traction engine, the effort rocketing into the top corner past Douglas’ reach, putting the game beyond doubt, the scoreline flattering a very lacklustre Gers side though.

Ramblings of a Loon’s Player of the Match: Martyn Fotheringham – can be proud of his performance, as can every other Loons player

Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas 7, Gary Fusco 6 (Mark Baxter 58, 5), Iain Campbell 6, Darren Dods 6, Stuart Malcolm 7, Odmar Faeroe 6, Omar Kader 6 (Gavin Malin 64, 4), Martyn Fotheringham 7 (Ross Campbell 86, 2), Chris Templeman 7, Gavin Swankie 6, Dale Hilson 7.

Subs not used: Marvin Andrews, Neil McCabe, James Dale, Darren Hill (gk).

Rangers: Steve Simonsen 6, Richard Foster 5, Bilel Mohsni 6, Sebastian Faure 6, Lee Wallace 6, Lee McCulloch 4, Fraser Aird 7, Dean Shiels 6 (David Templeton 70, 6), Jon Daly 5, Lewis MacLeod 6, Nicky Law 5.

Subs not used: Andy Little, Emilson Cribari, Robbie Crawford, Andy Murdoch, Charlie Telfer, Scott Gallacher (gk)

History of Forfar Athletic: Current Players

I wrote this article for the Rangers programme next Monday, and thought it may be of some interest to others so I’ve put this up here for anyone that would like to read it.

Recently a couple of players have reached a milestone in appearances at Forfar Athletic, with Martyn Fotheringham and Ross Campbell making their 200th appearance in all competitions in November, with Omar Kader making his 50th appearance last weekend against Stenhousemuir.

Martyn signed for the club from Cowdenbeath in the summer of 2007 and made his debut in August of that year in a 3-0 defeat to Stranraer. 208 games and 36 goals later he is very much a hero at Station Park, making the 200th appearance as a 74th minute substitute against East Fife two months ago.

Ross, on the other hand, joined a year later after his father Dick took charge. He played his first game after joining from Spartans against Angus rivals Arbroath in the Challenge Cup in July 2008. He made his 200th appearance a week later, also as a sub in the Scottish Cup tie at Brechin. Ross has chipped in with 58 goals over his 205 appearances.

The next two closest to 200 games are Chris Templeman and another of Dick’s sons, Iain. After both joining in the promotion season of 2009-2010, Chris is on 192 games as well as being thirteen goals off joining the ten highest Forfar goalscorers list on 60 goals. Iain Campbell has appeared 169 times over his four years as a Loons player and notched 16 goals, eleven of which have been penalties.

Right back Mark McCulloch is currently injured, but is one game off making his 150th appearance for the club, also joining four years ago. Close to making his 100th appearance is Dale Hilson, something quite unique as he is a loan player. Over four loan spells, he has played for Forfar 97 times after first appearing in July 2010.

After Hilson, only one other Loons player has played over fifty games and that is Gavin Swankie. Since signing from Arbroath in 2012 he has played 63 times, grabbing 19 goals and will be hoping for many more after agreeing to a new contract recently.

Omar Kader, who joined from Spartans in 2012, reached 50 games last weekend in the 3-0 win over Stenhousemuir whilst another ex-Ainslie Park player Gavin Malin is close to that mark on 43 appearances.

Darren Hill has played 30 times in his year at the club with Darren Dods, Mark Baxter and Stuart Malcolm all on 23 games, Malcolm’s total spread over his two spells with Forfar.

After a shaky start, Gary Fusco has turned into a fan favourite with some excellent performances in his twenty games, James Dale also appearing twenty times.

Paul McManus (17 appearances), Neil McCabe (17), Marvin Andrews (12) and Jamie McCluskey (6) have all made less than twenty appearances, the most notable of the bunch being ex-Celtic and Scotland keeper Rab Douglas (11) and Faroe Islands internationalist Odmar Faeroe (17), Faeroe having been capped six times during his time with the Loons.

Forfar Athletic 3 Stenhousemuir 0 (SPFL League One) 11th January 2014

Forfar Athletic               3         Stenhousemuir            0

Swankie 4

Fotheringham pen 26, 39

Forfar Athletic kept up their 100% record in 2014 with an excellent 3-0 win over Stenhousemuir at Station Park, which allowed them to overtake the visitors into 5th place on goal difference.

After the previous week’s dismantling of Brechin, Dick Campbell made three changes, one forced and two for the return of two important players, the injured Mark Baxter replaced by Omar Kader while Gavin Swankie and Odmar

Færø returned from injury and a short break respectively in Gavin Malin and James Dale’s place.

The Loons took the lead for the second week running in the first five minutes, Stenhousemuir’s defence struggling to clear their lines properly which allowed Gavin Swankie to fire a low shot from 25 yards into the bottom corner, only his second since September.

After the goal, played settled down a bit, with neither side really threatening, although the Loons were the better side with the ball.

Stenhousemuir had their first sniff at goal in the 22nd minute but David Rowson could only volley over before Kevin McKinlay blasted hilariously wide, his effort ending up almost out of the ground.

Forfar doubled their lead in the 26th minute as Omar Kader prepared to shoot inside the box, Ross McMillan bundled him over, McMillan recieving a red card for his troubles. Martyn Fotheringham stepped up and placed the ball in the left corner for his 3rd goal this season.

In the 34th minute Chris Templeman saw a low shot held well whilst at the other end Sean Higgins tested Rab Douglas with a long range effort but it was easy for Douglas to save.

It was three before half time for Forfar after 39 minutes, Gary Fusco with a lovely chip to Fotheringham and he was allowed all the time in the world to control the ball and fire past Chris Smith for his second of the game.

Stenhousemuir had several corners before half time consecutively but failed to do anything of note with them.

Half Time: Forfar Athletic 3 Stenhousemuir 0

Dale Hilson blasted just over six minutes into the second half before in the 56th minute the away side came the closest they had all game, Sean Dickson’s long range curler having to be pushed over by Douglas.

Fotheringham was unlucky not to have his first senior hat-trick, Omar Kader doing well to set him up, Fotheringham turned a defender but his attempt flew inches past the post.

Dickson headed straight at the keeper on the hour mark and at the other end Gavin Swankie, Hilson and Fotheringham combined to allow Swankie an effort on goal but he couldn’t connect properly and it flew wide.

Swankie almost grabbed an assist in the 72nd minute, his cross being nodded over by Stuart Malcolm.

The Loons number ten had two more great chances to improve the side’s lead but the Warriors’ keeper Smith was at hand to save them.

Dale Hilson fired the ball the wrong side of the post after Gavin Malin set him up before youth player Paul McLellan was given a fifteen minute cameo in Swankie’s place. McLellan, making his second appearance of the season after playing as a trialist in the Ramsdens Cup victory over East Fife in July, looked decent in his time on the park, showing a fair bit of pace and did very well getting into positions looking for the ball.

James Dale and Iain Campbell had efforts on goal in the closing moments but neither could find the net.

The Loons now have to wait until next Monday for the next game, this being a televised match with a side they have already defeated this season, Rangers. With the past two performances as scintillating as they have been, there is no reason as to why Dick Campbell and his players can’t win again.

Ramblings of a Loon’s Player of the Match: Martyn Fotheringham – Two games in a row he’s been absolutely immense, just edging out Odmar Faeroe and Gary Fusco here.

Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas 6, Gary Fusco 8, Iain Campbell 7, Stuart Malcolm 7, Darren Dods 7, Odmar Færø 8, Omar Kader 7 (James Dale 69, 5), Martyn Fotheringham 8 (Gavin Malin 69, 5), Chris Templeman 7, Gavin Swankie 7 (Paul McLellan 75, 5), Dale Hilson 7.

Subs not used: Marvin Andrews, Neil McCabe, Kerr Hay, Darren Hill (gk).

Stenhousemuir: Chris Smith 6, Nicky Devlin 5, Eddie Malone 5, Stewart Greacen 6, Ross McMillan 3, Kevin McKinlay 5, Sean Dickson 7, David Rowson 6, John Gemmell 5 (Errol Douglas 82, 2), Sean Higgins 6 (Darren Smith 46, 6), Sean Lynch 6.

Brechin City 1 Forfar Athletic 5 (SPFL League One) 2nd January 2014

Brechin City       1       Forfar Athletic       5

Barr 75                         Fotheringham 5

                                     Templeman 16, 81

                                      Dods 31

                                      Hilson 34

Forfar Athletic moved two points ahead of 7th place in League One after an amazing 5-1 victory over Angus rivals Brechin City in a New Year clash at Glebe Park.

Manager Dick Campbell made a single change from the previous game against Ayr almost two weeks ago, with Mark Baxter returning from injury and Jamie McCluskey dropping to the bench.

The Loons made a much better start to the game, James Dale volleying into City loanee Calum Antell’s arms in the second minute before in the fifth Chris Templeman, Gavin Malin and Martyn Fotheringham all combined for Fotheringham to chip Antell from just inside the penalty area much to the delight of the big travelling support.

In the ninth minute it was almost two as a through ball from Gary Fusco was knocked past an on rushing Antell by Dale Hilson but he could only fire his attempt towards an open goal against the post and was cleared before Templeman could reach it.

Brechin’s first effort of the game came in the 13th minute but it was a poor one from Alan Trouten, the low shot going into Rab Douglas’ arms easily.

Forfar doubled their advantage in the sixteenth minute, Malin and Hilson setting up Templeman, whose shot lacked any power and wouldn’t have really troubled normally, crept into the bottom right corner.

Five minutes later Forfar had a double chance, Fotheringham sent a through ball to Dale Hilson and he beat Graham Hay but his effort was touched wide before the resultant corner was fired into the side netting by Hilson again.

In the 23rd minute Andy Jackson, who was City’s best player all day, shot poorly into Douglas’ arms again after Trouten saw his nodded away.

The lead was extended further in the 31st minute, an Iain Campbell free kick was headed towards Antell but he fumbled under pressure from Templeman and Darren Dods took the opportunity to blast the ball into the roof of the net. Douglas could have had the deckchair and the cigars out for the amount of threatening Brechin were doing, Forfar were that dominant in the first half.

It was 4-0 three minutes later, a long ball was collected by Hilson and he turned past Steven Jackson before curling home at the near post.

Full back Mark Baxter was forced off in the 41st minute to be replaced by winger Omar Kader before the last action of the first half saw Steven Jackson’s free kick on the edge of the box deflect wide before the corner came to nothing.

HALF TIME: Brechin City 0 Forfar Athletic 4

City manager Ray McKinnon shored things up at the back at half time, taking off Derek Carcary for Paul McLean.

Despite early pressure from Brechin, they couldn’t break through the Loons’ defence, with the first effort coming from Forfar in the 52nd minute, Hilson firing into Antell’s hands.

60 seconds later Fotheringham saw a free kick from 25 yards smash off the Brechin wall and onto the roof of the net.

Just after the hour mark the Loons were unlucky not to be five ahead, Omar Kader beat defenders before seeing his shot deflected onto the bar and the resulting stramash ending with James Dale’s shot smothered by Antell.

Forfar Athletic were awarded a penalty in the 68th minute, Chris Templeman being fouled by Craig Molloy and Ewan Moyes. Iain Campbell stepped up for his third penalty this season against Brechin, fourth if you count the penalty shoot-out in the cup replay and saw the attempt pushed away by Antell.

Brechin hit the post in the 72nd minute, Bobby Barr doing well to cut the ball back to Jackson and his effort came off the woodwork.

Martyn Fotheringham attempted to recreate his goal in a friendly with Forfar West End on Monday with a lob from the halfway line that Antell had to work to catch.

With fifteen minutes left, Brechin grabbed a consolation goal, another cut back saw Bobby Barr sweep home from close range.

Just under six minutes later the lead was extended, Omar Kader ran at the defence and his shot looked goalbound but Templeman knocked it in at the far post to make sure of the goal.

Martyn Fotheringham and Omar Kader almost added more before the final whistle but Antell did well to save both efforts.

Brechin manager Ray McKinnon was seething after the game, commenting ‘I never saw that coming, absolutely bemused by our first half performance defensively, I’d like to apologise for that. I wish I could get on that park and deal with it myself but it was horrendous defending from the team in the first half, we never gave ourselves a chance. To be fair, Forfar came at us, every time they got in our box they scored. As I said I never saw that coming and I’m very disappointed with them.’

The Loons’ Dick Campbell was delighted with his team’s performance ‘Sometimes, very rarely when you’re a manager you get that performance in the first half, nobody would have lived with us today and I thought we were outstanding, the finishes were outstanding, Templeman was outstanding. We got the goals, the opportunities went in, and we’ve been threatening to do that to be fair, today we did that. Bearing in mind, we’ve not got Odmar Faeroe and Swankie, big players for us, absolutely delighted, it could have been a lot more.’

Ramblings of a Loon’s Man of the Match: Martyn Fotheringham – Ran the show

Brechin City: Calum Antell 3, Steven Jackson 4, Johnny Brown 4, Graham Hay 4, Ewan Moyes 3, Darren Petrie 4 (Steven Robb 60, 3), Alan Trouten 5, Craig Molloy 5 (Greg Cameron 70, 3), Andy Jackson 6, Bobby Barr 6, Derek Carcary 5 (Paul McLean 46, 4).

Subs not used: Ryan Donnelly, Allan Walker, Craig Nelson (gk).

Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas 6, Mark Baxter 6 (Omar Kader 41, 7), Iain Campbell 7, Stuart Malcolm 7, Darren Dods 8, Martyn Fotheringham 9, James Dale 8 (Jamie McCluskey 70, 5), Gary Fusco 8, Chris Templeman 9, Gavin Malin 7 (Ross Campbell 70, 5), Dale Hilson 9.

Subs not used: Neil McCabe, Marvin Andrews, Paul McLellan, Darren Hill (gk).