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.

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