Stranraer 0 Forfar Athletic 4
Fotheringham 59 pen
Forfar Athletic’s long midweek journey to Stranraer was rewarded with a thumping 4-0 win and one of the performances of the season, playing for 67 minutes with ten men at Stair Park.
The Loons made three changes for the near 400 mile round trip, with Martyn Fotheringham returning to the heart of midfield in Neil McCabe’s place while Omar Kader and Marvin Andrews replaced Ross Campbell and Stuart Malcolm.
The game started off evenly, with Gavin Swankie dragging his effort wide inside the box in the second minute before Stranraer’s Sean Winter blasted his shot over the bar.
Forfar took the lead in the eighth minute, great play ending in Gavin Swankie swinging a cross in for Dale Hilson, whose header was parried by David Mitchell and Hilson reacted quickest to stab home the loose ball to the joy of the seven Loons fans.
Marvin Andrews sent a header wide of the mark in the seventeenth minute from an Iain Campbell corner as Forfar started to press before they were unfairly reduced to ten men.
Darren Dods looked to have blocked a Stranraer attacker after misjudging his backtracking and stumbling slightly and ref Don Robertson deemed that to be worthy of a red card, the sending off bemusing even the Stranraer bench. The Loons switched to a 4-4-1 formation with Fusco moving to centre back and Gavin Swankie in midfield.
In the 25th minute ex-Loon Martin Grehan should have scored but fired over from inside the six yard box after an Andy Stirling corner.
Four minutes later David McKenna shot past the post from a well placed cross by Mark Docherty.
Martyn Fotheringham had an effort blocked and a free kick go over the bar before the away side doubled their lead in the 36th minute, Dale Hilson doing well to turn a defender before getting a shot away, the shot was blocked but Omar Kader latched onto the ball and put it past Mitchell for his third of the season.
HALF TIME: Stranraer 0 Forfar Athletic 2
The Stair Park side came out for the second half looking to get back into the game and had a few chances in the opening ten minutes of the half, Scott Robertson, Grant Gallagher and Andy Stirling all going close.
The Loons were awarded a penalty in the 59th minute after Dale Hilson was bundled over in the area and Martyn Fotheringham sent keeper David Mitchell the wrong way to add a third.
Nine minutes later it was 4-0 and Hilson had a hand in it again, setting up Gavin Swankie for a long range effort that decieved Mitchell, who fumbled the ball into the net.
After this the game calmed down, with Forfar enjoying the majority of possession and the only chance of note came in the 78th minute from Stranraer’s Stirling, forcing Rab Douglas into a great save. From that corner Stranraer should have scored from close range but Douglas gathered with ease.
The sides meet again this Saturday, with Stranraer making the journey up to Station Park. The Loons are now just three points off fourth place and the play-off spots.
Ramblings of a Loon’s Player of the Match: Dale Hilson – was involved in some way in all four goals, definitely his best ever season at the club
Stranraer: David Mitchell 4, Lloyd Kinnaird 4 (Jamie Longworth 53, 4), Mark Docherty 5, Scott Rumsby 5, David MacGregor 5, Scott Robertson 5, Sean Winter 5, Grant Gallagher 5, Martin Grehan 5 (Adam Forde 65, 3), David McKenna 5, Andy Stirling 7.
Subs not used: Stephen Stirling, Steven Bell, Chris Fahey (gk)
Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas 7, Mark Baxter 7, Iain Campbell 7, Marvin Andrews 8, Darren Dods 4, Gary Fusco 8, Omar Kader 8 (Jamie McCluskey 80, 2), Martyn Fotheringham 7 (James Dale 60, 5), Chris Templeman 8, Gavin Swankie 9, Dale Hilson 10 (Gavin Malin 85, 2).
Subs not used: Ross Campbell, Stuart Malcolm, Neil McCabe, Darren Hill (gk).