Forfar Athletic 4
Gavin Swankie 12, Chris Templeman 31, 45, Craig Smith 90
Inverurie Loco Works 1
Neil Gauld 46
Forfar Athletic started their pre-season at Station Park with a 4-1 win over Highland League runners up Inverurie Locos on a sunny Tuesday evening in what was a good run out for the squad.
Dick Campbell fielded a mixture of last season’s side, new signings, youth players and trialists against Inverurie, with Dale Hilson and Danny Denholm making their Station Park returns after signing for the Loons while Michael Dunlop also returned, although it was from a season long loan at Berwick Rangers. Three trialists started, with one on the bench alongside five of last season’s under 19 squad.
Forfar started off playing good football, the first opportunity coming after just four minutes when Omar Kader swung in a corner that the trialist wearing the number 8 shirt met with his head but could only nod the ball wide of the far post.
The trialist caused bother for the Locos defence again in the twelfth minute, slotting a ball through for Gavin Swankie, whose first shot was parried by ex-Loon Andy Reid but his follow up header fell into an empty net to give the home side the lead.
Nine minutes later he set up another chance, this time cutting the ball in from the right wing for Chris Templeman who opted to shoot wide rather than pass to the waiting Swankie. He then had a long range effort blocked by a defender as the midfielder with no name looked to impress Dick Campbell.
On the half hour mark Omar Kader and Gavin Malin combined to set up Danny Denholm, his effort pushed away by Reid as Forfar looked increasingly like doubling their advantage. A minute later they did just that when a free kick was passed to Denholm and his low cross to the front post was flicked into the net by Templeman from a tight angle.
Ten minutes before half time, Inverurie had their first proper chance on goal, David Ross testing Darren Hill from the edge of the box, forcing a corner. From that corner Neil Gauld had a shot blocked by the trialist left back on the line before his follow up was deflected over.
In the 37th minute a defensive lapse allowed Ross to race clear but his shot was stopped by Hill while his second opportunity was cleared for a corner that came to nothing.
The Aberdeenshire outfit had their own defensive error on the stroke of half time, Reid’s poor pass to a defender allowing an alert Chris Templeman to intercept and cooly stroke past Reid for his second and Forfar’s third.
HALF TIME: Forfar Athletic 3 Inverurie Locos 0
Less than two minutes into the second half the away side had pulled a goal back, Neil McLean’s shot was turned round the post and from Mark Souter’s corner Neil Gauld bundled the ball home.
The trialist left back had his own chance in the 56th minute, collecting a Gavin Malin cut back inside the box but as he shaped up to shoot the ball was taken off his toes by a defender.
A minute later Malin created another chance, this time swinging in a corner for Darren Dods to blast a header towards goal, only for Ross Still to head off the line.
Gauld had a half volley pushed away by Hill just after the hour mark, at the other end sub Craig Smith set up Chris Templeman but Templeman curled his effort wide.
In the 77th minute the impressive James Yates, who had come on as a sub in the first half, went close to scoring from long range with a shot that swerved a lot as it headed towards goal, sub keeper Scott Mathieson caught the shot well though.
Sub and now permanent signing Dale Hilson raced clear of the Locos defence a minute later, attempting to lob Mathieson but the lob was too low and the keeper managed to tip the effort away.
The Loons put the final shine onto the scoreline in the final minute, Craig Smith latched onto a through ball before rounding Mathieson and slotting home from a tight angle to make it 4-1.
Ramblings of a Loon’s Player of the Match: The trialist at number three, who was ex St Johnstone left back Andrew Steeves, was up and down the left flank all night and looks like he would be a great signing.
Forfar Athletic: Darren Hill 6 (Ross Salmon 58, 6), Michael Dunlop 6 (James Yates 42, 8), Andrew Steeves (t) 8, Stuart Malcolm 6 (Darren Dods 46, 6), A Trialist 7, Gavin Malin 7 (James Dale 58, 6), Omar Kader 6 (Craig Smith 58, 7), B Trialist 7 (Liam Keiller 58, 6), Chris Templeman 7 (Paul McLellan 70, 5), Gavin Swankie 7 (Liam Campbell (t) 83, 4), Danny Denholm 7 (Dale Hilson 58, 6).
Inverurie Loco Works: Andy Reid (Scott Mathieson 46), Marc Young (Kieran Adams 46), Greg Mitchell (Ross Still 46), Scott Begg, Ross Anderson (Sam Pugh 73), Ryan Broadhurst, David Ross (Kyle Gordon 84), Mark Souter (Daniel Crisp 79), Neil Gauld, Neil McLean, Andy Hunter (Chris Hay 88).
Sub not used: Kenny Coull.