Forfar Athletic kicked off their 2014-2015 League One season with a draw down in Stranraer on Saturday after Stuart Malcolm cancelled out Jamie Longworth’s opener.
After last week’s extra time defeat to Raith Rovers in the League Cup, three changes were made, with Stephen Husband and Darren Dods suspended, James Dale and Malcolm came into the starting eleven. Gavin Swankie was originally in the starting eleven but was replaced by Gavin Malin after he pulled up in the warm up. Youth player James Yates was named on the bench as a trialist.
The Loons had the first chance of the game when Dale Hilson’s effort was fumbled wide after he was set up by Denholm’s flick on before at the other end Jamie Longworth hit the sidenetting.
Longworth gave the home side the lead after 17 minutes, curling the ball home from Stephen Stirling’s lay off. Stirling almost put them two ahead a minute later, firing straight at Rab Douglas.
Malin threatened with a free kick from 30 yards in the 19th minute, David Mitchell doing well to save the set piece.
Longworth had a header go inches past the post after 22 minutes at the Stair Park outfit looked to extend their lead.
Ten minutes before half time Mitchell produced a fantastic save to deny Chris Templeman’s close range header on the line from Hilson’s cut back after good work by the winger.
Sean Winter went close for Stranraer just before half time but never troubled Douglas.
HALF TIME: Stranraer 1 Forfar Athletic 0
Five minutes into the second half Stuart Malcolm had a header from Denholm’s corner tipped over the bar.
The Loons equalised in the 63rd minute after Michael Dunlop’s shot earned them a corner. Denholm swung the ball in and Stuart Malcolm’s diving header bulleted past the keeper to the delight of the small travelling support.
It was almost a second goal for the Loons in the exact same style two minutes later, Malcolm’s header was saved by the alert Mitchell.
Douglas produced two good saves in quick succession from Longworth and Winter before at the other end Dale Hilson nodded wide after he was set up by Templeman from Malin’s corner.
In the 83rd minute Denholm sent a great ball across the midfield to Omar Kader, who made his way to the home side’s box, sending in a cross at the back post for Hilson but he could only stab the ball wide at the back post.
Stranraer had two great chances to steal a winner in the dying moments of the game, firstly after a defensive mix up, sub Adam Forde was one on one with Douglas but instead of firing either side of the big keeper, he sent his shot straight at the advancing shot stopper and the ball was cleared. Fellow sub Chris Aitken was also clean through and did the same as his team mate, blasting the ball straight at Rab.
The Loons did have the ball in the net in the 89th minute but the referee booked Chris Templeman after what looked like a push in the box saw him hit the ball with his hand as he fell.
Ramblings of a Loon’s Player of the Match: Aaron James
Stranraer: David Mitchell, Scott Rumsby, Jackson Longridge, Craig Pettigrew, Frank McKeown, Stephen Stirling (Anthony Marenghi 67), Scott Robertson, Grant Gallagher, Craig Malcolm, Jamie Longworth (Adam Forde 84), Sean Winter (Chris Aitken 73).
Subs not used: Barry Russell, Sam McCloskey, Chris Fahey.
Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas, Michael Dunlop, Andrew Steeves (Omar Kader 38), Derek Young, Stuart Malcolm, Aaron James, Dale Hilson (Craig Smith 87), James Dale, Chris Templeman, Gavin Malin, Danny Denholm.
Subs not used: Martyn Fotheringham, Paul McLellan, Liam Keiller, Trialist, Ross Salmon.