Forfar Athletic 2
Dale Hilson 57, Darren Dods 73
Dunfermline Athletic 0
Forfar Athletic got their home league campaign off to a flier with a convincing 2-0 victory over title favourites Dunfermline Athletic.
After last week’s draw down at Stranraer, Dick Campbell made three changes, with Darren Dods and Stephen Husband returning from suspensions while Gavin Swankie recovered from illness to replace Andrew Steeves, Gavin Malin and James Dale, who all took a place on the bench.
The Loons had the first chance of the match when Gavin Swankie fired over from just inside the box after two minutes. Up at the other end 60 seconds later Pars defender Jonathan Page nodded over.
A smooth passing move between the Forfar midfield ended in ex-Dunfermline midfielder Stephen Husband’s cross being headed back towards Chris Templeman but his header landed on the roof of the net.
Chigozie Ugwu wasted a fantastic opportunity in the ninth minute, the striker was clean through on goal but sliced his shot wide when Rab Douglas advanced on him.
Husband almost grabbed a goal against his former employers on the quarter hour mark, Dale Hilson’s cut back found him but his shot was deflected over before Stuart Malcolm headed past the post from the resultant corner.
After twenty minutes Templeman had another chance but when Denholm’s corner came to him his shot was blocked before being cleared.
There wasn’t another chance for almost fifteen minutes after that but during that Forfar were still the better side. They wasted a fantastic opportunity of the opener in the 34th minute, Danny Denholm working his way to the byline before cutting the ball back to the unmarked Hilson, who took a touch to prepare to fire home but before he could pull the trigger the ball was nicked off his toes.
Gavin Swankie and Templeman both fired wide on the stroke of half time as the Loons pushed hard for the first goal.
HALF TIME: Forfar Athletic 0 Dunfermline Athletic 0
Within a minute of the second half kicking off, Hilson lashed wide and went closer to scoring in the 50th minute, Chris Templeman swinging in a cross that he met with a header that looked destined to fly in at the back post but Ryan Scully pulled off a great save to deny him.
Rab Douglas had an even better save five minutes later, sub Ross Drummond’s cross swerved towards goal but the big keeper pushed it out, only as far as Michael Moffat and his shot from close range forced a fantastic reaction save.
Hilson wasn’t to be denied in the 57th minute, collecting the ball 30 yards out and letting fly, the ball going beyond Scully’s reach and into the bottom left corner.
Moffat had a shot blocked in the 66th minute as the visitors searched for an equaliser with Ugwu fluffing the second chance wide.
Ross Millen sent a long range effort over six minutes later but it was the Loons who struck again sixty seconds after that, James Dale sending a free kick into the box from the half way line and the unmarked Darren Dods bulleted a header home.
Dunfermline had the majority of chances after this, Faissal El Bakhtaoui twice missing in quick succession, Lewis Spence and Moffat going close too. It was Moffat’s shot that was closest to scoring, being deflected towards goal and Aaron James had to sweep the ball off the line.
Gavin Swankie had the last chance of the game in the 89th minute, just firing over from long range while Dale Hilson had to be taken off after a rough challenge by a Dunfermline defender.
The side are now 2nd in the table after two games with four points and meet the current leaders Ayr United next Saturday at Somerset Park.
Ramblings of a Loon’s Player of the Match: Dale Hilson
Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas 7, Michael Dunlop 7, Aaron James 7, Stuart Malcolm 7, Darren Dods 7, Stephen Husband 7 (James Dale 69, 5), Dale Hilson 8 (Martyn Fotheringham 89, 1), Derek Young 7, Chris Templeman 7, Gavin Swankie 8, Danny Denholm 7 (Omar Kader 81, 3).
Subs not used: Gavin Malin, Andrew Steeves, Craig Smith, Ross Salmon (gk)
Dunfermline Athletic: Ryan Scully, Ross Millen, Alex Whittle (Ross Drummond 46), Lewis Martin, Jonathan Page, Andy Geegan, Shaun Byrne (Ryan Thomson 62), Lewis Spence, Michael Moffat, Josh Falkingham, Chigozie Ugwu (Faisall El Bakhtaoui 80)
Subs not used: Ross Forbes, Andy Stirling, Ryan Williamson, Ryan Goodfellow (gk)