Interview with Forfar Farmington Head Coach Damon Neish

Forfar Farmington head coach Damon Neish is glad the side can now relax ahead of their final game of the season having secured their SWPL status for next season.

‘Securing safety was what I was brought in to do, so it feels nice to finally have it wrapped up. Results have been crazy, Buchan put up such a hard fight in the run in, I honestly couldn’t believe some of the results they were putting together. We knew we had to continue working on our game, and not worry about other results. The ladies have been first class at focusing on what we could control, and not how other teams were doing. We knew it was up to us, we would decide our fate. ‘

‘Nicola Davidson, Alana Bruce and Nicky Grant have all played important roles for us since I’ve come in, the experience those players hold is invaluable. They have been huge for this club, but every single player I have had on the park has been important. Alex Russell has provided some crucial goals, Sydney Cairns is the most professional player I have ever worked with, Amy Gallacher and Jade McLaren have turned game on their head with their creativity, and the commitment and desire shown by the likes of Lindsey Dunbar and Keira Johnstone who have both battled injuries yet been at training sessions, and supported the girls has been top notch. I could go through everyone in the team, they have all played a role in our survival.’

Neish was in America when Farmington beat Buchan 4-0 but admits ‘had to keep an eye on the game’ even if he was in other people’s company when it was in progress.

‘I was sitting at breakfast with friends, being anti social with the iPad on the table, it was the rudest I think I have ever been to a group of people. Obviously it was not ideal being out of the country, however I knew the girls were prepared‘

‘We have worked extensively on scoring after 25 seconds, so I’m glad Holly Napier stuck to the game plan. In all seriousness though, Holly has been showing recently how dangerous she can be in front of goal, she is a real threat and it just shows what she is capable of at any time.’

The Dundee based coach, who joined the club in July, also believes that the side can progress into a top six side with more experience.

‘I have began work looking at next season and beyond. My aim is to improve our points total next season. You have to remember that the squad as it stands is still incredibly young. As I look at our team, I see us as a top six team, our squad however, probably lacks the depth needed to compete with that group of teams right now. At this moment I am not looking at top six, or bottom six for next year, my attention is on retaining the group of players we have and adding to the quality, so that we will be able to build on the last five months.

‘I have plenty of players in mind for next season, I’d love to get Abby Wombach or Marta in but could they play on a cold windy Tuesday night at Station Park? Who knows! I have been analysing the squad all year and I have an idea of what we need, where we need to strengthen and where we need depth. I have two players who I am hopeful of tying up fairly early, and a need for a few more experienced players.’

‘We are also blessed to have some amazing talent coming through our ranks. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the likes of Hannah Robb and Derrian Gollan step up to our Premier League team at some point next season. Our youth system is excellent and I hope we can continue to produce top quality through our ranks.’

‘It’s an exciting time at Forfar, we need to build on the end of season form and we will continue to rise up the league.’

Forfar Farmington have their final game of the season this Sunday at Bught Park, Inverness when they take on Inverness City, kick off is 2pm

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Interview with Forfar Farmington’s Kayleigh Brough

Kayleigh Brough

Defender Kayleigh Brough is thankful of having experienced players amongst the younger players at Forfar Farmington, the blend helping the team improve over the season.

Brough was one of several to step up from the under 17’s and showed herself to be very capable of playing at the top level in women’s football in Scotland.

The 18 year old centre back said ‘Bringing in Damon Neish and the older more experienced players helped us improve a lot. Damon has encouraged the whole team and helped to motivate us in the second half of the season. Having the likes of Nicky Grant, Alana Bruce and Nicola Davidson back in the team has helped us a lot too.

‘Having the more experienced players in the team helps the younger ones including me to improve. I think that it’s a great achievement for us as a team and for the club to stay up this year.’

‘I feel that the younger players including myself have adjusted to senior football really well. It was very hard at the start of the season with the team not having enough numbers and I felt like it was a lot of pressure but with more players returning gave us the confidence back that I thought we lacked. It’s been great playing for the team this season, we have grown so much as a team since the start of the season.’

‘I think the club can definitely build from what we have achieved this season and push for the top of the bottom six. We don’t know what like the other teams will be like next season, whether they have lost or gained players, it’ll be a challenge but it’s definitely achievable!’

Brough will hope to help the side as much as she can before the summer break next year as she plans to head to America like current teammate Holly Napier in 2013 and winger Laura Parsley earlier this year ‘I am really looking forward to going across. It’s still early stages yet since I don’t know where I am going but I’m talking to a few colleges so hopefully something comes up. It is a bit scary at times thinking about it but it’s an amazing opportunity.’

Interview with Forfar Farmington’s Sydney Cairns

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Forfar Farmington’s Sydney Cairns claims this season has been a great experience, in which she played against internationalists twice her age.

The fifteen year old right back made her senior debut in March when she was just fourteen and has impressed everyone in her nineteen appearances this season.

‘I’ve loved playing in the SWPL team this year. It has been a great experience for me and it has brought me on as a player. It was difficult getting used to the tempo of the football being played but having the senior players in the team support me has made the transition better. It’s been a challenge competing week in week out with some of the most elite players in the country but playing against them will only make me better. ‘

Cairns believes bringing in Damon Neish to the coaching staff to help Paul White has helped the team as well as herself.

‘Damon is a great coach and I think he has improved the team not only on the pitch but off it too. The team has certainly taken strides forward since he has come in. I believe he has a vision in taking the team forward in the coming seasons which I look forward to.‘

‘I think this season has been a substantial learning curve for the girls with us being such a young squad. After a full season at this level we should be starting the coming season a lot stronger than what we did this year. I think if we get a good pre season under our belts and put in the hard work, with having this year’s experience we will be looking to finish higher than we did this season.’

‘It’s great to have finally secured our place in the league next season and although it has been a tough and challenging season, I had every bit of faith in the team doing so. It will be good to play Inverness City on the last day of the season without any pressure on us.’

Forfar Farmington 4 Buchan 0 (SWPL) 19th October 2014

Forfar Farmington           4

Holly Napier 1, Claire Galloway pen 66, Nicky Grant 84, Kayleigh Noble 87

Buchan                                 0

Forfar Farmington deservedly secured their Premier League status for next season with a 4-0 rout over Buchan at Station Park.

The goals came from Holly Napier, Claire Galloway, Nicky Grant and Kayleigh Noble, with the side having several other chances, hitting the bar four times.

After last week’s defeat to Hutchison Vale, three changes were made, Galloway, Alana Bruce and Amy Gallacher coming in for Sydney Cairns, Sophie Milligan and Murron White.

Farmington allowed people into the game for free in an attempt to get a larger support for this game, with 192 turning up, and they would have been pleased just twenty five seconds into the match when Amy Gallacher released Caren Webster down the right flank, Webster sent in a cross and Holly Napier was on hand to slot the ball home at the far post.

It was almost two after five minutes, Gallacher forcing a good save from Sophie Anderson before Holly Napier’s follow up was blocked on the line.

Webster hit the side netting while Kayleigh Brough nodded wide from Nicky Grant’s free kick as Farmington dominated, Buchan barely getting out of their own half.

In the 28th minute Napier’s corner wasn’t cleared properly, Jade McLaren swinging the ball back in and that almost went in, beating the keeper but hitting the crossbar, Lindsey Dunbar tried to stab home the loose ball but it was blocked on the line and it fell out to Brough who lashed wide from the edge of the box.

Buchan’s only attempt on goal in the first half came in the 44th minute, Leanne Reid firing straight at Fiona McNicoll from 20 yards out.

Dunbar went close again two minutes into the second half, controlling McLaren’s cross and knocking the ball past the advancing keeper but it rolled inches past the wrong side of the post.

Gallacher fired over from just outside the box before she set up Napier, whose shot was at the keeper.

Forfar finally grabbed a deserved second in the 66th minute, Grant’s cross was collected by Gallacher, who put it back into the box, Caren Webster was waiting to shoot and was fouled by a Buchan defender, the referee awarding a penalty.

Claire Galloway stepped up to take the spot kick and fired home, the keeper guessing the wrong way.

As it was in the first half, Reid had Buchan’s only effort in the second half, firing wide.

In the 72nd minute Forfar could possibly have had a third, Gallacher’s effort from outside the box coming off the crossbar, hitting the keeper’s back and bouncing on the line before Anderson collected the ball.

Two minutes later it was Grant’s turn to hit the bar with a free kick and with ten minutes to go Lindsey Dunbar saw her shot from McLaren’s cross beat the keeper but not the bar, with Napier’s follow up being saved.

Brough stabbed the ball past the keeper but like Dunbar earlier, rolled the wrong side of the post before Gallacher’s effort from close range was saved.

Farmington made sure of the result and their safety in the 84th minute, Gallacher cutting the ball in for Nicky Grant and she fired home for her eighth of the season.

They made it four goals in the 87th minute when sub Murron White made a good run into the box, her shot was parried and fellow sub Kayleigh Noble was on hand to bundle home the loose ball.

The result means that going into the last game of the season against Inverness City in two weeks the side can relax, with next season’s Premier League status ensured after a great performance, which relegated Queen’s Park and Buchan.

Forfar Farmington: Fiona McNicoll 6, Jade McLaren 7, Kayleigh Brough 7, Lindsey Dunbar 7 (Murron White 86, 3), Nicky Grant 8, Amy Gallacher 8, Nicola Davidson 7, Alana Bruce 7, Holly Napier 8 (Alex Russell 86, 3), Caren Webster 7 (Kayleigh Noble 77, 4), Claire Galloway 7.

Subs not used: Sydney Cairns, Sophie Milligan, Cheryl Kilcoyne.

Buchan: Sophie Anderson, Connie Strachan, Vanessa Silcocks (Sabrina Alexander 71), Lydia Johnston, Zoe Smart, Natasha Wiseman, Leanne Reid, Gemma Rae, Michelle Sutherland, Jennifer Urquhart, Donna Paterson.

Sub not used: Emma Watt.

Interview with Forfar Farmington’s Holly Napier

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Midfielder Holly Napier says she is loving life back in a Forfar Farmington shirt after a year in America.

The eighteen year old started her career at Carnoustie Panmure when she was ten before a spell at Arbroath Inchcape, which was her first girls club. Her first stint at Forfar was a short one before joining Celtic, where she stayed for three years returning to Forfar for another season before joining for a third time this season after spending time in America.

In amongst this she has also represented Scotland since she was thirteen, playing for them at the U15 level before advancing to U17s and U18s.

‘It was really good to be back playing here, I have always enjoyed playing with Forfar, and now I’m getting closer to full fitness, I’m enjoying it even more.’

In August 2013 she departed Farmington for America, spending almost a year on a scholarship in Tennessee. She returned for her third spell as a Farmington player in May and has scored four times in fifteen games. ‘With it being a fall sport when I was in America, I enjoyed the quantity of football we played for four months. However, after Christmas with no games the time tended to drag, I maybe should have studied then! Overall I did thoroughly enjoy it and met loads of new people! I have no plans to return at the moment, I’m really enjoying my time back in Scotland and working hard for Forfar.‘

‘Even though we have had our rocky moments in the season, I think there has been a massive improvement in the team in such a short space of time. I strongly believe when we play the way we can, we can give anyone a game. We’ve been very unlucky not to pick up more points than we have already, and if we can keep this team together I believe we will do very well next year. I believe the young players are getting better with every game and although not everyone can play well every game, this will come with more games at this level.’

‘Hamilton was a tough one, in a match we certainly deserved to get more out of. However, a great response against Queen’s Park a fortnight ago, although not our best performance of the season, winning with that much pressure on said a lot about the girls and us as a team.’

Forfar Farmington take on Buchan this Sunday in their biggest game of the season at Station Park, with a 3pm kick off and admission is free.

Hutchison Vale 2 Forfar Farmington 1 (SWPL) 12th October 2014

Hutchison Vale                  2

Laura Gavin 31, Ashley Fish 79

Forfar Farmington            1

Lindsey Dunbar 28

Forfar Farmington were dealt a blow in their bid to clinch safety on Sunday after they were defeated by the odd goal in three in a tight game against Hutchison Vale at the Saughton Enclosure.

With several players unavailable for this game, three changes were made while only one sub was available. Alana Bruce, Amy Gallacher and Megan Burns were replaced by debutant Sophie Milligan, Caren Webster and Murron White; Cheryl Kilcoyne was the solitary sub.

In the second minute Nicky Grant sent a free kick at the keeper before Hutchie Vale went close with chances from Rebecca Galbraith and Jennifer Malone.

Grant had the ball in the net after thirteen minutes but the linesman had flagged for offside while a minute later Holly Napier’s cross was knocked wide by Caren Webster.

Captain Nicola Davidson fired over before they took the lead after 28 minutes, Napier’s corner forced home by Lindsey Dunbar for her second in two games.

Hutchison Vale equalised three minutes later, Laura Gavin’s shot/cross deceiving Fiona McNicoll and floating over her head into the back of the net.

Laura Dunn had a shot deflected over for the home side while Davidson’s free kick into the box was nodded down by Jade McLaren and Kayleigh Brough’s volley was pushed wide.

Ten minutes after half time Grant and Dunbar combined to set up Caren Webster but she hit her shot wide a minute before Galbraith forced McNicoll into a great save with a curled effort.

Dunbar had a shot tipped over with twenty minutes to go after Davidson swung a ball into the box, from the resultant corner Brough had a shot blocked before Davidson fired wide.

Napier sent a long range effort wide before Vale took the lead with eleven minutes left, a long ball was collected by sub Ashley Fish and she slotted home with ease.

Lindsey Dunbar headed wide from a Brough cross as Farmington looked to grab an equaliser but to no avail.

The side now face Buchan, with victory guaranteeing them safety while relegating the visitors and Queen’s Park.

Hutchison Vale: Michelle Jacobs, Jennifer Rogers, Ann Taylor, Nicole Clark, Jennifer Malone, Diana Berry (Laura van Krieken 76), Laura Dunn, Mariel Kaney, Rebecca Galbraith (Ashley Fish 59), Laura Gavin (McKenzie Kawana-Waugh 89), Louise Moultray.

Subs not used: Bianca Murphy, Lisa MacFarlane

Forfar Farmington: Fiona McNicoll, Sophie Milligan, Sydney Cairns, Murron White (Cheryl Kilcoyne 74), Jade McLaren, Kayleigh Brough, Lindsey Dunbar, Nicky Grant, Caren Webster, Nicola Davidson, Holly Napier.

Forfar Athletic 3 Stenhousemuir 0 (SPFL League One) 10th October 2014

Forfar Athletic                   3

Dale Hilson 3, Gavin Swankie 50, Martyn Fotheringham 77

Stenhousemuir                 0

Goals from Dale Hilson, Gavin Swankie and a fantastic free kick by Martyn Fotheringham sealed a win over Stenhousemuir that moved Forfar top of the league again.

The same line up faced the Warriors as they looked to regain top spot after Dunfermline leaped over them with a win over Ayr on Friday night.

The Loons didn’t have to wait long for a goal, the first attack of the game ending in a goal after three minutes, Stuart Malcolm’s ball out to Gavin Swankie was put into the box, Dale Hilson collected it with his back to goal, turned and fired into the bottom corner outwith the keeper’s reach.

Gary Oliver went close to a quick equaliser for the visitors five minutes later, his long range effort swerving as it went towards Rab Douglas and the big keeper fumbled before gathering safely.

Forfar pushed for a second to try and quickly kill off a lacklustre Stenhousemuir side, Dale Hilson firing inches wide with a free kick before Swankie volleyed past the post.

Danny Denholm forced Greg Fleming into a fantastic save on the half hour mark, Jim Paterson and Hilson combining to lay off the winger and his shot was pushed wide by an alert Fleming.

Stephen Husband had beaten the keeper three minutes before half time with a shot from 35 yards but the long range chance cannoned off the crossbar and Kader stabbed the second attempt at the keeper.

A minute after the break Warriors wide man Jamie Reid was unlucky with a shot that flew inches over but Scott Booth’s men were to pay for wasting that chance in the 50th minute when Swankie’s shot from the corner of the box took a slight deflection, deceiving Fleming into the net at the near post.

Things went from bad to worse for the visitors three minutes later, Ciaran Summers, who had already been booked, was shown his second yellow for another foul on Kader, leaving them with even more of an uphill struggle.

Paterson and Kader switched the ball in the 57th minute, Kader ending up striking a low effort that Fleming smothered.

Gary Oliver had another chance for Stenhousemuir, dragging his shot that failed to threaten Douglas before Colin McMenamin blasted over.

With thirteen minutes left sub Martyn Fotheringham made sure of the victory with a ‘Foxy Special’, curling a 20 yard free kick into the top corner for his first of the season.

The Loons are still a point ahead of next week’s opponents Dunfermline whilst move five ahead of third placed Morton.

Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas, Mark Baxter, Jim Paterson, Stuart Malcolm (Michael Dunlop 74), Darren Dods, Stephen Husband, Omar Kader (Martyn Fotheringham 66), James Dale (Gavin Malin 66), Dale Hilson, Gavin Swankie, Danny Denholm

Subs not used: Chris Templeman, Liam Keiller, Paul McLellan, Ross Salmon (gk)

Stenhousemuir: Greg Fleming, Ross Meechan, Alan Lithgow, Ross McMillan, Ciaran Summers, Keiran Miller, Jamie Reid (Martin Grehan 58), Kris Faulds (Gregor Fotheringham 58), Colin McMenamin (Paul-John Sludden 77), Sean Dickson, Gary Oliver.

Subs not used: Robbie Duncan, Alan Lawson, Ryan Miller, Dean Shaw (gk)