Interview with Forfar Athletic’s Dale Hilson

Forfar Athletic striker Dale Hilson believes that the side are always confident of grabbing all three points after the win over Ayr United.

‘It’s good to get back to winning ways, we’ve obviously went a few games without winning, but to be fair, we’re always confident we’re going to win, it’s just a matter of getting a wee bit of luck but it was a not bad performance today, the boys worked hard to get all three points.’

The Loons’ top scorer set up Scott Smith for the opener and could have had a goal or two himself ‘I felt I did alright, thought I could have done a bit better, I’m maybe being a bit too harsh on myself, I expect to score every game, I had a few chances there, couple of half chances but I snatched at them. Overall I thought I was reasonable but the full team was really good today.’

‘There was a few big players out for us, big Malks, Paterson, they’ve played the majority of games for us, Derek Young is still out as well, he was massive for us at the start of the season but it just shows we have depth in the squad and other boys who are capable of coming in and doing a job for us. Michael Travis came in a couple of weeks ago and has been training with us, he’s fitted in quite well, obviously knows a few of the boys who were at Arbroath, did well today for us at right back.’

The side are out of action this weekend due to it being Scottish Cup weekend, the next game being away to Stenhousemuir on December 6th ‘The break could maybe have come at a bad time after the win, but as I said, we’re always confident we’ll win. I’m sure we’ll get a couple of decent training sessions and keep our fitness up, we’ll go to Stenhousemuir, hopefully put in a good performance and get the three points. We’re always ready to play no matter what so I don’t think the break will make too much of a difference, we’ll be in training hard and we’ll have an extra week to prepare for the game.’

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Forfar Athletic 2 Ayr United 0 (SPFL League One) 22nd November 2014

Forfar Athletic                  2

Scott Smith 3, Omar Kader 56

Ayr United                          0

Goals from Scott Smith and Omar Kader gave Forfar Athletic a deserved win on Saturday against struggling Ayr United to continue their unbeaten home league record this season.

From the six goal derby draw with Brechin the week before, two changes were made in defence, with Stuart Malcolm missing out and Aaron James dropping to the bench, Mark Baxter and trialist Michael Travis coming in.

The Loons made a fantastic start to the game after three minutes, Dale Hilson knocked the ball to Scott Smith who drove forward before curling home from 25 yards for his first goal since arriving on loan.

Smith was then involved in a penalty shout six minutes later, Chris Templeman flicking on Michael Travis’ throw and the midfielder was barged by Nicky Devlin as he tried to get a foot to the ball but ref Andrew Dallas deemed there to be no foul.

Forfar enjoyed most of the possession in the first half, with Ayr not looking like they would threaten Rab Douglas much.

Hilson flashed a shot from just inside the box over before Omar Kader forced a save from David Hutton at the end of a quiet first half.

Ayr had their first shot at goal in the 51st minute, Michael Donald’s low cross evaded everyone and when Devlin reached it his shot was blocked by Mark Baxter.

Swankie had a shot deflected wide before he set up Forfar’s second after 56 minutes, Dale Hilson collected a long ball from Darren Dods, put the ball out wide to Swankie who ran to the byline, his first cross was blocked but a poor clearance allowed him to put the ball in again, this time reaching Chris Templeman, his header crashed off the crossbar and Kader nodded home the rebound.

Just after the hour mark Hilson broke down the right wing, advanced into the box before cutting the ball back for Templeman, he was unable to get a shot away surrounded by two defenders but he set up Hilson who fired straight at Hutton.

Ayr had their first shot on target 65 minutes into the game when Craig Beattie fired straight at Douglas before he headed wide two minutes later.

The Honest Men looking a bit more dangerous after going two goals behind but were still struggling to get anything on target, captain Scott McLaughlin heading wide this time in the 74th minute from Dale Keenan’s cross.

Keenan almost caused a goal at the other end with ten to go, his poor pass back to Hutton almost let Hilson in but the striker was unlucky not to get a foot on the ball.

In one of the last chances of the game the visitors hit the woodwork, Donald’s corner being met by Keenan, whose header beat Douglas but came off the post and was cleared.

The result means the Loons still stay second in the league a point behind leaders Morton, with their next game coming against Stenhousemuir in two weeks at Ochilview.

Ramblings of a Loon’s Player of the Match: Omar Kader

Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas, Trialist, Mark Baxter, Michael Dunlop, Darren Dods, Scott Smith (Gavin Malin 83), Omar Kader (Danny Denholm 74), Stephen Husband, Chris Templeman (James Dale 83), Gavin Swankie, Dale Hilson.

Subs not used: Martyn Fotheringham, Aaron James, Kerr Hay, Ross Salmon (gk)

Ayr United: David Hutton, Nicky Devlin, Dale Keenan, Adam Cummins, Peter Murphy, Brian Gilmour, Alan Forrest (Dale Shirkie 83), Scott McLaughlin, Craig Beattie (Ryan Donnelly 74), Jon Paul McGovern, Michael Donald.

Subs not used: Sean McKenzie, Andrew Muir, Robbie Crawford, Shaun Newman (gk)

Brechin City 3 Forfar Athletic 3 (SPFL League One) 15th November 2014

Brechin City                       3

Andy Jackson 19, Bobby Barr 33, Alan Trouten 82

Forfar Athletic                  3

Omar Kader 40, Gavin Swankie 71, Chris Templeman 76

Forfar Athletic and Brechin City shared six goals in a thrilling league game at a chilly Glebe Park on Saturday, with City throwing away a two goal lead then equalising late on to save a point.

Dick Campbell made two changes from last week’s defeats, Jim Paterson missing for two games due to his red card at Morton and Gavin Malin dropping to the bench, with Aaron James playing for the first time since his injury three months ago and Omar Kader returning. The bench also included former Arbroath centre back Michael Travis as a trialist and under 20’s players Kerr Hay and Jack Neave.

Forfar had the best chances of the opening stages with Chris Templeman and Dale Hilson combining to set up Gavin Swankie, whose low effort was held by Graeme Smith. Templeman then headed over from Swankie cross before a Scott Smith corner was knocked towards Stephen Husband who was lurking around the edge of the box and his well struck shot took a deflection and cannoned off the underside of the bar before being knocked over.

Brechin winger Bobby Barr almost set up Robert Thomson but his ball across goal in the 15th minute was hacked away by James before Thomson could knock the ball into an empty net.

The home side took the lead in the 19th minute when the ever threatening Barr beat James on the left and his cross was nodded past Rab Douglas by former Loon Andy Jackson.

Swankie almost equalised within three minutes but Smith covered his near post shot from the edge of the box well.

Dale Hilson then flashed a shot past the post before Brechin doubled their advantage with a fantastic goal in the 33rd minute, a cross was headed out towards Barr outside the box and his first time volley flew past Douglas.

The visitors grabbed a goal back five minutes before half time, Smith sending a cross into the box for Omar Kader to stab home to give the Loons some hope going into the second half.

Forfar had captain Swankie to thank for saving the league leaders from falling further behind two minutes after half time, a counter attack after a poor corner saw Robert Thomson race clear of the defence and round Douglas but his goalbound shot was hacked off the line by Swankie, who did well to race back.

Ewan McNeil almost gifted Swankie a goal in the 49th minute, his attempted header back to Graeme Smith fell short but the striker couldn’t lift the ball high enough over the keeper.

Jamie Masson sent a low effort wide before Gerry McLauchlan made a great block to deny Scott Smith getting a shot away, if he had it would have surely been an equaliser.

Paul McLean then cleared the ball at the far post from a Swankie cross, with Kader waiting to net before Brechin sub Alan Trouten had two chances in quick succession, both times failing to threaten Douglas.

Forfar equalised with twenty minutes to go, Husband’s through ball found Kader and his low cross found Swankie and he fired past Smith despite the best efforts of the defenders to block the shot.

The Loons then took the lead in the 76th minute, Kader had the ball on the right wing, Dale Hilson overlapped him, Kader gave him the ball and his cross was headed home by Chris Templeman for his ninth goal against his former club in Forfar colours.

Trouten had another chance saved before he netted an equaliser with eight minutes to go, poor defending allowing him to round the keeper before slotting home into the empty net despite the best efforts of the Loons defenders to get back and clear it.

Barr and Hilson both had chances to win the game for each side in the final minutes but neither could find a way past the keepers.

The result means the Loons are knocked off top spot for the first time in two months but are just a point behind new leaders Morton, they will hope to regain the position next week as they take on Ayr United at Station Park.

Ramblings of a Loon’s Player of the Match: Dale Hilson – did a lot of the work himself

Brechin City: Graeme Smith, Ewan McNeil, Paul McLean, Darren McCormack, Gerry McLauchlan, Gary Fusco, Bobby Barr, Greg Cameron (Craig Molloy 67), Andy Jackson, Jamie Masson, Robert Thomson (Alan Trouten 67)

Subs not used: Jamie McCormack, Ryan Ferguson, Patrick O’Neil, Ben Tough (gk)

Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas, Michael Dunlop, Aaron James (Trialist 83), Stuart Malcolm, Darren Dods, Stephen Husband (Gavin Malin 83), Omar Kader, Chris Templeman, Dale Hilson, Gavin Swankie, Scott Smith (James Dale 83)

Subs not used: Danny Denholm, Jack Neave, Kerr Hay, Ross Salmon (gk)

Interview with Damon Neish: Inverness City, Stand-In Goalkeepers, Sophie Milligan & Alex Russell

Forfar Farmington coach Damon Neish thought the SWPL side could have come away from the final game of the season with more than just a point against a tough Inverness City side.

The side were missing a few players and had to field defender Kayleigh Brough and then midfielder Lindsey Dunbar in goal, with some fringe players getting some game time, in which they gave the coach food for thought for next season.

‘It was good to get a draw last Sunday, we had a lot of injury problems and a few girls didn’t travel up to Inverness. Inverness are a well thought of, well run team, they really pulled themselves together and have a few high quality players so it was always going to be a battle but we were equally as good as them and it was good to come away with something when it would have been easier for the girls to know the season was over, know there was nothing to play for, to turn up and just go through the motions, but they didn’t do that, they played at a really high standard and were unlucky not to come away with more than the draw. We scored some unconventional goals shall we say, it was good to have a break of the ball for once instead of it going against us.’

‘We knew the situation with keeper Fiona McNicoll missing the game a week in advance so we were prepared for it at least this time, so Kayleigh Brough and Lindsey Dunbar were prepared for it, they both stepped up and were great. I thought Kayleigh was outstanding, if she ever wants to go in goal for us again she’s more than welcome! I thought Lindsey was as well, she was pretty much a sweeper keeper, coming out and challenging at the edge of the box, taking attackers out at crosses, she was exceptional. It’s never an easy task to jump into a position like that so they both were great, as I said, it could have been easy for the girls in front of them to fall away knowing we had a makeshift side out, but they didn’t, they battled, they had something to prove and they went away proving it.’

Right back Sophie Milligan joined the club in late September and was making her second appearance since arriving while midfielder Alex Russell made her first start since April and both took advantage of the minutes to impress Neish.

‘I thought Sophie Milligan was very good, it’s difficult for someone to come into this team at such a late stage like she did and perform like she has. She looked like she tired a little in the second half after about an hour but she got a good run out and proved she had the quality needed to play at this level, that’s never been in doubt. Again the legs were a bit fatigued, that was behind my decision to rest her and she’ll be a very good player for us once the fitness starts progressing, the games start coming thick and fast and she gets into it.’

‘Alex Russell is Alex Russell, she’s going to give you 100% no matter where you put her, I thought she was quite good. She was rusty but on the whole she was making the runs, she was getting into positions and she was doing the things that I had asked her to do, I can’t ask any more than that. I was chuffed to bits with both Alex and Sophie, it was great to give Alex the full game, I would have loved to give Sophie the 90 too but at the time, I thought the game was what it was and we just needed to freshen things up a little bit, and that’s all it was.’

Inverness City 3 Forfar Farmington 3 (SWPL) 2nd November 2014

Inverness City                   3

Veronika Klechova 45, 49, Sarah Main 77

Forfar Farmington           3

Nicola Davidson 53, 64, Murron White 86

Forfar Farmington ended their 2014 Scottish Women’s Premier League season with a 3-3 draw away to Inverness City, the side coming from behind twice with all three goals from thirty yards or more.

A free kick double from Nicola Davidson and a late goal from Murron White countered City’s double from Veronika Kletchova and Sarah Main’s deflected effort.

Four changes were made from the win over Buchan a fortnight ago, with Fiona McNicoll, Nicky Grant and Claire Galloway all unavailable while Holly Napier dropped to the bench. Sydney Cairns, Sophie Milligan, Alex Russell and Kayleigh Noble all came in while Kayleigh Brough took the gloves for the first half, with Lindsey Dunbar in goal for the second half.

The game started off a stuffy affair, with the first chance coming in the tenth minute when Caren Webster’s shot was deflected wide.

Two minutes later Inverness’ Slovakian Veronika Klechova fired wide before Kayleigh Noble’s corner for the visitors was cleared as far as Jade McLaren who put the ball back into the box and Webster’s lay off was met by Noble but her effort was knocked wide by a defender.

Amy Gallacher latched onto a long ball by Webster in the 21st minute, raced to the byline and cut the ball in but Alex Russell stabbed the ball at keeper Kim Jappy while under pressure by the defence.

On the half hour mark Lisa McKenzie had two chances in quick succession for City, nodding past the post before blasting wide as well.

Good work from Gallacher two minutes later allowed captain Nicola Davidson a shot at goal but her long range effort flew over the bar.

Noble volleyed inches wide from Russell’s knock down before City took the lead on the stroke of half time, Klechova’s curling shot giving Kayleigh Brough no chance.

At half time Lindsey Dunbar took over goalkeeping duties while Brough moved into the centre of defence.

Noble saw another chance pushed wide before Inverness doubled their advantage, a cross from the left evading Dunbar and Klechova slotted home for her second of the game.

Farmington didn’t let the heads go down with this further blow, instead hunting for a goal back, half time sub Holly Napier sending a shot over from the edge of the box.

They grabbed a goal back in the 53rd minute, Nicola Davidson took a free kick from 30 yards out close to the touchline, the ball looked to be covered by keeper Jappy but it slipped under her and into the bottom corner.

On the hour mark Hannah Gordon thought she had scored when she put the ball past Dunbar but Noble managed to clear the ball off the line.

This was to prove to be vital when in the 64th minute Nicola Davidson equalised with a second free kick, this time five yards further out, the ball going in just under the crossbar out of the keeper’s reach.

Kirsty Deans hit the bar for the home side with twenty minutes to go before Caren Webster sent a ball towards the edge of the box for Amy Gallacher to run onto, she beat the keeper and outmuscled a defender but the tight angle and being off balance meant she hit the side netting with the shot.

Inverness took the lead again with thirteen minutes left, Sarah Main’s shot from the corner of the box was deflected past a helpless Dunbar.

In the 82nd minute Napier swung in a cross that found Brough but her shot was cleared off the line by a defender as Forfar looked to level the scores for the second time.

They did so with four minutes to go, Murron White picking the ball up 30 yards out and firing towards goal, the ball going in off the crossbar similar to Nicola Davidson’s second, this being White’s first of the season.

Gallacher went close to grabbing a minute later, Noble laying her off from Russell’s cross but her shot was knocked wide by Zoe MacLean. She then had another effort saved before Inverness hit the bar again seconds before the final whistle, Lindsey Dunbar looked like she was fouled as she was pushed, the ball fell to Klechova and her shot from the edge of the box cannoned off the bar.

The draw means that the girls end the season in tenth place on nineteen points and everyone at the club who played a part in helping the side stay up can be proud of their efforts.

Inverness City: Kim Jappy, Claire Masterton, Sarah Main, Emma Paterson, Kirsten Shearer, Megan McCarthy, Lisa McKenzie, Kirsty Deans, Hannah Gordon (Natalie Bodiam 66), Veronika Klechova, Sheena Nicol (Zoe MacLean 77)

Forfar Farmington: Kayleigh Brough 6, Sydney Cairns 10*(Murron White 46, 6), Jade McLaren 6 (Holly Napier 46, 6), Lindsey Dunbar 7, Amy Gallacher 7, Nicola Davidson 8, Alana Bruce 7, Alex Russell 7, Kayleigh Noble 7, Sophie Milligan 6 (Megan Burns 57, 5), Caren Webster 7.

*Happy now Sydney?