Interview with Forfar Athletic’s Martyn Fotheringham

Midfielder Martyn Fotheringham has chipped in with more than a few goals in his 8 years at the Loons, with 39 goals in 230 games.

One of the more unique things about that stat is in the 35 games he’s netted in, Forfar Athletic have only lost three games when Foxy has scored, the last of those losses coming in 2012 at home to Arbroath.

Partick Thistle and East Stirlingshire were the other victors back in 2008/2009 but in the twenty eight times they’ve won, he’s scored some fantastic goals, such as his free kick against Stenhousemuir in October or directly from a corner kick against Albion Rovers in March 2009.

foxy

‘I suppose you could say I’m a bit of a lucky charm, I didn’t realise until you’d said that, suppose it’s just one of those things, there’s no reason for it, just seems to be the way, I must only score when we’re on top!’

‘I’ve been lucky in there being quite a few important goals like in the play-offs against Arbroath in 2010 and against Stenhousemuir to keep us up in 2012. I don’t know what it is, I just seem to be in the right place in the right time, I’m quite lucky that way! You’ll have to tell the gaffer that, he’ll maybe play me more!’

As well as goals, the popular midfielder, who made his debut against Stranraer in August 2007 under Jim Moffat, has created a few goals, Gavin Swankie’s opener against Rangers being one ‘I’ve contributed a lot of them (assists), corners and free kicks, it’s just putting them on boys’ heads, it’s them that do all the work.’

The 31 year old Fotheringham reckons the side joint top with the Loons, Stranraer, have all the momentum just now after a fantastic run, but may hit a sticky patch soon as Forfar have as of late ‘Fair enough we’ve not played well the past two or three weeks but we’re still picking up points and we’re sitting joint top of the league at Christmas. If you’d have said that in the summer we’d have taken it so we’re all happy enough with that. I think Stranraer are the team that have the momentum just now but we’re going through a bad spell and still taking points, whether they’ve still to reach their bad point yet, they’ve maybe peaked a bit early, but we’ll keep plugging away.’

‘You can’t expect to go through the whole season without going dropping points, especially with a part time team, you’re going to have different injuries and different scenarios, boys being knackered with work, you are going to have sluggish games. If we can maintain it in the second half of the season we’ll not be far away.’

Debut: Stranraer away, 4th August 2007, lost 3-0

First goal: Elgin City away, 10th November 2007, drew 2-2

Starts                    Sub                        Goals

2007/08:               21                          5                               2

2008/09:               24                         12                              5

2009/10:               28                           9                              6

2010/11:               24                           8                              7

2011/12:               29                           4                              8

2012/13:               22                          10                             4

2013/14:               17                           8                              5

2014/15:               1                             8                              2

Overall:              166                          64                            39

2013/14:               17                           8                              5

2014/15:               1                              8                              2

Overall:                166                         64                           39

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Forfar Athletic 1 Airdrieonians 1 (SPFL League One) 20th December 2014

Forfar Athletic                  1

Michael Dunlop 78

Airdrieonians                    1

Patrick Boyle 57

Forfar Athletic had Michael Dunlop to thank for rescuing a point against Airdrieonians on Saturday.

The Loons dropped to second after Stranraer won, with both sides on the same points but the Stair Park men have a slightly better goal difference.

Omar Kader dropped to the bench for last week’s match winner Martyn Fotheringham, this being his first start of the season.

Forfar had the first chance after eight minutes, Dale Hilson heading over after Fotheringham swung in a corner. Marc Fitzpatrick fired wide from the edge of the box three minutes later before Bryan Prunty’s shot, after a free kick took a deflection, was brilliantly saved by Rab Douglas.

The Forfar defence had to look sharp to clear a Lister header off the line in the seventeenth minute, while at the other end Stephen Husband threatened twice with shots from outside the box but the first one was blocked with Andy McNeil gathering the other.

Patrick Boyle struck a low free kick on the D of the box go wide of the mark as the Diamonds hunted for an opener.

In the 36th minute winger Nathan Blockley sent a header wide from Scott Fraser’s cross.

As half time approached Hilson beat McNeil to a ball in the box but as he readied himself to fire home McNeil nabbed the ball from his feet. The visitors had McNeil to thank again for keeping the game nil-nil on the stroke of half time, Fotheringham sending in a corner with Michael Dunlop stabbing the ball towards goal, McNeil saving the ball on the line.

Hilson really should have given the Loons the lead three minutes into the second half, after a long ball, he flicked the ball over the onrushing keeper, and when he took his shot the ball was cleared off the line by a defender.

Airdrie took the lead in the 57th minute, Boyle won the ball outside the Forfar box and curled home past Douglas.

They almost doubled their lead four minutes later when Ben Richards-Everton nodded over from Fitzpatrick’s corner.

Michael Dunlop put a header inches over the bar before he made a great challenge to deny Jim Lister at the other end.

Nathan Blockley saw his hooked effort hit the bar after he connected with Luca Gasparotto’s knock down from a corner.

Michael Dunlop equalised for Forfar with twelve minutes left, rising above everyone to meet Gavin Malin’s corner power a header into the top corner.

Malin almost set up another goal with a corner in the 82nd minute, finding Swankie who turned a defender but could only watch as his shot was parried by McNeil and then cleared.

McNeil had to be quick to catch another of Malin’s corners in the 86th minute, with Dunlop close to reaching the ball.

The subs made by Forfar looked to have them fired up, with Malin and Kader playing very well since coming on.

Forfar fans will be wondering how they didn’t score a winner in the 89th minute, with Airdrie’s defence scrambling to stop at least four chances. Firstly, Omar Kader saw a shot bloacked, the ball falling to Swankie, he tried to fire home, the defence knocking the ball out to the attack again, Chris Templeman beat a defender and saw his shot parried by McNeil. From this Gavin Malin tried to stab the ball home but was denied and a goalmouth scramble saw the ball cleared off the line at least once before it was cleared for a throw in.

Gavin Swankie had a free kick blocked by the wall, with Michael Dunlop sending a shot onto the roof of the net before the final whistle went.

The result means the Loons are now on 33 points, and with Stranraer beating Dunfermline, the Stair Park men are now equal on points, moving above us due to their +14 goal difference compared to our +11. Both sides are now five and six points ahead of full time teams Morton and Dunfermline.

Ramblings of a Loon’s Player of the Match: Michael Dunlop

Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas, Mark Baxter, Jim Paterson, Michael Dunlop, Darren Dods, Scott Smith, Martyn Fotheringham (Omar Kader 61), Stephen Husband (Gavin Malin 69), Dale Hilson (Chris Templeman 72), Gavin Swankie, Danny Denholm.

Subs not used: Stuart Malcolm, James Dale, Aaron James, Ross Salmon (gk)

Airdrieonians: Andy McNeil, Chris O’Neill, Patrick Boyle, Ross Docherty, Luca Gasparotto, Ben Richards-Everton, Nathan Blockley, Marc Fitzpatrick, Jim Lister, Scott Fraser (Jamie Bain 83), Bryan Prunty (Keigan Parker 87)

Subs not used: John Boyle, Jamie Watson, Liam Watt, Scott Stewart, Rohan Ferguson (gk)

Forfar Athletic 2 Stirling Albion 1 (SPFL League One) 13th December 2014

Forfar Athletic                  2

Darren Dods 26, Martyn Fotheringham 81

Stirling Albion                   1

Steven Doris 45

Forfar Athletic consolidated their two point lead at the top of League One with a hard fought 2-1 win over Stirling Albion on a cold Saturday at Station Park.

Darren Dods gave the Loons the lead after 26 minutes with Steven Doris equalising with the last kick of the first half before super sub Martyn Fotheringham scored the winner in the 81st minute.

Manager Dick Campbell fielded an unchanged side after last week’s win against Stenhousemuir as the Loons looked to defeat a side that had been struggling all season.

The Binos had the first opportunity of the game after three minutes when Doris cut the ball back from the byline for Phil Johnston but his shot was deflected wide and wide man Sandy Cunningham failed to threaten with the resulting corner.

Danny Denholm and Stephen Husband went close four minutes later, Scott Smith sent a corner into the box, Denholm slicing his shot but the ball was cleared to Husband who fired past the post.

Cunningham fired straight at Rab Douglas after weaving his way through the home defence as Forfar struggled to get into the game. Johnston sent a poor effort towards the keeper as well before Angus Beith blasted over after Cunningham knocked down Craig Comrie’s free kick.

Defender Mark Baxter almost netted his first goal in five years in the 16th minute, Dale Hilson’s shot across goal found Baxter but when he attempted to stab the ball home at the far post Callum Reidford made a great stop to deny him.

After scoring a free kick last week Husband fancied his chances again twenty yards out, his effort going inches wide.

The Loons took the lead after 26 minutes, Husband playing a short corner to Gavin Swankie and his cross fell to Darren Dods, who scored a goal Swankie himself would be proud of, turning a defender before lashing the ball past Reidford from ten yards.

Michael Dunlop nodded wide from Smith’s corner before a poor clearance allowed Smith and Denholm to combine to set up Swankie but after he turned Comrie his shot was deflected wide and the corner was wasted.

Swankie had a valid penalty claim on the stroke of half time when he was barged in the box, with the ref awarding a goal kick. From the goal kick Stirling equalised, racing up the park with Cunningham swinging a cross into the box for Doris to fire home at the far post.

Three minutes into the second half the visitors should have been ahead if not for Rab Douglas, the veteran pulling off a great double save from Gordon Smith after the ex-Hearts attacker latched onto Cunningham’s through ball.

In the 53rd minute Dale Hilson fired wide before half time sub and former Bino Chris Templeman sent a header the wrong side of the post from Husband’s free kick.

The game was a drab affair for the majority of the second half, but came to life in the last ten minutes when Forfar took the lead again, Mark Baxter sending in a cross to the back post for sub Martyn Fotheringham to bullet a header home, yet again another important goal from the midifielder.

Fotheringham almost scored again in the final minute of the game, dragging an effort from the edge of the box wide.

Forfar stay two points clear at the top of the league ahead of Stranraer but are now opening a gap between themselves and the two favourites for the league, with Dunfermline losing 3-0 to Airdrie and Morton salvaging a point at home to Brechin, the Loons are now four ahead of Morton and five ahead of the Pars.

Next week sees Airdrie travel to Station Park hoping to stop Forfar’s excellent league form here, the side winning seven and drawing once this season.

Ramblings of a Loon’s Player of the Match: Darren Dods

Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas, Mark Baxter, Jim Paterson (Stuart Malcolm 68), Michael Dunlop, Darren Dods, Scott Smith, Omar Kader (Chris Templeman 46), Stephen Husband, Dale Hilson, Gavin Swankie, Danny Denholm (Martyn Fotheringham 74)

Subs not used: Gavin Malin, James Dale, Aaron James, Ross Salmon (gk)

Stirling Albion: Callum Reidford, Lee Hamilton, Ross Forsyth (James Creaney 51), Angus Beith, Ross McGeachie, Chris Smith, Phil Johnston (Lewis Small 77), Craig Comrie (Graham Weir 83), Steven Doris, Gordon Smith, Sandy Cunningham.

Subs not used: Craig Wedderburn, Darren Smith, David McClune, Greg Paterson (gk)

Interview with Forfar Farmington Head Coach Damon Neish: Keeping his squad whole, departing players, youth and experience & building his backroom staff

Forfar Farmington head coach Damon Neish is delighted to get the majority of last season’s squad signed up, with next season looking great so far for the side.

Just two players, Caren Webster and Murron White have departed, with veteran Nicky Grant taking some time to recover from injuries.

‘Things for next season are shaping up really well, we’ve managed to maintain almost our full squad squad, which was the main priority going forward. We built so strongly over the course of last season so my main aim was to maintain the squad and not lose too many players. We’ve done that so now we’re at the stage where we’re looking to add players, we’re in discussions with four or five players, quality players at that, so it’s shaping up really well.’

‘We’ve got our pre-season pretty much sorted, there’s three friendlies organised with a possibility of a fourth so it’s looking really good at the moment.’

‘Murron White and Caren Webster have left, Nicky Grant is taking some time, she’s had problems with her knees and all the rest of it. All of these girls, Caren, Murron, Nicky and anyone else is part of the fabric of this club, they did great things for us last year and they’ll always be welcome here. Some of them have been battling injuries and need time to recover, Murron and Nicky deserve the time to recover, Caren has other priorities outwith this club but she’s still said she’ll be available to help if we need her to and that’s the great thing about girls at this club, they’re all part of the fabric of it.’

Neish believes the side has a great blend of youth and experience, and reckons some of the younger players will be called up for the Scotland youth set up sooner or later ‘It was great to get the girls signed up, we had a few teams asking about players, quite rightly as well, in the second half of the players have been outstanding. Even some of our younger players, there was some interest in them like Derrian Gollan but these players are committed to the club for the foreseeable future, they see what I’m trying to build here and they know how important they are to it.’

‘We’ve done a lot of work to bond this team and get these girls developing together, we’re really starting to see the rewards in it now. Amy and Derrian have obviously been part of the Scotland under 17’s squad and if you ask my opinion, it’s only a matter of time before players like Jade McLaren and Lindsey Dunbar are invited up to be part of the Scotland set up. You look at players like Megan Burns, she’s been great since I came in, the rate of improvement she’s shown has been fantastic, you’ve got commitment from the likes of Fiona McNicoll and Nicola Davidson, the experienced players who are guiding these girls, the experience they provide is second to none.’

‘It’s fantastic to have these experienced players but also players like Megan, Amy, Lindsey and Sydney Cairns. Keira Johnstone also, she’s an incredibly exciting player to have come back, it’s like a new player coming into the team because she’s been out injured so long! Holly Napier in the last five or six games of the season found her shooting boots and was absolutely brilliant, these are the girls we’re now seeing develop into proper football players, not ones who just want to have a kickabout, they’re playing as a team so it’s incredible to keep them and be able to ward off interest.’

The club announced a new goalkeeping coach on Friday evening and there could be more coming in over the next few weeks ‘I’ve managed to secure Eoin Boylan as a goalkeeping coach who is based in Dundee, he’s primarily based around youth development football, he works with the 20:20 squads, the elite players in the boys game in the East Region which is great. He’s got a little bit more experience working with older players too, and he’s a goalkeeper, which is always helpful. He’s going to come in and be a great asset to the younger players, and I’d recommend him to any other clubs that might need a goalkeeping coach, he’s very good. This will be experience for him working with elite goalkeepers like Hannah Dryden and Fiona McNicoll and it’s great for the club and great for the players.’

‘I’m excited to get started on building my backroom staff, I’ve got another person coming in soon hopefully, we’ve just added an under 17’s coach and I should hopefully have an assistant joining very soon but we still need to dot some i’s and cross some t’s. It’s a fantastic time at the club, we’ve got staff joining, experienced Premier League players on the horizon and we’ve got a squad that’s going to compete.’

Stenhousemuir 0 Forfar Athletic 2 – SPFL League One (6th December 2014)

Stenhousemuir                                0

 

Forfar Athletic                  2

Michael Dunlop 10, Stephen Husband 71

Goals from Michael Dunlop and Stephen Husband in each half were enough to send Forfar Athletic back to the top of League One after a 2-0 win over Stenhousemuir on Saturday.

After a two week break Jim Paterson and Danny Denholm came in for trialist Michael Travis and Chris Templeman in the only changes for the Loons.

After an opening ten minutes dominated by the ball staying in the middle of the park, Forfar Athletic took the lead with the first shot of the game, Scott Smith swinging a corner in and Michael Dunlop rose highest at the back post to net his first of the season much to the larger than normal travelling support’s joy.

Six minutes later Omar Kader and Gavin Swankie combined to send a cross into the box, that was headed out towards Dale Hilson and his effort was deflected wide. From the resulting corner Dunlop had another header saved.

A long ball was flicked on towards Hilson by Swankie but his shot was straight at Greg Fleming, as was Stephen Husband’s free kick on the half hour mark.

Stenhousemuir had their first real chance in the 32nd minute when Sean Dickson let fly from just outside the box, Rab Douglas pushing the ball wide.

They went even closer six minutes later, Kieran Millar’s shot was turned into the path of Jamie Reid, Douglas pulling off a great save from his angled shot. Reid took the corner from that and Ross Meechan nodded over.

Before half time Gavin Swankie saw a shot parried by Fleming, with Danny Denholm somehow firing the rebound wide. Kader and Swankie then fired straight at the keeper as the Loons went into half time leading despite not even getting out of second gear.

Much like the first half, the opening fifteen minutes were consigned to the middle of the park, the first opportunity coming in the 58th minute, Gary Oliver attempted to put Meechan through, the ball cleared to Reid and his cross was met by Colin McMenamin but his header was poor and straight at Rab Douglas.

Oliver wasted arguably Stenhousemuir’s best chance of the game, a counter attack led to him racing clear, rounding Douglas but he kept the ball for too long and was crowded out before he could slot into the empty net before Dickson saw a shot deflected into the keeper’s arms from Reid’s corner.

Fleming parried Swankie’s long range effort in the 63rd minute with Hilson seeing a shot from the same area go wide 60 seconds later.

Stephen Husband doubled Forfar’s lead with nineteen minutes left, rifling a low free kick twenty five yards out into the bottom corner, this also being his first of the season.

Fleming almost gifted the Loons a third a minute later, racing out to meet a long ball but he fluffed his clearance, the ball falling to Dale Hilson 30 yards out and his shot looked goalbound but hit the bar and went over before Husband had another long range shot, this time blasting over.

With ten minutes to go Dickson fired straight at Douglas in one of very few chances as the game reached the end, the final one being McMenamin seeing a shot deflected wide and the corner coming to nothing again.

The result coupled with Morton’s 2-0 defeat away to Stranraer means that the Loons return to the top of League One, the players and Dick Campbell continuing to prove those who tipped them for relegation this season wrong.

Ramblings of a Loon’s Player of the Match: Michael Dunlop

Stenhousemuir: Greg Fleming, Robbie Duncan, Ross Meechan, Alan Lithgow, Ciaran Summers (Paul-Jon Sludden 85), Keiran Millar, Jamie Reid (Josh Watt 67), Kris Faulds (Tom Walsh 76), Colin McMenamin, Sean Dickson, Gary Oliver.

Subs not used: Bryan Hodge, Gregor Fotheringham, Ryan Millar, Chris Smith (gk)

Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas, Mark Baxter, Jim Paterson (Stuart Malcolm 59), Michael Dunlop, Darren Dods, Scott Smith, Omar Kader (Chris Templeman 72), Stephen Husband, Dale Hilson, Gavin Swankie, Danny Denholm (Martyn Fotheringham 85)

Subs not used: Gavin Malin, James Dale, Aaron James, Ross Salmon (gk)

Forfar Farmington Presentation Evening

Forfar Farmington hosted their ninth annual presentation evening on Friday, with the evening well attended by players from under 9’s to the SWPL squad, coaches and families at the Reid Hall.

Awards were handed out to players from the u13’s section upwards, with Fiona MacKenzie winning the Community Award and the highly rated Derrian Gollan from the under 15 Wildcats taking the club’s Youth Player of the Year, Scottish Women’s National Team assistant Ann-Helen Grahm was a guest of the club on the night.

The Premier League squad’s captain Nicola Davidson took the Player of the Year and was also deemed to be the Player’s Player of the Year by her teammates. 15 year old defender Sydney Cairns won Clubwoman of the Year with fellow youngster Amy Gallacher winning Young Player of the Year after both put in a great effort over the season.

Cairns said on her award ‘I’m really happy to have won it because I think at the end of the day it’s just been a tough season overall and it could have went to anyone. I think everyone’s put in one hundred per cent week in and week out at training and in games. I’m really privileged to have won this because after a difficult season, staying up was the most important thing although it is good to get an individual award.’

‘This season has been a good learning curve and a good experience, I’ve loved it. All the girls are great and it’s a fantastic atmosphere in the team’

Scotland under 17 attacker Gallacher agreed on the massive team spirit, adding ‘I’m pleased with my award because it’s been a long hard season and a lot of the players in the side could have won this. It was a good season for me personally with my Scotland call ups, a lot of help from the coach Damon and my teammates gave me a lot of support, we’re like a big family at this club’

Forfar Farmington FC

Player of the Year: Nicola Davidson

Player’s Player of the Year: Nicola Davidson

Young Player of the Year: Amy Gallacher

Clubwoman of the Year: Sydney Cairns

Forfar Farmington Ladies

Player of the Year: Dana McFarlane

Player’s Player of the Year: Jane Ritchie

Most Improved Player: Lisa Hoggan

Clubwoman of the Year: Becky Whyte

Forfar Farmington Under 17’s

Player of the Year: Erin Cattanach

Player’s Player of the Year: Nikki Grant

Clubwoman of the Year: Katie Morison/Beth Shillitto

Forfar Farmington Under 15 Wildcats

Player of the Year: Chloe Sturrock

Player’s Player of the Year: Derrian Gollan

Clubwoman of the Year: Kirrin Gellatly

Forfar Farmington Under 15 Blues

Player of the Year: Rebecca McMillan

Player’s Player of the Year: Leah White

Clubwoman of the Year: Caitlin Mitchell

Forfar Farmington Under 15 Eagles

Player of the Year: Kerys Donaghue

Player’s Player of the Year: Josie Michie

Clubwoman of the Year: Rio Mitchell

Forfar Farmington Under 13 United

Player of the Year: Taylor Clifford

Most Improved Player: Chloe Morison

Clubwoman of the Year: Amy Docherty

Forfar Farmington Under 13 Meerkats

Player of the Year: Steffi Simpson

Most Improved Player: Niamh Henderson

Clubwoman of the Year: Eadaoin Cullen

Forfar Farmington Under 13 Flyers

Player of the Year: Philippa McCallum

Most Improved Player: Morgan Davie

Clubwoman of the Year: Rachel Robbie

Other Awards

Community Award: Fiona MacKenzie

Youth Player of the Year: Derrian Gollan (U15 Wildcats)