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)