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)