Stirling Albion 0
Forfar Athletic 1
Gavin Malin 37
Gavin Malin’s second goal in three games ensured Forfar Athletic left with all three points on Saturday against strugglers Stirling Albion.
A fantastic passing move in eight minutes before half time ended with Malin sweeping the ball home and Albion weren’t helped by having skipper Chris Smith sent off for a last man foul on Martyn Fotheringham 43 seconds into the second half.
Just one change was made after last week’s win over Stenhousemuir, with the injured Dale Hilson replaced by Danny Denholm, who scored the winner in the aforementioned game.
The Loons started well and almost took the lead in the eighth minute when Iain Campbell’s free kick was knocked down by Michael Travis but skipper Gavin Swankie sent his volley inches over former Forfar keeper Greg Paterson’s bar.
In the twelfth minute Swankie sent a through ball to Denholm and his cross was cleared at the near post, if the defender hadn’t done so Omar Kader would have almost certainly netted.
It was the same less than a minute later, Denholm and Martyn Fotheringham combining before Campbell swung the ball into the box but Paterson held the ball with Fotheringham close.
Swankie rounded the keeper in the 16th minute after Fotheringham won the ball in a 50-50 challenge, unfortunately for Swankie, the ball hit Paterson and he was able to gather before Swankie slotted home.
Just before the half hour mark Campbell sent another cross into the box and Denholm managed to set up Fotheringham but Chris Smith got a foot in front of his effort and the ball was cleared.
The Loons took the lead in the 37th minute, some great passing on the left hand side carved a poor Albion defence apart and Gavin Swankie was able to make his way to the byline before cutting the ball back for Gavin Malin to fire home, scoring his second goal in the last three games.
Stirling had been struggling to get into the game and it was made even more difficult for the side bottom of the league just 43 seconds after half time, Fotheringham chased after a clearance and once he collected it on the edge of the Stirling box he was bundled over by defender Chris Smith. Referee Barry Cook opted to send Smith off, with the home support and management feeling it was a harsh decision.
Fotheringham took the free kick awarded after that foul but the set piece flew inches over the bar.
The popular midfielder then curled a shot past the post in the 54th minute and from the resulting goal kick, the ball was headed back towards the Stirling goal by Stuart Malcolm, Gavin Swankie passed to Denholm but he could only fire over.
Stirling had their first shot on goal in the 58th minute when Angus Beith sent a free kick into Rab Douglas’ arms.
In the 66th minute Fotheringham had a shot deflected wide as the Loons looked more likely to score the next goal, if there was to be one.
Craig Wedderburn sent a header wide from Beith’s corner with nineteen minutes left whilst at the other end Fotheringham, Swankie and Derek Young combined to allow Denholm a shot on goal, the winger saw his chance hit the sidenetting.
Gavin Malin went close again in the 83rd minute, sub Chris Templeman flicked a long ball into Gavin Swankie’s path and he cut the ball back for the midfielder who sent the ball just over the bar with Paterson beaten.
Rab Douglas did well to gather Beith’s effort in the last minute, the shot being Albion’s first shot on goal that wasn’t from a free kick.
The result means the Loons are now just a point off leaders Stranraer with a game in hand after the Stair Park men drew at Airdrieonians.
Ramblings of a Loon’s Player of the Match: Martyn Fotheringham
Stirling Albion: Greg Paterson, Ross McGeachie, Kevin McKinlay, Angus Beith, Craig Wedderburn, Chris Smith, Phil Johnston (Chris Paton 77), Craig Comrie, Scott Shepherd (Lee Hamilton 49), Gordon Smith, Sandy Cunningham.
Subs not used: Willie Robertson, Ross Forsyth, Jordan Herron, David McClune, Callum Reidford (GK).
Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas, Michael Travis, Iain Campbell, Stuart Malcolm, Darren Dods, Derek Young (Stephen Husband 90), Omar Kader (Chris Templeman 70), Gavin Malin, Martyn Fotheringham (James Dale 78), Gavin Swankie, Danny Denholm
Subs not used: Michael Dunlop, Aaron James, Andrew Steeves, Ross Salmon (gk)