Forfar Athletic 1 Dunfermline Athletic 0 (SPFL League One) 21st February 2015

Forfar Athletic                  1

Stephen Husband 57

Dunfermline Athletic    0

Stephen Husband’s thirty yard stunner was enough for Forfar Athletic to defeat his former club Dunfermline on Saturday, moving the side to within a point of leaders Stranraer.

Seconds before Hubby’s cracker, new father Dale Hilson hit the post with a ferocious effort, with Stuart Malcolm also seeing a header cleared off the line.

After last week’s defeat to Airdrie, two changes were made, Husband coming in for the suspended Malin after his appeal was turned down and Hilson returning to take the place of Danny Denholm.

The first chance of the game came in the fourteenth minute when Pars left back Alex Whittle fired straight at Rab Douglas.

Four minutes later Gavin Swankie saw his effort deflected wide, and from Kader’s corner Stuart Malcolm’s header was cleared off the line by a defender.

Faissal El Bakhtaoui wasted arguably Dunfermline’s best chance of the game in the 20th minute, beating a defender before rounding Rab Douglas but instead of cutting the ball back for a teammate to slot home, he greedily fired into the side netting.

Just after the half hour mark Malcolm nodded wide from Iain Campbell’s free kick before Swankie dragged Hilson’s lay off wide on the stroke of half time.

Swankie was unlucky not to score ninety seconds into the second half, Templeman giving the captain the ball on the edge of the box but his goal bound effort was palmed wide by the impressive Scully.

In the 57th minute Templeman set up Dale Hilson and his powerful effort crashed off the post and out to the left wing.

Dunfermline’s Andy Geggan dispossessed Swankie after that shot and despite not playing in the same team as Stephen Husband for almost a year, passed straight to the Loons midfielder and he took two touches before unleashing a 30 yard effort into the top corner, giving the keeper no chance.

Two minutes later the former Par sent a free kick on the edge of the area inches over while Omar Kader sent his effort over the bar from close range after Templeman’s lay off.

Lewis Allan could have scored for Dunfermline in the 69th minute had it not been for a good save by Douglas, the keeper holding Gregor Buchanan’s header from the resulting corner.

In the 74th minute Swankie saw another effort parried minutes before former Loon Jim Paterson’s cross found Josh Falkingham but his header from a few yards out went wide when it looked easier to score.

Forfar had the last couple of chances late on, with Templeman shooting over and sub Danny Denholm having his shot parried by Scully.

The result coupled with Morton’s win against Stranraer means the Loons stay third but are now a point behind the Stair Park men.

Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas, Michael Travis, Iain Campbell, Stuart Malcolm, Darren Dods, Derek Young (James Dale 87), Omar Kader (Danny Denholm 78), Stephen Husband, Chris Templeman, Gavin Swankie, Dale Hilson (Martyn Fotheringham 84)

Subs not used: Aaron James, Andrew Steeves, Mark Baxter, Ross Salmon (gk)

Dunfermline Athletic: Ryan Scully, Andy Geggan, Alex Whittle (Jim Paterson 39), Stuart Urquhart, Gregor Buchanan, Kyle McAusland, Paul George (Lewis Allan 59), Lewis Spence, Andy Barrowman, Josh Falkingham, Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Michael Moffat 70)

Subs not used: Ross Millen, Shaun Byrne, David Hopkirk, Ryan Goodfellow (gk)

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Hibernian Development 0 Forfar Farmington 3 (Pre-Season Friendly) 20th February 2014

Hibernian Development                   0

 

Forfar Farmington                           3

Nicola Davidson 5, 54, Holly Napier 75

Forfar Farmington completed their pre-season schedule with a comfortable 3-0 win over Hibernian Development on a chilly Friday night in Edinburgh.

A goal in each half from captain Nicola Davidson followed by Holly Napier late on was enough with Hibs providing a tough challenge.

Farmington took the lead in the fifth minute, Napier’s corner swept home at the far post by Davidson.

Amy Gallacher was unfortunate a minute later, her good run ended with her effort slipping just past the post. In the eleventh minute Davidson almost turned provider, her through ball split the defence for Kayleigh Brough to run onto but despite beating the keeper to the ball she hit the side netting.

Jade McLaren nodded wide from Napier’s corner before Hibs started to threaten, having a header parried by Fiona McNicoll and then a shot deflected wide.

In the 37th minute another Napier corner found McLaren’s head, this time the header looked to be on target but a defender did well to deny her a goal before clearing the ball.

Two minutes after half time Hibs should have netted after their right winger advanced to the byline before sending a cross in that their striker sliced wide while unmarked.

Forfar had an almost identical chance in the 53rd minute, Gallacher releasing Napier down the wing and her cross into the box found Johnstone, although the ball looked like it took a bounce as she swung a foot at it and it went over.

They had the ball in the net sixty seconds later, Nicola Davidson’s half volley going in despite the Hibs keeper getting a hand to it.

Amy Gallacher hit the side netting with Kayleigh Brough’s header looping wide on the hour mark before the Premier League side sent on youngster Beth Shillitto for her first team debut.

The Edinburgh side saw a free kick fly inches wide as they looked for a way back into the friendly but Holly Napier killed the game in the 75th minute, latching onto a long ball before lashing home from the edge of the box.

McLaren got her head to a Napier corner yet again but sent the effort past the post with thirteen minutes left.

In the 85th minute Shillitto could have netted a goal in her first game, weaving her way past a defender although her effort was deflected wide by a defender.

With a minute to go Brough outmuscled a defender as she made her way into the box before seeing her shot blocked and Shillitto pounced on the rebound but could only watch as it went agonisingly past the left hand side post.

The side now look ahead to next Sunday when they face Hutchison Vale in the first round of the SWPL’s League Cup at Station Park.

Forfar Farmington: Fiona McNicoll, Sophie Milligan, Sydney Cairns, Jade McLaren, Kayleigh Brough, Keira Johnstone (Nivana Crighton 62), Nicola Davidson, Holly Napier, Gemma Collier, Lindsey Dunbar (Megan Burns 46), Amy Gallacher (Beth Shillitto 62)

Interview with Forfar Farmington’s Sophie Milligan

Sophie Milligan

Forfar Farmington right back Sophie Milligan can’t wait for the new season after struggling to break into the side when she joined at the tail end of last year.

22-year old Milligan, who signed for Forfar in late September, making two appearances before the season ended, said: “I’m definitely excited for the new season, it was frustrating putting in the hard work and commitment without the appearances, but understandably it was a difficult time to break into the squad who had been working together as a tight unit throughout the season, with crucial games remaining. “

”In saying that, the girls and Damon have been great and have helped me settle into the team. I had my first 90 minutes for the club against Motherwell in preseason, which was good to get under my belt and will be looking to continue to progress on this in the upcoming season.”

Milligan came through the ranks at Monifieth Ladies and after a short spell at Dundee United, spent four years at Robert Gordon University, combining playing with her studies.

One of her teammates and flatmates at university was Gemma Collier, and the defender helped Sophie to find a new club after leaving the Aberdeen based university: “After leaving RGU and settling into my new career as a physiotherapist, I began to miss my football as well as the challenge and camaraderie that came with it. Gemma knew I was looking around for clubs and passed on my number. I started training for the club and enjoyed the set up.”

The side have been training hard during pre-season but Milligan admits she has loved every minute of it: “Pre-season is always dreaded, but for myself this has been the hardest yet most enjoyable yet. Everyone’s working hard individually and as a team to reach the same goals and put us in the best position for the upcoming season. The physical dedication and time commitments the girls have produced is brilliant, with the support of the coaches, our gym trainer Shelley, and the University of Abertay enhancing our potential.”

“The atmosphere at the club is great, everyone looks out for each other and it really is like one big Forfar family with involvement throughout all levels of the club. With working full time it’s a big commitment but I’ve really enjoyed my short time at the club so far and can’t wait for the season to kick start.”

Despite only being at the club for a short amount of time, the right back is impressed by the younger players in the squad: “There is substantial amount of young talent within Forfar Farmington, and stepping up to the mark whilst not looking out of place during a tough last season is really the best experience they could have had. Although it’s a young squad, we have experience in the squad to support the younger ones; and they keep us ‘senior’ players on our toes too.

Forfar Farmington defender Megan Burns’ pre-season diary

Forfar Farmington defender Megan Burns

Forfar Farmington defender Megan Burns

‘As anyone who has played any level of football will tell you, preseason usually sucks! It’s never something players look forward to. Session after session of distance running or sprint after sprint after sprint, sometimes on grass, or maybe up hills, if you’re lucky you might get a session on the beach to perfect those sprints! Now imagine doing preseason right after Christmas, in the cold, sometimes snow, it’s enough to fill you with dread and keep you up at night. These are the things I think about when imagining the lead up to the new season.’

‘When our coach sat us down and told us we would be approaching preseason slightly differently this year, it got us all wondering what would be in store. He told us we would be doing work with Shelley Booth at her Train Eat Sleep Repeat gym in Dundee. We had a meet and greet with Shelley and got to view the gym just before Christmas. The first time I walked into the gym, I got really excited, it didn’t look like a conventional gym, the equipment was slightly foreign but after Shelley explained what she would be doing with us, I could not wait to start!’

Megan Burns in action last season

Megan Burns in action last season

‘This preseason has by far been the best one yet, we have been given the opportunity to do experience preseason in a different way than I am sure different to what a majority of other Ladies teams are doing. The work outs Shelly gives us are very hard going but at the same time enjoyable. She makes sure we don’t give up and that we always give a 110% at all times. Sometimes I feel like giving up but I know it will improve my performance during the game which makes me want to keep going.’

‘We are lucky to have the University of Abertay come in and do our fitness testing as well. The turned up with speed gates, jump mats and a bunch of other equipment to test our flexibility, power, and speed. It’s a great feeling to think that these people are giving up their time to help us, they are dedicated to improving us as individual athletes and in the process, making Forfar a better club. As a team, I think we are going into this season a lot more prepared than last one. I am looking forward to all the challenges that we will be faced with and I’m even more excited to play some of the bigger clubs in the league to show that we won’t be giving up as easy as we did last season. The belief and dedication the girls are showing is inspiring. Damon (Head Coach) is asking us to work hard, and to give a lot of time and effort for the year, and it’s really not easy. As a full time student, I can find it difficult to train four times a week as well as keep up with my studies. I get tired, especially the days I have to get up before 6am for a 7am training session, go to college, where I often am incredibly active throughout the day and have an extra training session at night. They are the challenging days, the days where everything from my neck and shoulders to my feel hurt, the days where my bed seems so appealing, but I know it’s all for a reason, it’s to make myself better on the park.’

‘Every one of the girls is putting the shifts in, we feel like we are all in it together, that’s what gets me through the tough days where I maybe am not feeling great, knowing that my team mates are there with me, and are helping me through it. It’s been fun training with the Development squad as well. I like seeing the next set of players coming through the ranks. They keep me and the rest of the girls on our toes, we see the work they are putting in and know that to keep our place we have to push ourselves. It’s such an exciting time, we have our first preseason game soon, I am looking forward to finally getting back on Station Park and back into the action. All this work has been for these moments and I for one cannot wait to get back into that blue strip!’

Megan Burns

Forfar Athletic 3 Peterhead 1 (SPFL League One) 7th February 2015

Forfar Athletic                  3

Chris Templeman 32, Gavin Swankie 53, 90+1

Peterhead                          1

Cameron Kerr 59

Forfar Athletic returned to winnings ways with a comfortable win over Peterhead at Station Park on Saturday.

Chris Templeman and a Gavin Swankie double was enough to defeat ten man Peterhead, with Cameron Kerr grabbing their consolation. The Blue Toon had Rory McAllister sent off for two rather silly incidents in less than three minutes.

Just one change was made after last week’s defeat, Templeman coming in for Martyn Fotheringham.

After a defensive error, Omar Kader was unlucky not to score inside 90 seconds, sending his effort into Graeme Smith’s arms.

This was the only chance in the first twenty five minutes, with the game being end to end without any urgency from either side or any opportunities being created.

Stuart Malcolm nodded a Michael Travis free kick past the post before David Cox forced Rab Douglas into action with a free kick that Douglas held.

Forfar took the lead in the 32nd minute, Travis set up Templeman although his first shot was parried, Swankie cutting the ball back across goal for Templeman to roll into an empty net.

Rory McAllister picked up his first booking in the 37th minute and then received his second two minutes later after the linesman spotted an off the ball incident between the striker and Darren Dods.

Six minutes into the second half Swankie put Denholm clean through and his effort forced a great save from Smith, although bizarrely a goal kick was given.

Two minutes later Swankie created his own chance, beating two defenders on the left side before curling home from a tight angle for his first goal since November.

Iain Campbell and Gavin Malin combined to set up Denholm but he sent the ball over the bar. Peterhead grabbed a goal back from close range in the 59th minute, loanee Cameron Kerr sweeping home Steven Noble’s cross at the far post.

Chances became few and far between again until the last ten minutes, Travis and Denholm setting up Templeman but after controlling his shot was touched wide.

Swankie made sure of all three points in injury time, Hilson broke after a Peterhead attack failed, sent the ball across to Swankie, he progressed on goal and fired past the keeper to move the Loons above Morton after their game was postponed.

Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas, Michael Travis, Iain Campbell, Stuart Malcolm, Darren Dods, Gavin Malin (Stephen Husband 69), Omar Kader (Dale Hilson 69), Derek Young (James Dale 90), Chris Templeman, Gavin Swankie, Danny Denholm.

Subs not used: Martyn Fotheringham, Aaron James, Andrew Steeves, Ross Salmon (gk)

Peterhead: Graeme Smith, Cameron Kerr, Steven Noble, Ryan Strachan, Scott Ross, Kevin Dzierzawski (Jordon Brown 68), David Cox, Jamie Redman, Rory McAllister, Jamie Stevenson (Andy Rodgers 83), Nicky Riley (Reece Donaldson 56)

Subs not used: Ross Smith, Fraser McLaren, Paul Jarvie (gk)

Forfar Farmington 2 Motherwell 2 (Pre-Season Friendly) 8th February 2015

Forfar Farmington           2

Lindsey Dunbar 46, Derrian Gollan, 54

Motherwell                       2

Nicole Goodwin 37, Stacey Cook 57

Kayleigh Brough gets an effort on target in the early stages of the match

Kayleigh Brough gets an effort on target in the early stages of the match

Holly Napier reckons there is still a lot more to come from Forfar Farmington after they were held to a two all draw by Motherwell in their first pre-season friendly of 2015.

Midfielder Lindsey Dunbar’s superb effort from 35 yards out cancelled out the Steelwomen’s first half opener and despite youngster Derrian Gollan putting them ahead, Motherwell equalised again with twenty minutes left.

The attacking midfielder said ‘It was a much better second half, I think we were a lot more relaxed than in the first, at least we were definitely less panicky on the ball.’

‘For our first friendly of the season, I thought it was okay, but there’s still a lot more to come from us I think.’

The Forfar side featured Gemma Collier, who had taken a year out from football and Keira Johnstone, making her second appearance since dislocating her knee last March.

Farmington had the first chance in the fifth minute, Kayleigh Brough forcing a good save from Linda Gibson.

Three minutes later Mandy Burns saw her shot parried and a counter attack ended with Holly Napier laying the ball off for Brough but again her strike was parried before being cleared.

Goalscorer Lindsey Dunbar

Lindsey Dunbar

The game was a midfield battle, with Motherwell creating more chances as the half progressed, firstly Helen Templeton flashed an effort wide before Pamela Liddell found the sidenetting in the 24th minute.

Eight minutes before half time, Motherwell took the lead, Nicole Goodwin punishing poor defending as she lashed home from close range.

Six minutes into the second half Lindsey Dunbar scored a fantastic 35 yard volley, pouncing on a poor header to send the ball looping over Gibson.

In the 54th minute, 15 year old sub Derrian Gollan scored her first senior goal, latching onto a perfectly timed through ball by Napier, racing clear of a slow defence before slotting home to give Forfar the lead just eight minutes after equalising.

Derrian Gollan puts Farmington in front with her first senior goal

Derrian Gollan puts Farmington in front with her first senior goal

The lead lasted all of three minutes, Stacey Cook firing into the top corner for Well. A poor pass back let Gollan in again in the 64th minute but Gibson managed to get a hand to her shot this time. The resultant corner wasn’t cleared properly although Dunbar could only volley into the keeper’s arms.

Keira Johnstone set up Napier with four minutes left but her edge of the box chance was smothered easily.

In the 77th minute Jade McLaren set up Dunbar although she could only send her long range effort straight at the keeper.

The final chance of the game fell Motherwell’s way, Burns wasting her effort with McNicoll alert to her shot.

Forfar Farmington: Fiona McNicoll, Sophie Milligan, Megan Burns, Jade McLaren, Kayleigh Brough (Derrian Gollan 40), Lindsey Dunbar, Keira Johnstone, Nicola Davidson, Holly Napier, Gemma Collier (Sydney Cairns 40), Kayleigh Noble (Nivana Crighton 57)

Motherwell: Linda Gibson, Tracy Burns (Erin Dickson 70), Stacey Cook, Ainsley Douglas, Terri Donnelly, Nicole Goodwin (Natasha Roberts 62), Mandy Burns, Toni Mason, Laura Smith, Pamela Liddle, Helen Templeton (Karen Wright 70)

Interview with Forfar Farmington midfielder Holly Napier

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Forfar Farmington midfielder Holly Napier reckons the side will improve on last season, with the experience gained by the younger squad members key to making progress in this year’s Scottish Women’s Premier League.

She also believes that Gemma Collier will help add to that, with the defender returning to Forfar after taking a year out from the game to travel.

‘Of course I believe that the year of experience for the younger ones will help. The girls now know what to expect and the level they must play at. Losing Nic and Alana would be a loss to any club but as a team I believe we can adapt to our losses and progress forward with the great players we have. Of course we now have Gemma Collier back also which will definitely help, especially with experience and maturity.’

The club learnt when they will face the fellow SWPL sides last Monday although 19 year old Napier wasn’t rifling through the fixture list looking for any particular game ‘I look forward to every game because they all have their own individual challenges. However, playing against the stronger clubs is always great to see how you measure up individually and as a team.’

The side are currently doing strength and conditioning at recently opened Dundee gym Train, Eat, Sleep, Repeat along with the usual training at Station Park and Market Muir ‘I believe that being in the gym as well as on the training field is definitely a bonus for the team, Cross Fit is something many of us have never experienced before so it’s also great to be challenging ourselves in that way. With it also being a personal preference for myself, I’m loving it as are the rest of the girls! Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you feel like you’re about to collapse, but with our trainer Shelley involving that fun element to every session we do, it’s makes everything highly enjoyable every time.’ ‘I can’t wait to get the pre-season friendlies underway, we are training this hard over preseason for a reason so it’ll be great to see how our hard work has paid off. With the players we have, our team should do well this season and I’ve every belief that we will. We train to play because we love the game, so I think everyone is just waiting for them to begin.’

The side’s friendly with Aberdeen on Sunday was cancelled so the pre-season programme begins with a home fixture against 2nd Division side Motherwell this weekend.