Hearts 2 Forfar Farmington 0 (SWPL) 24th May 2015

Hearts                                  2

Demi Falconer 22, Brogan Anderson 90+2

Forfar Farmington              0

Forfar Farmington fell to a 2-0 defeat at Kings Park against a tough Hearts side on Sunday in the Scottish Women’s Premier League.

A goal in each half from Demi Falconer and Brogan Anderson were enough for the Jam Tarts, Forfar midfielder Holly Napier had a goal ruled out for offside, despite the ball coming from an opposition player.

After the game head coach Damon Neish said “I’m disappointed today, but we’ll move on to next week and get better, every game is an opportunity to learn.”

The side travelled with only thirteen players, with Gemma Collier unavailable due to other commitments and Sydney Cairns injured. With Collier out, Laura Parsley came into the starting eleven, while Megan Burns and Kayleigh Noble were the only subs.

Four minutes into the league encounter Hearts had the first chance but Leah Boak fired over when she should have done better.

Six minutes later Amy Gallacher tested Autumn Farrell from long range, the keeper gathering the ball after fumbling the initial shot. In the nineteenth minute Forfar should have been ahead, a ball from Amy Gallacher was booted towards goal by a Hearts defender, Holly Napier ran onto it and slotted home, the ref ruling it out for offside, despite the midfielder running from behind the player who made the error.

Three minutes after the incident, Hearts went in front, Demi Falconer eventually forcing the ball home after Sharon Hughes’ cross.

Derrian Gollan had a great chance to equalise in the 29th minute, Farrell’s poor kick out falling to Gollan, with the Hearts keeper doing well to push Gollan’s effort away.

Laura Parsley combined well with Lindsey Dunbar to put the midfielder through the defence, with her shot held by Farrell.

The second half started off slowly, with each side battling to break through the defences, the first opportunity of the half came in the 58th minute, Falconer firing straight at McNicoll.

Three minutes later Jade McLaren’s throw found Napier, her header set up Gallacher but her low effort was covered by the keeper. McLaren was involved again with a cross into the area, the ball evaded Gollan but Dunbar met the ball at the back post, the ball landing on the roof of the net.

Gallacher curled a shot over from the corner of the box in the 65th minute before Hughes shot wide from a Vicki Farqhuar free kick.

The game quietened down with substitutes disrupting the flow of play, the only incident of note before the last ten minutes was a booking for Lindsey Dunbar.

Dunbar then saw a shot blocked in the 82nd minute before sub Kayleigh Noble saw her shot from a tight angle blocked on the line.

Forfar pushed for an equaliser and almost grabbed one in the last five minutes, Holly Napier swinging a corner in for Dunbar to meet but her header flew past the post.

Hearts killed the game in the second minute of injury time, a counter attack ending in Brogan Anderson slotting home from close range after Forfar lost possession hunting for an equaliser.

Forfar Farmington: Fiona McNicoll, Jade McLaren, Sophie Milligan, Kayleigh Brough, Lindsey Dunbar, Nicola Davidson, Amy Gallacher, Holly Napier, Keira Johnstone (Megan Burns 76), Derrian Gollan, Laura Parsley (Kayleigh Noble 63)

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Forfar Farmington 2 Stirling University 2 (SWPL) 17th May 2015

Forfar Farmington                           2

Amy Gallacher 68, 87

Stirling University                           2

Ashley McDonald 34, Nicole Pullar 90+5

Forfar Farmington head coach Damon Neish was left frustrated after Stirling University grabbed a point with an equaliser five minutes into injury time at Station Park on Sunday.

Stirling took a first half lead through Ashley McDonald but two goals from Amy Gallacher, the second coming three minutes from time, looked to have given Forfar the three points but the visitors’ Nicole Pullar netted an equaliser deep into added time.

Speaking after the game, Neish said “I feel it was two points dropped, should have had three points. We just needed to kill the game and see it off but we never and were punished for silly mistakes. I’m disappointed because we dominated the game, they had two very good girls up front but not I’m genuinely gutted. We’ll look ahead to next week and go for three points against Hearts.”

“Amy scored two good goals, she used her wits about her to make some room in the box and finish for the first and running in behind for the second, which is something that we’ve been working on and took the goal really well. She was unlucky only to get two in fact, she made a lot of space for herself all day. A lot of girls including Amy played well, just not good enough obviously.”

Neish was able to bring a new face of sorts off the bench, with Laura Parsley returning from America until August “It’s always good to have Scoob back, she’s not quite match fit yet, I think that showed a little bit but she gave us an option out wide and created a couple of chances for herself, I’m pleased to have her back.”

Stirling had the first chance in a stuffy start to the game in the tenth minute when Nicole Pullar raced clear but Fiona McNicoll raced out to deny her.

Nine minutes later Holly Napier fired a thirty yard free kick over the bar before the keeper held a Lindsey Dunbar effort.

Stirling almost gifted Forfar the lead in the 26th minute when Ana Gomez swung a foot at a Jade McLaren cross and her wayward clearance landed on the roof of the net. From the corner McLaren sent a header up there as well.

Napier headed at the keeper from a McLaren cross on the half hour mark while at the other end Rachel Donaldson forced McNicoll into a save with Pullar heading straight at the keeper from Gallon’s corner.

The visitors took the lead in the 34th minute when Ashley McDonald fired home past McNicoll.

Forfar could have equalised with a Napier free kick just three minutes after going behind but Chloe Logan was able to hold the effort.

After half time Nicola Davidson sent a free kick to the feet of Keira Johnstone but her cross into the area had no takers and Stirling cleared the ball.

Winger Laura Parsley came on just after the hour mark for her first game for Forfar in nine months, having played in America in that time.

She almost netted a goal within a minute of coming on, firing Napier’s corner over the bar. With 68 minutes gone Forfar got the equaliser they deserved, Davidson setting up Amy Gallacher who curled the ball home from 20 yards.

Forfar looked by far the better side but struggled to break through a resilient Stirling defence who were unbeaten in their last two games.

The home side looked to have grabbed a winner with just three minutes left, Jade McLaren lofting the ball over the defence for Amy Gallacher to squeeze through and flick the ball past Logan for her third goal in two games.

Stirling were to spoil the celebrations though in the fifth minute of injury time, which was arguably far too much than was needed, Pullar fired home after the Forfar defence failed to clear their lines.

It was a disappointing end to a game Forfar deserved to win but the side will now look ahead to next week when they travel to face Hearts.

Forfar Farmington: Fiona McNicoll, Jade McLaren, Sophie Milligan, Gemma Collier, Kayleigh Brough, Lindsey Dunbar, Nicola Davidson, Amy Gallacher, Holly Napier, Keira Johnstone (Cheryl Kilcoyne 73), Derrian Gollan (Laura Parsley 61)

Subs not used: Megan Burns, Kayleigh Noble, Sally Patterson, Ellice Brannan

Stirling University: Chloe Logan, Lauren Gallon, Rebecca Robertson, Nicole Pullar, Jill Paterson, Jade Gallon, Lisa Sutherland, Ashley McDonald, Rachel Donaldson, Beth McKay, Ana Gomez.

Subs: Rebecca Blair, Lauren Eadie, Jennifer Godfrey, Kerry Kennedy

Interview with Forfar Farmington’s Sydney Cairns

Forfar Farmington defender Sydney Cairns vows to return stronger after being ruled out for at least the rest of the year with a serious knee injury.

Last month the 16 year old was injured in a 50/50 challenge and after scans it was discovered that she had torn both her inside and outside cartilage as well as her anterior cruciate ligament.

Cairns, who underwent surgery last week, said “I’m absolutely devastated to be out for the season. I just need to focus on my recovery and make sure I’m better, fitter and stronger next season. The consultant said my operation was a success and that it’s all about resting the knee now with limited weight bearing until my next operation in 6 weeks on my ACL.”

Around the same time last year teammate Keira Johnstone also suffered a horrible knee injury, returning at the start of this season and Cairns believes she can use the winger as a role model of sorts in her recovery.

“Keira Johnstone unfortunately had a bad injury last season too, she worked so hard on her recovery though and it shows. She’s been doing really well so far and also without any problems with the knee which is great. I know I’m going to put a lot of hard work into my recovery and that I will come back stronger.”

After last week’s defeat to Hibs, head coach Damon Neish spoke of how he felt Sydney was the type of player that he wanted to build the club around, which delighted the youngster “It’s a great feeling knowing that he holds me in such high regard. It also gives me motivation to come back better and prove to him I am a player he can build the team around.”

Before the injury Cairns had made 23 appearances for the SWPL side, a great amount considering she made her debut just fourteen months ago at the age of 14. The defender believes that the step up has been made easier being surrounded by experienced players “I’m lucky to have made so many appearances considering my age but having top players like Nicola Davidson and Nicky Grant to look up to has helped a lot in my development. Nicola Davidson is a great player and even better captain. She sets the standard at training- not just by how good she is but her work rate.”

This Sunday the side are at home to Stirling University and Cairns reckons they will have enough to get points from the game as well as the next couple against Hearts and Hamilton.

“The team has had a tough start to the season but they’ve put in a few good performances. The next couple of games are crucial. They’re going to be tough but I’m confident the team will do what they need to do to get the wins and gain some momentum as the season continues.”

Forfar Farmington vs Celtic Programme (SWPL) 26th April 2015

Forfar Farmington vs Celtic – 26th April 2015

The above is a PDF of the Forfar Farmington vs Celtic programme from the SWPL game last month, which finished 4-0 to Celtic. The file should work fine, although with this being my first time I have tried to make a programme available online to those who weren’t at the game, it may be that it has some problems.

Hopefully those that take the time to read it enjoy it and feel free to give any form of feedback, it will help with future programmes!

Stranraer 1 (1) Forfar Athletic 1 (4) (SPFL Championship Play Off Semi Final 2nd Leg) 10th May 2015

Stranraer                             1 (1)

Chris Aitken pen 40

Forfar Athletic                  1 (4)

Gavin Swankie pen 53

Derek Young reckons the side have what it takes to go on and defeat Alloa after Forfar Athletic advanced to the Championship Play Off Final with a draw against Stranraer.

A Gavin Swankie penalty in the second half countered Chris Aitken’s spot kick before half time and the Loons could have scored more had it not been for keeper David Mitchell.

Speaking after the game, Young said “I thought we did really well, in the first half we stifled them, don’t think Rab had a save to make and we had a couple of chances ourselves that we could have buried. Trav’s dived in at the penalty, he knows that himself, you can see his reaction and they’ve scored so that put a bit of pressure on but I think the way we came out for the second half and the way we played, we deserved to go through. It was good that we got the penalty, Gav’s stuck it away brilliantly, I think after that we were comfortable.”

“Dick wasn’t happy with Trav at half time, that’s for sure! It’s a team game though, everyone knew what we had to do today, we proved in the first half that we could stifle them, they were playing a lot of long balls, Dods and Michael Dunlop were dealing with them quite well. I thought we deserved to win the game today like we did during the week.”

Swankie’s goal made an uphill battle for Stranraer even steeper, with the side then needing at least three goals to take the game to extra time.

“That’s what we were looking for, if we could get a goal, that would more or less kill the game and that showed, we just had to control the game mentally, that’s what we did and we got the result we needed.”

“I think we can beat Alloa over the two legs, the way we played on Wednesday and in patches in the second half attacking wise, I think we’re a bit of a team when we pass the ball about and open teams up. We’ve got a solid enough defence so we’ve got a good enough team to beat anyone and I feel we can cause a wee upset.”

The Loons made two changes from the midweek win, with Stuart Malcolm suspended and Danny Denholm dropping to the bench, James Dale and Michael Dunlop came in, the latter returning from suspension himself.

Stranarer hunted for the first goal early on, hoping that if they had scored they could knock Forfar’s confidence and grab another couple but Willie Gibson fired a free kick three minutes in.

Martyn Fotheringham then went close for Forfar twice in the first quarter of an hour, both times sending a shot into Mitchell’s arms.

After 26 minutes Darren Dods went the closest any side had so far, taking down Fotheringham’s corner before turning and firing a half volley towards the top corner, Mitchell doing brilliantly to tip the effort over.

Ten minutes later Mitchell blocked another shot, this time a Swankie effort before Stranraer went ahead in the 40th minute. Willie Gibson was brought down by Michael Travis and Chris Aitken stepped up to send Rab Douglas the wrong way, bringing the aggregate score to 3-1, still in Forfar’s favour.

Two minutes after the Loons almost equalised, the ever influential Swankie seeing a 25 yard effort tipped over by Mitchell again.

HALF TIME: Stranraer 1 Forfar Athletic 0

In the 49th minute Mitchell was on hand again to deny Chris Templeman after the striker was laid off by sub Danny Denholm.

Just eight minutes into the second half, Forfar equalised through another penalty after Omar Kader was bundled over by Sean Winter, Swankie slotting home past Mitchell.

Winter almost made amends for his error minutes later with a close range volley but Travis made a fantastic last ditch stop almost on the line.

A quick Gavin Malin free kick caused bother in the 61st minute, Swankie seeing a shot blocked before the ball was knocked away off Denholm’s toes as he shaped up to shoot. From the corner Michael Travis saw his header cleared off the line, Forfar now starting to look the better side.

Swankie had yet another shot blocked a minute before Mitchell palmed away his effort, from this corner Gavin Malin volleyed wide.

In the 76th minute, unsurprisingly, Mitchell denied Swankie after being set up by Malin, with Dods nodding Denholm’s corner wide of the mark.

Winter forced a save from Douglas with nine minutes left as Stranraer hopes of taking the tie into extra time started to fade.

Sub Craig Smith looked decent when he came on and almost grabbed himself a goal in injury time, striking across goal with Mitchell beaten.

Derek Young praised youngster Michael Kennedy after the game, the 18 year old playing his second senior game while not looking out of place “He’s come in and he’s been fantastic, left back’s been a bit of a problem all season, with boys getting injured, Iain Campbell came in on loan for a bit, Jim Paterson came in for a bit. The wee lad’s come out of nowhere to be honest and he’s showed everyone what he’s made of. He’s going to make one or two mistakes but he recovers well, if he makes a mistake, he gets straight back in and sorts himself out so I’m really pleased for him, it helps him for next season getting this experience.”

The Loons will take on Alloa on Wednesday at Station Park before travelling to the Indodrill Stadium on Sunday, with both games live on BBC ALBA.

Stranraer: David Mitchell, Craig Pettigrew, Jackson Longridge, Scott Robertson, Frank McKeown, Chris Aitken (Danny Stoney 62), Sean Winter, Steven Bell, Craig Malcolm (Stephen Stirling 68), Jon McShane (Jamie Longworth 53), Willie Gibson.

Subs not used: Barry Russell, Scott Rumsby, Daniel Tobin (gk)

Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas, Michael Travis, Michael Kennedy, Michael Dunlop, Darren Dods, Derek Young, Omar Kader, Martyn Fotheringham (Danny Denholm 46), Chris Templeman (Craig Smith 71), Gavin Swankie, James Dale (Gavin Malin 58)

Subs not used: Cameron Clark, Kerr Hay, James Yates, Jason King (gk)

Forfar Athletic 3 Stranraer 0 (SPFL Championship Play-Off Semi Final First Leg) 6th May 2015

Forfar Athletic                    3

Omar Kader 60, Gavin Swankie 85, Kerr Hay 90

Stranraer                             0

Forfar Athletic have one foot in the Scottish Championship play-off final after a comfortable 3-0 win over Stranraer on Wednesday at Station Park.

After dominating the first hour with no goals to show for it, Omar Kader, Gavin Swankie and a first ever senior goal for Kerr Hay sealed the victory for the Loons.

With Michael Dunlop suspended and Dale Hilson injured, there were three changes from the defeat to Ayr at the weekend, with Gavin Malin also dropping to the bench. Omar Kader and Derek Young came in and there was a debut for 18 year old left back Michael Kennedy.

The Loons started off strongly with Gavin Swankie seeing his effort deflected wide before Stuart Malcolm’s header was cleared off the line within the first ninety seconds.

In the fourth minute Swankie volleyed over from Martyn Fotheringham’s corner as it seemed Forfar were going for the jugular straight from the beginning.

Omar Kader and Swankie had shots blocked in the 15th minute, with the captain firing into David Mitchell’s arms a minute later.

Kader and Swankie were involved yet again in the 23rd minute, Kader slipping a through ball for Danny Denholm, his chance wasn’t cleared properly, with Swankie seeing a half volley cleared off the line.

Stranraer had their first chance of the game after 26 minutes, Jamie Longworth giving the ball to Stephen Stirling but his effort was low and nowhere near troubling Rab Douglas as it rolled wide.

Michael Travis was the next to have a go at goal on the half hour mark, volleying a cross from Denholm into the grateful arms of Mitchell.

Six minutes before half time Denholm had a fantastic chance to put the Loons ahead, racing onto a Swankie flick on, although his shot was stopped by the boot of the keeper.

Stranraer went the closest they had all game four minutes into the second period, Douglas clawing away a goal bound header by Longworth.

In the 58th minute Gavin Swankie saw a lob come off the crossbar, with the rebound being blasted over by Kader.

Two minutes later Kader found the net, starting the move by threading a through ball for Swankie, his cross found Templeman but his diving header was saved on the line by Mitchell, Kader sweeping home the rebound for his fifth goal of the season.

He could have had a second a minute later but he sliced Swankie’s cross wide. Kader was to come off in the 71st minute for Kerr Hay making his second senior appearance, having played a quarter of an hour on Saturday.

In the 85th minute Hay almost had a big impact, hitting the post with Mitchell beaten before seeing his follow up effort knocked wide. From the resulting corner by Martyn Fotheringham, Swankie lobbed the keeper from eighteen yards, despite Mitchell getting his fingertips to it, he couldn’t get enough of a touch to palm it away.

It was three nil in injury time, fellow sub Craig Smith doing well on the left before giving the ball to Fotheringham and his low cross was hammered home by Hay, his first ever senior goal after just 37 minutes in total for the Loons.

The final whistle went and the Loons could be delighted with their performance, especially the three under 20’s players, Smith, Hay and Kennedy, who didn’t look out of place in the Forfar defence.

Thoughts now turn to Saturday’s long journey to Stranraer for the second leg and if they can play as well as they did on Wednesday, they will surely advance to the play off final to face Alloa Athletic or Brechin City, with the Wasps 2-0 ahead so far.

Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas, Michael Travis (Gavin Malin 88), Michael Kennedy, Stuart Malcolm, Darren Dods, Derek Young, Omar Kader (Kerr Hay 71), Martyn Fotheringham, Chris Templeman (Craig Smith 73), Gavin Swankie, Danny Denholm.

Subs not used: James Dale, Cameron Clark, James Yates, Jason King (gk)

Stranraer: David Mitchell, Craig Pettigrew, Jackson Longridge, Scott Rumsby, Frank McKeown (Jon McShane 74), Steven Bell, Sean Winter, Scott Robertson, Stephen Stirling (Craig Malcolm 67), Jamie Longworth (Danny Stoney 67), Willie Gibson.

Subs not used: Barry Russell, Daniel Tobin (gk)

Hibernian 7 Forfar Farmington 2 (SWPL) 3rd May 2015

Hibernian                           7

Siobhan Hunter 19, Chelsea Cornet 24, Kirsty Smith 34, Abi Harrison 48, 69, Liz Arnot 59, Katey Turner 85

Forfar Farmington           2

Jade McLaren 47, Amy Gallacher 90

Forfar Farmington head coach Damon Neish insisted the Premier League side can be pleased with the performance in tough circumstances despite a 7-2 loss to joint top Hibernian.

The team went into the game without Fiona McNicoll, Keira Johnstone, Sydney Cairns and Nivana Crighton, with young keeper Hannah Dryden making her second start for the side, impressing the likes of onlooking Scotland manager Anna Signeul with her performance.

Goals from Jade McLaren and Amy Gallacher were the least the team deserved, with their goals arguably the best of the game, McLaren’s a half volley into the top corner from the corner of the box while Gallacher lobbed the keeper from thirty yards.

After the loss, Neish said “It was always going to be a tough match, we’ve had a really difficult opening to the season, Spartans, Celtic, Aberdeen, Inverness and now this. The girls did well though, although Hibs were clinical in front of goal, the scoreline doesn’t really reflect on how we played I don’t think. We were miles better than we performed against Celtic and there are a lot of positives to take out of it.

We scored two very good goals but we lost a couple of players due to injury which meant that we were up against it, a couple of girls took knocks during the game, which again meant we had to just persevere and just push through it. The scoreline is obviously not very flattering towards us but we can be happy with the performance and how we competed against a very good Hibernian side.”

There were three changes made for the game, with the aforementioned McNicoll and Johnstone injured, Sophie Milligan also dropping to the bench, with Dryden, Megan Burns and Kayleigh Noble coming into the side.

Hibernian started off the better side, with Abi Harrison hitting the sidenetting and then the post within the first ten minutes, the hosts finding the Forfar defence tough to break down.

Harrison saw a shot cleared by Kayleigh Brough before Lia Tweedle nodded a Liz Arnot corner past the post.

They took the lead after nineteen minutes when another corner, this time by Harrison, was met by Siobhan Hunter, despite Dryden’s best efforts.

Chelsea Cornet increased the lead in the 24th minute, although she and Dryden required attention after clattering into each other as she netted.

Hibernian were creating chances but wasteful with them, with Chloe Arthur and then Lisa Robertson firing shots off target.

Kirsty Smith forced Dryden into a great save in the 34th minute, but the youngster couldn’t do anything about her next effort, slotting home Arnot’s corner after the save beforehand.

Dryden had another fantastic save in the 38th minute, this time from Robertson.

At half time, Forfar were forced into a change, Sophie Milligan coming on for Derrian Gollan, with Gallacher shifting up front while Jade McLaren was playing in the unfamiliar role of right midfield.

Moving there paid off for McLaren two minutes into the second half when she received a throw in and sent a half volley curling into the top corner.

Hibs wasted no time restoring the three goal advantage, Abi Harrison netting a minute after McLaren’s goal.

They added a fifth just before the hour mark, Arnot firing home. Holly Napier looked to score straight from kick off but her shot flew inches past Jenna Fife’s post.

Three minutes later Gallacher went close as well from long range, the youngsters determined to add to the McLaren goal.

Harrison grabbed her second for a tough Hibernian side in the 69th minute, knocking Arnot’s cross past Dryden.

In the final twenty minutes Hibernian found it hard to break through the Forfar defence, the home side also having to be difficult for the attacking side of Farmington to beat.

Hibs did add a final goal in the 85th minute when Katey Turner netted but Amy Gallacher grabbed another goal for Forfar in injury time, lobbing Jenna Fife from thirty yards.

Despite the result, Forfar can be happy with how they played, especially in the second half and will now look towards the game against Stirling University on the 17th May.

After the game, Damon Neish had some bad news regarding sixteen year old defender Sydney Cairns, who had been injured for the last three weeks after damaging her knee winning a 50-50 challenge in the dying moments of the win over Inverness City.

“Sydney Cairns is probably out for the rest of the season, she is in for an operation early this week. We knew it was bad at the time and that it would be a push to get her back for this season but Sydney’s the type of player that we’ll build this club around so it’s important that she’ll strong and healthy for the next ten seasons, not for this season.”

“Sydney’s a great kid and a fantastic football player and it’s just unfortunate that this has come at a time when she would be pushing the international set up, pushing to start every week for us but she’s got a long, long career ahead of her with lots of big moments and good times, so we’ll focus on her getting her operation, which happens on Monday and getting her back stronger and ready to compete again for next season.”

Forfar Farmington: Hannah Dryden, Jade McLaren, Megan Burns, Gemma Collier, Kayleigh Brough, Lindsey Dunbar, Nicola Davidson, Amy Gallacher, Holly Napier, Kayleigh Noble, Derrian Gollan (Sophie Milligan 46)

Sub not used: Keira Johnstone