Forfar Athletic 1
Iain Campbell 78
Iain Campbell’s deflected free kick ten minutes from time was enough to put Forfar into the next round of the Petrofac Training Cup after a stuffy game with fellow Angus side Montrose.
Forfar hit the bar through Craig Smith and also had the ball in the net but Michael Travis’ shot was ruled out for an apparent foul on the Gable Endies keeper.
The Loons fielded three of their new signings, Thomas O’Brien, Kevin Nicoll and Iain Campbell while Bryan Hodge had to be content with a spot on the bench after missing most of pre-season with a broken nose.
Craig Smith was rewarded for his pre season form with a start up front alongside captain Gavin Swankie.
A dull beginning to the game saw little happen until the 23rd minute when Swankie and Campbell exchanged passes before the captain swung a cross in, a deflection took the ball towards Jordan Miller in goal but Michael Travis snuck in and slotted home. The referee disallowed the goal for an apparent foul on Miller but it didn’t seem like he had control of the ball in the first place.
Montrose threatened at the other end three minutes later after former Loon Andrew Steeves’ cross was knocked to the edge of the box by Dale Reid but Ross McCord’s effort was blocked before it could reach Rab Douglas.
On the half hour mark Danny Denholm played a ball forward for Swankie who chested it towards Gavin Malin but the attacking midfielder was unlucky not to reach it and the threat was nullified.
Travis nodded a Campbell free kick at Miller while former Forfar striker Gary Fraser struck low straight at Douglas as both sides tried to break down either defence.
Fraser and Craig Smith both had efforts blocked on the stroke of half time.
The second half was quieter than the first but the first opportunity came just six minutes in when Swankie was set up by Kevin Nicoll but he pulled his effort wide.
Campbell set up Smith with a free kick two minutes after and the youngster saw his shot saved after a stramash on the line.
Just before the hour mark Forfar brought on Chris Templeman and Bryan Hodge for Malin and Denholm and the subs, especially Hodge seemed to energise the side and they went the closest they had to scoring a goal three minutes after bringing them on. Swankie swung a free kick from the corner of the box into the area and the ball was met by Smith, his header crashing off the bar, the ball wasn’t cleared and O’Brien had a follow up effort saved.
The Loons then brought on Kerr Hay for Smith with twenty minutes left. In the 72nd minute Hodge saw a shot take a deflection off Templeman before being smothered by Millar.
Forfar took the lead with twelve minutes left after Swankie was fouled on the edge of the box by Terry Masson, Campbell stepped up to fire the free kick home through the Montrose wall, his effort taking a nick off a defender before going in.
The home side looked to kill the game off after this and four minutes after going ahead, they almost went two up with a great counter attack. Swankie sent the ball down the left for the pacy Hay to chase down and his cross was met by Hodge but he could only stab the ball into the side netting.
Swankie and Templeman had shots saved in the 84th minute before the sub saw a header at the far post caught on the line by Millar.
The Gable Endies desperately hunted for a goal in the dying stages but despite shots from Scott Johnston, Ryan Ferguson and Ross McCord Forfar held on to progress into the next round.
Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas, Mark Baxter, Iain Campbell, Michael Travis, Thomas O’Brien, Derek Young, Gavin Malin (Chris Templeman 57), Kevin Nicoll, Craig Smith (Kerr Hay 69), Gavin Swankie, Danny Denholm (Bryan Hodge 57)
Subs not used: Michael Dunlop, Michael Kennedy, Martyn Fotheringham, Jason King (gk)