Interview with Forfar Farmington head coach Damon Neish

Forfar Farmington head coach Damon Neish reckons this Sunday’s match against Hearts will be a great advert for women’s football.

The side could clinch Premier League safety at Station Park with just a point against the team who will go down if they do.

Farmington are on a roll as of late, with Sunday’s 6-1 win at Inverness City their eighth win in a row in the league, making them the inform side in the league at the moment; scoring thirty goals and only conceding three into the bargain.

Speaking after that game, Neish issued a rallying call to the town of Forfar to come out in force to support a young and talented squad. “It would be great to see people from Forfar come out and support the girls, I don’t think people realise just how professional our club is.” He said. “Our girls train as much, sometimes more than professional men’s teams in the area, we have a number of youth international experience, as well as probably the best female player never to be capped by her country captaining our club. I’m not counting my chickens, but if we manage to get a result, we will be one of the top eight teams in the country, we will be competing with Celtic, Rangers, Hibs, Aberdeen and Glasgow City next season.”

“People from the area should be proud of how these girls are representing the town, and the region. We don’t have the backing of huge men’s clubs like Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen, Hibs etc, we are a club that relies on local girls, coming through our system and becoming world class football players, we rely on local people volunteering as coaches, as secretaries, volunteers running our shop, running the turnstiles, we rely on so many people, it would be amazing if we could get a turn out not only for the girls, but for all the people who dedicate so much time to helping us compete in such a league. It is a fantastic achievement to be where we are.”

Neish believes the clash will be a great advert for the women’s game, having been impressed when his side have faced Hearts, saying “I think this week’s match is going to be a great advertisement for woman’s football. If I am being honest, I think Hearts have been the best football side we have played against in the bottom six, they are the games I think have been the best to watch between us and them as a football fan.”

”We both like to move the ball, we both have some fantastic individuals who can produce magic and there is always a competitive edge to our games! Stirling University have been a great physical test for our girls, but in terms of dealing with a smart, technical side, I really believe Hearts have provided us with our best games.“

The game on Sunday kicks off at 2pm at Station Park and admission for this is £4 for adults and free for under 16’s.

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Inverness City 1 Forfar Farmington 6 (SWPL) 27th September 2015

Inverness City 1
Alex Andrews 73

Forfar Farmington 6

Keira Johnstone 13, Tori Sousa 15, 38, Lindsey Dunbar 49, 76, Nicola Davidson 72

Forfar Farmington made it eight wins in a row in the Race for 8 with a fantastic 6-1 win over Inverness City on Sunday.

Keira Johnstone grabbed the opener, firing home with some ‘Fleur’ after just thirteen minutes; Tori Sousa and Lindsey Dunbar also grabbing doubles while Nicola Davidson got the other goal.

Inverness did get a consolation through Alex Andrews’ fantastic effort.

With only twelve players available, Forfar fielded an almost identical side to their last one against Hutchison Vale at the start of the month, the only change being Derrian Gollan replacing Amy Gallacher.

They were forced to call up Sally Patterson, continuing her development after Kayleigh Noble was unable to travel.

After a slow start, Farmington had the first chance of the game ten minutes in, Johnstone setting up Lindsey Dunbar and her effort flew inches over with Kim Jappy beaten.

Johnstone found the net three minutes later, firing home after a long ball from McNicoll was flicked on by Gollan.

It was two after just quarter of an hour, Johnstone turning provider to set up Tori Sousa for her fifth goal in seven games.

Gollan and then Napier had shots blocked before Napier had a free kick twenty yards out rattle the crossbar, Sousa sending the rebound wide.

Inverness had their first shot on goal in the 31st minute, Natalie Bodiam’s low effort not troubling McNicoll.

Another quick burst of goals shortly before half time saw Forfar go into the break 4-0 up. First a fantastic solo run from Sousa, beating three defenders from the half way line allowed her space to lace the ball past Jappy.

Two minutes later Lindsey Dunbar got in on the act, meeting a Jade McLaren cross at the back post to nod home.

Inverness made it tough for them in the second half, although Forfar still didn’t look to be out of first gear.

McLaren and Alex Russell both had opportunities to add to the lead early on in the second half, both finding Jappy in good form.

On the hour mark Forfar had the ball in the net again through Johnstone but the referee deemed her to have strayed offside.

A minute later Megan Burns almost grabbed the goal her form of late has deserved, bounding into the penalty box before firing into the side netting from a tight angle.

The second half came to life with twenty minutes left with three fantastic goals in four minutes.

Forfar captain Nicola Davidson continued her tradition of not scoring from anywhere near the box, receiving a clearance thirty yards out and let fly, the ball going in the top corner in the 72nd minute.

Less than sixty seconds later Inverness grabbed a consolation, sub Alex Andrews scoring from the edge of the box.

With fourteen minutes left, Dunbar grabbed her second; after Sousa won the ball twenty yards out, she rolled it back for a first time shot from the midfielder that gave Jappy no chance.

Napier volleyed over from a Davidson long ball as Forfar comfortably saw the game out.

The win means that the side can clinch safety with a win next week at home to Hearts. 
Fiona McNicoll, Sophie Milligan, Megan Burns, Jade McLaren, Lindsey Dunbar, Tori Sousa, Keira Johnstone, Nicola Davidson, Holly Napier, Alex Russell (Sally Patterson 60), Derrian Gollan.

Interview with Forfar Farmington captain Nicola Davidson

Forfar Farmington captain Nicola Davidson believes confidence is key to the side’s spectacular winning run of late.The 32 year old midfielder also said she has no intention of retiring any time soon as long as her body allows her to do so.

Davidson has been almost ever present this season, missing just two of nineteen games; chipping in with two goals as well, both of which have been long range free kicks.

Speaking about the winning run, Davidson said “I think the run is all down to the confidence building within the team, winning games creates confidence and when confidence is high performances, like we have been putting in become more consistent.”

With there a three week break between league games, there is always a chance of rustiness setting in but the captain thinks the side have capitalised on it to improve even further ahead of their game against Inverness City this Sunday. “It can be good and bad to have this break as it helps the girls that are carrying knocks/injuries get back to full fitness.“ she said. ”We have been working hard in training and playing a friendly match where we scored goals so girls are still confident and look forward to next run of games.”

On Sunday past, the side travelled to St Andrews to play the University side in a bounce game to prepare for the trip up north this weekend. The game finished 9-1 to Forfar, with the side also hitting the woodwork five times; the scorers being Davidson, Alex Russell, Sophie Milligan, Tori Sousa, Lindsey Dunbar, Holly Napier alongside Derrian Gollan grabbing a hat trick.

Farmington also fielded youngster Anne Murrie in that game, the 14 year old defender looked impressive as she swept up almost every attack St Andrews made.

Davidson is a fan of how the younger players have played this season but is hard when is comes to analysing her own performances, saying “My season is going alright, I’m not one to big myself up as I’m very hard on myself but it’s good seeing the younger girls getting more stronger and confident and showing that they’re more than capable of playing in the SWPL.“

She also believes that the current crop of players could be the youngest group to have played for the Premier League side in her time at the club, having spent almost her whole career at Farmington.

“I’ve been at Forfar a while now and I’ve seen some really great players, met some lovely people and met my best friends at the club. As for the current bunch where do I start; they are a good, keen bunch of young players and are very talented.” she said. “They are probably the youngest team the club has seen at this level, which is fantastic for the future of the club but it also means they have a lot to learn at Premier League level too.”

As for her own career, Davidson doesn’t think she’ll want to stop playing any time soon, saying “Age is only a number, I have just recently celebrated my 32nd birthday but as for retiring who knows. As long as I’m still enjoying playing and my legs allow it then I’m not going anywhere!”

St Andrews University 1 Forfar Farmington 9

St Andrews University   1

Forfar Farmington           9

Nicola Davidson 23, Alex Russell 29, Sophie Milligan 38, Tori Sousa 50, Derrian Gollan 66, 69, 89, Lindsey Dunbar 76, Holly Napier 84

Forfar Farmington prepared for their league clash with Inverness City next week with a 9-1 win away to St Andrews University in a bounce game this afternoon.

Head Coach Damon Neish fielded a squad that included a trialist and Anne Murrie from the under 15’s, Murrie looking impressive in the seventy minutes she played in.

Forfar looked sharper than their University counterparts early on, with Lindsey Dunbar firing wide. In the 7th minute Holly Napier should have put Forfar ahead, Alex Russell’s shot trickled past Ellie Welton but the keeper managed to claw the shot off the line, with Napier hitting the post from three yards out.

Russell and Dunbar went close again before captain Nicola Davidson opened the scoring after 23 minutes, racing to the back post to bundle home Derrian Gollan’s cross.

It was two just six minutes later, Russell netting Keira Johnstone’s cutback. Russell almost added a second just after the half hour mark, her shot after Tori Sousa’s great ball blocked by former Forfar keeper Welton.

At half time it was 3-0 to Forfar, seven minutes beforehand defender Sophie Milligan fired home from far out into the top corner.*

*That may be a lie and the ball may have trundled in from six yards.

Five minutes after the restart the side added to their advantage, Sousa curling home after receiving a Russell cross.

Forfar hit the woodwork again in the 54th minute, Gollan stretched to reach a Sousa ball along with a defender but the keeper managed to collect it before it went in.

On the hour mark St Andrews pulled a goal back but just six minutes after Forfar restored their four goal advantage, Gollan finally getting on the score sheet after stabbing home a Napier cross.

Johnstone went close less than sixty seconds after, her lofted shot beat the keeper but again came off the post and was cleared.

Three minutes later Gollan added another, racing onto a Davidson pass before knocking it into the net.

Dunbar then made it seven with a neat finish in the 76th minute while St Andrews were awarded a penalty with ten minutes left. Welton came up from her own box to take the spot kick but she sent the effort over the bar.

Forfar saw another chance hit the woodwork for the fourth time in the 82nd minute, Napier rising to meet Johnstone’s cross and her header crashed off the bar and was cleared.

Napier eventually hit the net two minutes later, a fantastic lob from far out deceived Welton. Johnstone, who was unlucky not to score once during the game, fired wide late on before Gollan grabbed her hat trick in the dying stages of the game.

Fiona McNicoll, Sophie Milligan, Megan Burns, Lindsey Dunbar, Holly Napier, Tori Sousa, Keira Johnstone, Nicola Davidson, Alex Russell, Anne Murrie, Derrian Gollan.

Substitute: Trialist.

Interview with Forfar Farmington’s Lindsey Dunbar

Lindsey Dunbar (2)

Forfar Farmington midfielder Lindsey Dunbar reckons confidence in the side is soaring with seven league games won in a row.

The phenomenal run has included twenty four goals, with five clean sheets, conceding just two; the latest a five nil hammering of Hutchison Vale.

The 17 year old has played a part in every game this season, starting all but one where she came on and has scored three times. Dunbar feels that after a poor first half of the season where they ended it in the relegation spots, there is no reason why they can’t go unbeaten in the second half, with four games remaining.

“I don’t think us going down to the bottom six of the table was a bad thing, I feel as if even though we had a rough start, our team have stuck together and we are progressing all the time.” she said. “It’s allowed us to get back into our own game and play our way of football, build our confidence back up and to get where we should be have been before the split, we were just unlucky at the start.”

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”From where we were at the end of the first half we are a lot more confident now, not just as a team but individually as well. I think with the help of Nicky Murray and Damon Neish as well, we wouldn’t have achieved and progressed if it wasn’t for them, they helped keep us motivated and that’s exactly what we needed at the time.”

The energetic midfielder also believes that her own season has taken an upward turn of late, adding “At the start of the season I found it difficult, but so did the rest of the girls. It was tough coming away from games losing every week. However that isn’t the case anymore, I have gained a lot more knowledge about my role on and off the ball which was a major weakness for me; I wasn’t that confident but with the help of my team mates and my coaches I have gained more and more each week.”

”I think since the split my performance has been more positive at training and on the pitch; I feel as if I’m more confident on and off the ball, driving forward and even scoring. I also feel like I’m getting more involved in the game whether it is setting up plays or supporting my team mates and I hope it continues throughout the season and into next year.”

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Dunbar hopes that she can force her way into the Scotland under 19’s plans after seeing team mate Amy Gallacher called up for squads earlier this month.

“As I said before, at the start of the season I didn’t think I would be where I am just now, my confidence was always a big issue for me on the park, but since then I have grown as a player and I would like to think it will continue.” she said. ”It has always been a target for myself to get picked for Scotland, however I haven’t achieved that yet; I’m hoping with the help of Nicky and Damon and my team mates I could reach that goal soon, but until then I will keep focussed on helping Farmington stay up in the league and improving until my standard of football ability is high enough to get noticed.”

After the win over Hutchison Vale at the beginning of the month, Damon Neish’s side don’t have another game in the league until they travel to meet Inverness City on September 27th. With this in mind, Neish gave the side a week off as well as scheduling a friendly away to St Andrews University this coming Sunday.

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Dunbar says that despite the disruption to their run of games, she is glad of the short break they were given as it allows everyone to get back to full fitness ahead of the run in. She said “I definitely think that a short break was needed, our team has put in such a shift for weeks to get where we are, and that will continue with or without a break. It’s allowed all of us to get a recovery that we deserve, to rest ourselves properly and to prepare for the games coming. I’m positive that we will get back into our routine in no time and keep playing the way we have.”

The Inverness game is the first of their final four games where a win will set them up perfectly to clinch safety against closest relegation rivals Hearts on October 4th; a game that the club are asking for a large support from the town for. Midfielder Dunbar isn’t shy in believing that Forfar will stay up and also wishes for a chance to play top six sides like Hibernian and Glasgow City again to prove how well the side have come since the first half of the season.

She said “I am confident that we will stay up, we definitely have worked hard for it! It would be good to play everyone in the league again to show them how far we have come as a team and show them that we aren’t just a bottom six team and that we could compete with them as well.”

Forfar Farmington 5 Hutchison Vale 0 (SWPL) 6th September 2015

Forfar Farmington           5

Tori Sousa 6, 46, Holly Napier 8, Alex Russell 61, Sally Patterson 85

Hutchison Vale                 0

Yasemin Emek sent off 38

Another week, another win for Forfar Farmington as they defeated Hutchison Vale 5-0 to make it seven league wins in a row on Sunday.

A double from midfielder Tori Sousa along with goals from Holly Napier, Alex Russell and Sally Patterson’s first Premier League goal was enough, with Vale having Yasemin Emek sent off for two bookings.

Goalscorer Russell was making her first start of the season and the midfielder was delighted with both her own and her teammates performances. Speaking after the game, Russell said “I’m really delighted, I didn’t think I would be getting a start today but I managed to get it done and do what the coach wanted me to. I managed to bag myself a goal as well so I’m pleased with that. I think we played really well, we got off to a good start with the two goals early on and everyone put in a great effort.”

“I felt we pressed them at the start really quickly, putting them under pressure which was good. The early goals seemed to put Hutchie off their stride too, which gave us the upper hand. In the second half we held the ball up really well and everyone performed again; we were playing fast football and added to our lead.”

She added “We definitely have a great chance of staying up; if we keep playing the way we have been playing, managing to get early goals too is helping. I think we can push through, at the beginning of the season it was a shaky start but after the break, we came back and we’ve really stuck in and got the job done.”

The side were depleted before the game, with Gemma Collier and Kayleigh Noble missing while Derrian Gollan was relegated to the bench after her time with the Scotland under 17’s during the week. To replace Gollan and Collier, captain Nicola Davidson and the aforementioned Russell came in.

Farmington opened the scoring with the first chance of the game six minutes in, Lindsey Dunbar setting up Tori Sousa who waltzed her way through a static defence before knocking the ball past the keeper.

Two minutes later and it was two nil to Forfar, Keira Johnstone sent the ball into the box and after the ball wasn’t cleared properly by Hutchie, Holly Napier stepped up to fire the loose ball home.

Dunbar went close herself in the fifteenth minute but couldn’t keep her shot from the edge of the box down.

The home side were very much the better side in the first half but couldn’t break down a robust Hutchison Vale defence. Russell and Johnstone combined to set up Amy Gallacher on the half hour mark but her shot was well covered by Taylor Brown.

In the 37th minute Forfar were dealt a blow when Lindsey Dunbar went down injured and had to be replaced by Sally Paterson. It was then Vale’s turn for bad luck a minute later, Yasemin Emek shown her second yellow for a poor challenge on Sousa.

Johnstone went close to adding a third five minutes before half time with a shot that trickled inches wide of the post.

It was three less than 120 seconds into the second half, Gallacher raced down the left after beating the right back before cutting the ball back for Sousa to bundle home, her fourth goal in six games.

Hutchie had their first effort on goal in the 50th minute when Ashley Carse latched onto a long ball but the striker could only fire straight at Fiona McNicoll.

Johnstone again sent her effort wide four minutes later from a Burns cross before Gallacher and then Napier saw shots saved by the impressive Brown.

Just after the hour mark Forfar made it four, Sousa playing in Russell on the right who saw her first shot saved and she made sure the second wasn’t, stabbing the ball in for her first of the season.

In the 64th minute Burns saw a header of her own saved while soon after Jade McLaren almost caught Brown out, her cross-cum-shot almost drifting in over the keeper.

Sousa and then sub Derrian Gollan went close to adding to the side’s tally but found Brown in good form.

Hutchie’s summer signing Hayley Cunningham saw her low shot smothered by McNicoll in the 84th minute.

With five minutes left Sally Patterson scored her first ever goal for the Premier League side; after collecting a ball from Gallacher, she curled the ball home from the edge of the box.

Farmington did go close to adding a sixth through Gallacher and Napier but neither could get their shot on target.

The result means the side extend their run as the league’s in form side, with seven wins in a row, scoring twenty four and only conceding two. It also keeps Hearts at arm’s length going into the final four games of the season, with four points separating the Edinburgh side, in the final relegation spot in ninth, and Farmington in eighth.

The side now look to their next game, when they face Inverness City up north on September 27th, the next home game against Hearts the Sunday after.

Forfar Farmington: Fiona McNicoll, Jade McLaren, Megan Burns, Nicola Davidson, Sophie Milligan, Tori Sousa, Amy Gallacher, Lindsey Dunbar (Sally Patterson 37), Keira Johnstone (Derrian Gollan 61), Alex Russell, Holly Napier.