Interview with Forfar Farmington attacker Amy Gallacher

Forfar Farmington attacker Amy Gallacher has said she is delighted with how 2015 has gone both domestically and internationally for herself.

The 16 year old star has netted ten goals in 19 games, along with setting up eight; being involved in almost half of the side’s goals.

Gallacher has also been called up for her country at under 17 and under 19’s level, taking part in European Championship qualifiers for both sides.

Speaking about her year, Gallacher said “I think this season personally has been my best season. My target before it started was to score at least ten and to set up more goals which i managed to do so I’m really happy. Obviously my main aim though was to help Forfar stay up and as a team we managed to that deservedly.”

She continued “It feels great to be in the Scotland set up because everything about it is such a good experience and I’ve been given the chance to play against and with some great players. It keeps me working hard and improving too as I know I can’t take the opportunity for granted.”

Gallacher’s team mate Jade McLaren will make her 50th appearance for Farmington this weekend, her debut coming back in July 2013 when she was just fifteen. Gallacher, along with midfielder Lindsey Dunbar are also close to reaching that milestone and the striker believes it’s great to continue playing with people she has known for years.

“I think it shows that if you’re good enough you’re old enough, us three in particular have played together for years so it has been good to continue that in the Premier League.” she said.”Although it was hard at the beginning with our team being so young, I think we’ve come on so much and hopefully we can compete more next season. I think praise needs to go to captain Nicola Davidson for helping us young ones so much.”

Farmington’s incredible nine game winning run ended a fortnight ago against Hamilton, but Gallacher believes they can still be proud of the run; it was the longest winning run in the league this season, with champions Glasgow City even failing to win that many in a row.

She said “The run ending was obviously gutting because it would have been good to finish the second half of the season unbeaten, but i think we still have to be proud as a team because it took a lot of hard work and no other team in the league had done it.”

The Dundonian also wants to end the season with a win as they head to Stirling University this Sunday, saying “Stirling will be a hard game but we got a win last time against them so I don’t see why we can’t do it again. We all know it will be a very physical game but if we play like we know we can I’m sure we will end the season with a win.”

Gallacher showed a great maturity when asked about her future for next season, stating that where she plays next season will depend on where she feels she will develop most at, whether it is at Forfar or elsewhere after interest from other Premier League clubs and America in the last twelve months.

“It’s always nice to have interest from other teams and I think that shows how well we have done as a team not just personally. I’ve not made a decision about next season yet but I just need to think about where I could best improve.”

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Interview with Forfar Farmington head coach Damon Neish

Forfar Farmington head coach Damon Neish felt that the players who stepped up on Sunday did well despite losing 1-0 to Hamilton Academical.

A first half own goal from Holly Napier saw a severely depleted Forfar side lose their first game since June, ending a nine game winning run.

The team went into the game missing defenders Gemma Collier, Megan Burns and Sophie Milligan along with attacker Sally Patterson so were forced to start with three midfielders in their defence; Jade McLaren the only regular defender lining up alongside Nicola Davidson, Alex Russell and Kayleigh Noble.

Neish said “With almost a whole defence missing it was always going to be a tough game today, but it was an opportunity for some girls who haven’t played much to get 90 minutes and show they deserve to play. To be fair, the girls, who stepped in did a fine job. “

With Collier, Burns and Patterson already ruled out, the final training session before the game on Friday saw Neish dealt a further blow when Sophie Milligan was taken to hospital after a freak accident, being almost certainly ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken arm, a disappointing end to a good season for the 23 year old defender. The coach pinpointed situations such as Sunday as to why he is looking to add more to his squad for next season.

“It’s always tough missing players, but it’s something we just have to deal with. This is why we want to add some depth to our squad so that we are able to deal with injuries or anything else that comes up. “

The game did see two of this season’s impressive under 17’s promoted to the bench for the senior side, Rebecca McMillan, who made her debut and Caitlin Mitchell, who was appearing for the third time. Neish was impressed with how both player acquitted themselves against the Accies.

“Our back four at the end of the game was Rebecca, Caitlin, Nicola Davidson and Kayleigh Noble, so we had two of our 17s in there and I thought they were excellent.” he said.”To have two 15 year olds playing shows how much talent we have at the club and also that we have confidence in our younger players.”

”Caitlin is incredibly well thought of, in fact I think it’s incredible she hasn’t been recognised by her international age group yet, and Rebecca never made it to the local regionals set up, but we see what she does every week in training and games, we have no problem putting her in at this level. It’s important for me to show girls that if they work hard for us, we will give them opportunities.“

Neish ended the interview by stating “It’s disappointing to lose but we can now start a new run beginning with Stirling in a fortnight.”

Hamilton Academical 1 Forfar Farmington 0 (SWPL) 18th October 2015

Hamilton Academical    1

Holly Napier own goal 45+1

Forfar Farmington           0

Forfar Farmington’s nine game winning run was ended on Sunday after their makeshift squad were edged out by a single goal by Hamilton Academical.

Missing almost an entire defence meant that Damon Neish was left with a headache before the game, forcing him to field three midfielders in his back four.

With Gemma Collier, Megan Burns and midfielder Sally Patterson already ruled out, a freak training injury to Sophie Milligan on Friday saw Forfar’s defence line up as Alex Russell, Nicola Davidson, Jade McLaren and Kayleigh Noble, McLaren the only natural defender.

Neish called up Rebecca McMillan and Caitlin Mitchell from the under 17’s, with both making an appearance from the bench, this being the former’s senior debut.

Forfar did start the game the better side, with Lindsey Dunbar and then Amy Gallacher testing Elaine Fleming early on. In the sixth minute Derrian Gollan had a great chance to open the scoring but Fleming again denied her.

Gallacher curled wide again in the 16th minute while at the other end Carolina Richardson volleyed straight at Fiona McNicoll.

In the 24th minute Holly Napier saw her effort from outside the box go inches over. Minutes later Gallacher laid the ball off for Sousa but the midfielder couldn’t beat Fleming with her shot.

Gallacher almost scored with another solo effort, racing from her own half to just outside the Hamilton box but she curled inches past the post.

Johnstone and Alex Russell were denied by Fleming again before Hamilton took the lead seconds before the end of the first half. Under pressure in her own box, Napier knocked the ball past her own keeper, an uncharacteristic error from the midfielder.

Farmington came out for the second half eager to get back on level terms, Gollan firing wide two minutes after half time.

Jade McLaren played a great through ball for Napier who was inches away from connecting, Fleming sweeping the ball up.

In the 54th minute Accies’ Lori Gardner shot wide while McLaren hit the side netting from a Davidson free kick.

Richardson almost scored a second for Hamilton in the 67th minute, her shot slipping under McNicoll but the keeper managed to save on the line.

With seventeen minutes left Forfar had a penalty shout denied when Johnstone looked to have been fouled by Fleming.

Three minutes later Gallacher was forced off through injury, with Rebecca McMillan coming on for her debut.

The only effort of note in the final ten minutes was when Johnstone fired over while Forfar ended the game with ten players, McLaren also going off injured.

The result means Forfar will definitely finish the season in 8th place with only one game left, away to Stirling University on November 1st.

Fiona McNicoll, Alex Russell, Kayleigh Noble, Jade McLaren, Nicola Davidson, Lindsey Dunbar, Holly Napier, Tori Sousa, Derrian Gollan (Caitlin Mitchell 61), Amy Gallacher (Rebecca McMillan 76), Keira Johnstone.

Interview with Forfar Farmington’s Damon Neish

Damon NeishForfar Farmington head coach Damon Neish admitted he was relieved to have secured the side’s Premier League status last week.

A 5-2 win over Hearts was enough to clinch safety and Neish hopes he can build on what he has in the side for next season rather than losing players.

With the league reducing in size down to eight sides, Neish expressed his delight in Forfar being one of the top eight clubs in Scotland, saying “It’s a great feeling having secured our status as one of the top eight clubs in the country. It shows we have some incredibly talented players at this club and have a chance now to really push on and show we have the ambition to compete, not just survive.”

The manager also thanked the 169 who attended last week’s game and hoped they all would come back to watch again. “It was amazing to see so many people there supporting the girls.” he said. ”I think everyone that attended would admit they saw some great football, great entertainment and a lot of fantastic role models for girls and all of football.“

With the current season almost finished, Neish is planning already for 2016; with his eyes set on improving the current crop of players without losing what he has to build on. The coach admits there will be interest in players like Amy Gallacher and Holly Napier but firmly believes Forfar is the place to be at the moment.

“With all the praise comes interest from other clubs. We have some unbelievable talent at this club, but I look around the scene right now; City and Hibs are incredibly strong, no one is guaranteed game time at those clubs. “ he said. “Celtic, at the start of the season, lost a load of players, Rangers also; as an outsider looking in Spartans struggled a bit this year and I personally wasn’t impressed by the football of Stirling.”

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Neish continued “I have always said I would never stand in the way of a player wanting to improve their career; but right now I truly believe we are the best place for young, ambitious players to learn and develop. I hope the girls can see this as well, this is a special group of girls who we are going to add to soon.”

“We are building something special here, I don’t want to remove one of the blocks, we want to build on to what we already have.”

Despite securing safety, the side will look to continue their nine game unbeaten run when they travel to face already relegated Hamilton Academical on Sunday.

Forfar Farmington Ladies 3 Dunfermline Athletic Development 5 (SWFL 2nd Div East/Central) 11th October 2015

Forfar Farmington Ladies                             3

Cheryl Kilcoyne 70, Chelsey Lownie 83, Shamilla Pope 89

Dunfermline Athletic Development       5

Forfar Farmington Ladies lost out by five goals to three against Dunfermline Athletic Development in a tightly contested match on Sunday at Station Park.

Second half goals from Cheryl Kilcoyne, Chelsey Lownie and Shamilla Pope were not enough to counter the Pars’ goals, with their front two contributing all five goals.

The game was originally due to be played at Market Muir but was switched to Station Park in the early hours of Sunday.

With the Premier League side and the Development side not in action, five players were made available for Colin Brown’s depleted squad. Kayleigh Noble, Hannah Dryden, Ellice Brannan, Lownie and Kilcoyne all started, albeit Brannan went off injured.

Lownie had the first chance of the game inside the first sixty seconds, firing straight at the Pars keeper.

Dunfermline opened the scoring after just four minutes, their striker slotting home under Dryden.

The same player had a great chance to double their lead soon after but couldn’t find a way past the young keeper.

Lownie threatened again from a Jane Ritchie free kick after ten minutes although the shot was cleared while Noble blasted inches over from long range after a Chloe Sturrock corner.

On the quarter hour mark, Ritchie nodded over from a Kilcoyne free kick, with Lownie then setting up Emma Percy, but her lob from outside the box clipped the bar after beating the keeper.

Percy fired over again before the Pars grabbed their second after 23 minutes, the striker who netted their first curling home again.

Forfar began to pressure the visitors after that goal, Lownie again and Kirsti Leigh Hunt shooting wide as the half came to a close.

Eight minutes into the second half, the Dunfermline attacker completed her hat-trick, volleying home off the underside of the bar.

The Ladies did pull a goal back with twenty minutes remaining, Kilcoyne racing onto a long ball before lashing past the keeper from the edge of the box.

Less than three minutes later and the Pars had added another two to make it 5-1, both strikers netting for their first and fourth goal respectively.

In the final ten minutes the home side looked the more dangerous, with sub Lisa Hoggan and Kilcoyne again having efforts saved.

They did pull a goal back in the 83rd minute, Lownie forcing a Kilcoyne corner home after poor marking.

Another Kilcoyne corner a minute from time garnered another goal for the Ladies, sub Shamilla Pope nodding home.

On another day, the Ladies would have kept all three points at Station Park but for the Pars’ strikerforce. They now look to next week’s game away to promotion chasing Falkirk while Jeff Rioch and Davie Cattanach’s Development side entertain Dundee City with promotion hopes of their own.

Hannah Dryden, Jane Ritchie, Kirsti Leigh Hunt (Lisa Hoggan 73), Gemma Mulholland, Naomi Dunphy, Chloe Sturrock (Shamilla Pope 57), Emma Percy, Kayleigh Noble, Ellice Brannan (Megan Hassett 23), Chelsey Lownie, Cheryl Kilcoyne.

Sub not used: Bryony Anderson

Forfar Farmington 5 Hearts 2 (SWPL) 4th October 2015

Forfar Farmington           5

Tori Sousa 14, 73, Amy Gallacher 19, 21, Keira Johnstone 58

Heart of Midlothian       2

Rachel Walkingshaw 33, Gemma Mason 77

21st June: Forfar Farmington are eight points from safety with ten games played and only one win and a draw.

4th October: Nine games later, Farmington clinch safety after extending their lead over the relegation zone to ten points with two games remaining.

You could call it the great escape. Going from relegation candidates to the in-form side in Scottish football, if not British football, with nine wins in a row scoring 35 and conceding only five.

A larger crowd than normal saw Damon Neish’s side defeat Hearts 5-2 at Station Park on Sunday, keeping their Premier League status for an eleventh season.

Doubles from Amy Gallacher, who took her tally to ten for the season, and Tori Sousa coupled with Keira Johnstone’s eighth of the season was enough for the young squad.

22 year old Sousa has scored eight goals in her eight games since joining with six in her last three and the American was delighted after the game at how they went about their game, saying “I’m not one for scoring goals often, but when they go in like that, it’s great.”

“I thought it was a good game, we came out really well, going three nil ahead, which was fantastic but I think we got a little lackadaisical so they managed to pull one back. We went into half time, our whole team talk was just to come out stronger and finish the game off and I think we did that.”

The talented midfielder also reckons they can take the same mentality that helped them stay up into the last two game even if they are dead rubber matches. Sousa said “I think the side can win the last two games, we have Hamilton and Stirling left, last time we played Stirling it was a pretty intense game so that was good competition. Our aim is to finish the season in seventh place and we all have the belief we can achieve that.”

After last week’s comfortable win over Inverness City, Neish made just one change with Amy Gallacher coming in for Alex Russell. Defender Gemma Collier also returned to the bench after missing the last two games with work commitments.

The first chance of the game came in the tenth minute, Derrian Gollan sending a cross in for Amy Gallacher but she saw her effort fly over the bar.

Four minutes later the deadlock was broken through Sousa. Dunbar and Gollan combined to set her up and she slipped the ball under the Hearts keeper to the delight of the 168 fans who attended.

After just 19 minutes the lead was doubled; youth internationalist Amy Gallacher waltzed her way through three defenders before curling the ball into the top corner from outside the box.

Two minutes later she grabbed her second of the afternoon, Nicola Davidson’s free kick from the halfway line was met by Gallacher; her initial effort being tipped onto the bar before she rose to nod home the rebound.

Johnstone thought she had made it 4-0 after just twenty five minutes but referee Kenny Beats blew for a foul on the keeper.

Sousa and the Dunbar both had chances to extend the lead with both firing wide before Hearts pulled a goal back in the 33rd minute. Debutant Rachel Walkingshaw capitalised on a poor McNicoll clearance by floating the ball over her into the net from 40 yards.

Gallacher thought she had her hat-trick before half time when she met Sousa’s cross but her shot cannoned off the crossbar and bounced back off the line.

Farmington began the second half with the same intensity as the first 45, hitting the woodwork again four minutes into the half, Dunbar the unlucky player this time.

Two minutes later Holly Napier curled wide before Sousa blasted over from the edge of the box.

After 58 minutes Forfar netted their fourth of the game, a Gallacher cross found Sousa, her shot was blocked so she stabbed the ball towards Johnstone who fired home.

Just after the hour mark it was Hearts turn to hit the woodwork, scorer Walkingshaw’s effort rattling the crossbar.

Simone McMahon was next to have an effort for the visitors as they desperately hunted for a way back into the game.

Dunbar did well in the 68th minute to race forward and meet a long McLaren cross, flicking her header just past the post.

Five minutes later Farmington scored five or more goals for the third week running, a poor kick out from the Hearts keeper fell to Sousa, who after taking a couple of touches, curled a great effort from 25 yards into the top corner.

Hearts did get another consolation goal in the 77th minute after a counter attack allowed sub Gemma Mason to slot home.

As the game entered the final stages Forfar still looked to attack and extend their lead, despite needing just a point to seal safety. Gallacher sent her shot from the edge of the box wide in the 80th minute, with the attacker unlucky not to get her first senior hat trick.

In the last minute captain Nicola Davidson almost had the final say, meeting a Napier corner at the back post, the header going the wrong side of the bar.

The result means that Farmington keep their place in the Premier League next season, albeit Hearts can feel they deserve to be there too, league reconstruction meaning they are one of four teams to go down.

Forfar Farmington: Fiona McNicoll, Sophie Milligan, Megan Burns (Kayleigh Noble 71), Jade McLaren (Gemma Collier 83), Lindsey Dunbar, Tori Sousa, Keira Johnstone (Sally Patterson 85), Nicola Davidson, Holly Napier, Derrian Gollan (Alex Russell 64), Amy Gallacher.

Hearts: Lorna Esson, Louise Moultray, Megan Paterson, Kirsty McLaughlin (Ashley Carse 66), Simone McMahon (Amber Robertson 67), Demi Falconer, Brogan Anderson (Gemma Mason 66), Ashley Nicolson, Stacey Hutchison (Kara Kidd 62), Michelle Faughnan (Rebecca Smith 71), Rachel Walkingshaw.