Interview with Forfar Athletic’s Martyn Fotheringham

Martyn Fotheringham apologised to Forfar fans following their defeat to Albion Rovers consigned them to relegation.

The 33 year old midfielder was devastated and reckons the club that he says is a big part of his life shouldn’t be in League Two with the players they have.

The popular Fotheringham also feels for the people behind the scenes and knows exactly how they will feel having been at Forfar for nine years.

Speaking after the game, he told of how the dressing room was gutted following the defeat. “The dressing room is absolutely gutted, nobody wants a relegation on their CV. I think it’s been well documented that with the players we’ve got in our squad we shouldn’t be getting relegated but then the table doesn’t lie so there’s something not right there.”

“It’s all very well having ability but if you’re not willing to do the nasty side of the game, put your body on the line and keep clean sheets etc then it’s inevitable what will happen. It’s just not been good enough, right throughout the squad but like I said the table doesn’t lie.”

“I think if you could put your finger on what has went wrong, you’d be a pretty rich person but like I said if you can’t keep clean sheets and you’re having to score three or four goals to even have a chance of winning the game then I think we can see where a problem’s been there.”

Fotheringham reckons the side’s problems reared their head once again on Saturday and every goal could have been defended better than they were. “It was in our own hands and we take the lead in under a minute so all you do is be as horrible as you can be and win the game. The problems we’ve been having all season appeared today, the goals we conceded are absolutely embarrassing to be honest but that’s why we are where we are.”

“The majority of the squad was there last season, we lost a few experienced heads but it’s only now that we’ve lost them that you realise what they brought to the team. The other boys need to learn, they’ve now got relegation on their CV and I hope they feel as bad as I do about it because my years are running out and it’s on my CV now.”

Fotheringham feels sorry for those behind the scenes at Station Park and apologised on behalf of the playing staff.

He said: “It’s devastating, I’ve been at the club for nine years; it’s a big part of my life. Behind the scenes they’ll be absolutely devastated because they’re all Forfar people running the club, they don’t have any outsiders, it is Forfar people through and through so I can imagine they’ll be devastated. I can only apologise from the playing staff, it’s not been good enough.”

The midfielder didn’t need to think about his answer when asked if he would want to stay at Forfar again next season. “Without a shadow of a doubt. It’s not my decision, it’s the manager’s decision but if he was to ask me right now, then yeah definitely. It’s well publicised it’s the best run part time club in Scotland and it shouldn’t be in League Two.”

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Albion Rovers 3 Forfar Athletic 2 (League One) 23rd April 2016

Forfar Athletic fell at the final hurdle in their attempts to avoid relegation following a 3-2 defeat at Albion Rovers on Saturday.

Wins for Brechin City and Stenhousemuir meant the Loons are unable to catch either of them or Cowdenbeath therefore are relegated to League Two.

Despite taking the lead after fifty seconds through Danny Denholm and Andy Ryan’s penalty midway through the second half; goals from Ally Love, Scott McBride and Mick Dunlop sealed all three points for play-off chasing Rovers.

The Loons looked up for the fight straight away and took the lead after just fifty seconds when Ryan held the ball up well before threading a through ball for Denholm to race on to before coolly slotting home.

Less than two minutes later Forfar could have added a second; Gavin Swankie’s free kick creating problems in the Rovers box and the defence had to look sharp to block Ryan and Gareth Rodger’s efforts.

Ryan then had a shot saved by Ross Stewart with all the above action taking place in the first three minutes.

Albion equalised in the 7th minute when a long ball into the box wasn’t dealt with by Darren Hill or Michael Dunlop and Ally Love nipped in to place the ball in the empty net.

Ten minutes later and the hosts took the lead; Love troubling the defence again down the left and his cross was nodded home by Scott McBride at the back post.

They could have extended the lead on the half hour mark when Love saw his shot palmed into the path of McBride but his header was held this time.

Love looked to be in on goal again eight minutes into the second half after a slip by Rodger but Dunlop made a fantastic effort to get back and tackle the scorer.

Ryan had a header held from a Spark cross before the Loons were awarded a penalty when Denholm was hauled down by Kyle Turnbull who was booked for his troubles. Ryan stepped up and blasted the penalty past Stewart to give the Loons a lifeline with Brechin drawing and Stenhousemuir losing at this point.

Forfar seemed to be more up for it following this goal with Spark’s cross in the 67th minute finding Scott Martin but his header was brilliantly saved by the keeper.

Just a minute later Michael Kennedy saw his shot deflected twice before being cleared off the line by Ross Dunlop.

Love had an effort cleared off the line before Rovers took the lead again; Mick Dunlop nodding home a McBride corner.

Following this goal news filtered through that both Brechin and Stenny were now leading, this meant Forfar had to win or face automatic relegation.

Despite this, the Loons failed to threaten much in the final minutes; Ryan’s weak effort straight at the keeper the only shot of note Forfar had.

The final whistle went and some of the Loons players looked devastated as they walked off the pitch with the side now playing League Two football in 2016/17 where they will see some familiar faces.

Stewart, Reid, Turnbull, Fisher, R. Dunlop, Mick Dunlop, Ferry (Georgiev 69), Davidson, McBride, Willis (Archibald 69), Love (Barrowman 88)

Subs not used: Petrie, Talu, Kerjean, Lochhead (gk)

Hill, Spark, Kennedy (Fotheringham 88), Dunlop (Campbell 80), Rodger, Smith, Martin, Craig, Ryan, Swankie, Denholm

Subs not used: Kader, Young, Hodge, Aitken, King (gk)

Forfar Farmington 2 Glasgow City 4 (SWPL) 24th April 2016

Forfar Farmington continued their improved performances as of late when they were edged out 4-2 by defending SWPL champions Glasgow City on Sunday.

Despite goals from Tori Sousa and Nicola Davidson, the result leaves Farmington still hunting for those ever elusive first points of the season.

Two changes were made following last week’s defeat to Hibs with Louise Magilton ruled out through injury and Alana Bruce dropping to the bench to be replaced by Holly Napier and Kayleigh Noble.

City took the lead after just six minutes when Samantha Kerr and Ruesha Littlejohn combined to send a ball into the box for Fiona Brown to sweep home.

Littlejohn had an opportunity of her own in the 15th minute to double the advantage but blasted wide.

Just sixty seconds later however Forfar had equalised; a free kick from long range caused havoc inside the box and Tori Sousa was on hand to slot past the keeper for her second of the season.

Kirsty Deans couldn’t get a strong enough touch on Kayleigh Noble’s cross to divert it towards goal while Lindsey Dunbar was crowded out before she could get a shot away after weaving her way through the City defence.

Littlejohn volleyed into the arms of Fiona McNicoll before she nodded straight at the keeper after rising to meet a Brown cross just after the half hour mark.

Nicola Docherty restored City’s lead five minutes from half time with a smart finish; curling past McNicoll from a tight angle.

Captain Nicola Davidson almost equalised once more straight away with a long range effort that troubled the keeper but she managed to smother the shot.

Shortly after half time Megan McCarthy made a great run to deny Docherty as she made her way into the box but City were to add another goal in the 53rd minute.

Leanne Ross swung a corner in that was met by the head of Brown, giving McNicoll no chance.

Just three minutes later Farmington were back in the game when Kayleigh Noble’s cross was collected by Davidson after beating a static defence and chipping the ball past the keeper.

In the 64th minute Holly Napier was close to equalising with a smart free kick that flew agonisingly over the bar.

Forfar were dealt another blow in the 67th minute when City added their fourth to restore their two goal lead; Sarah Crilly bundling home Brown’s cross at the front post.

Farmington tried to push for another deserved goal for their performance but were unable to break down a City defence, who were more than happy to sit in.

The visitors did have chances through Ross and Kerr but neither were on target.

Farmington can be more than happy with their performance despite the result having played as well as the league leaders for the majority of the game.

They will now look to go one better and pick up points when they travel to face Rangers next week.

Forfar Farmington: Fiona McNicoll, Sophie Milligan (Gemma Collier 78), Lindsey Dunbar (Robyn Smith 70), Amy Gallacher, Tori Sousa, Holly Napier, Nicola Davidson, Kirsty Deans, Kayleigh Noble (Jade McLaren 85), Megan McCarthy, Ann Taylor (Julia Scott 64)

Subs not used: Stephanie Milne, Alana Bruce, Hannah Dryden (gk)

Glasgow City: Erin Clachers, Lauren McMurchie (Joanne Love 64), Savannah McCarthy, Ruesha Littlejohn (Erin Cuthbert 62), Nicola Docherty, Carla Boyce (Sarah Crilly 55), Cheryl McCulloch, Sarah Clelland, Leanne Ross, Fiona Brown, Samantha Kerr.

Subs not used: Hayley Lauder, Clare Shine, Gemma Fay (gk)

Interview with Forfar Farmington’s Kayleigh Noble

Kayleigh Noble has signalled her intention to force her way into Mark Nisbet’s starting eleven in the coming weeks.

The winger has appeared in every game this season, albeit from the bench and she reckons that through hard work she can prove her worth to the head coach.

Noble admits that it will be difficult with both Amy Gallacher and Robyn Smith starting the majority of games in her favoured left wing position.

She said: “I feel that Amy and Robyn are playing well just now. I would like to get the opportunity to start and show the manager what I am capable of; this means working hard at training and trying to prove my worth to the team.”

The 19 year old has also filled in at left back for the Premier League side as well as the development and Ladies in recent months and states that while she is not used to the position, she is determined to give it her all if she is given a specific role to play.

“I find playing left back challenging as it’s not a position I prefer but if I have been given a role to do then it’s my intention to play in that position to the best of my ability.”

Noble made her debut in July 2013 with a scoring debut against Hutchison Vale and has since scored five goals in 40 appearances with 23 of those coming from the bench. She admits it is hard to make a proper impact as a substitute but feels she can make a similar impression like last season when she chipped in with a few assists.

“I find it difficult coming on late and trying to make an impression and fit into the game. I always find by the time you start to get your touch the game has ended without you getting as much time on the ball as you would prefer to. I’m hoping to make the same impact as last season and try to even get more assists and a few goals along with more game time under my belt.“

Following the side’s defeat to Hibs last Sunday, Noble believes the side improved their performance against the Edinburgh club.

She said “I was disappointed to not get a start but felt the overall performance of the team was of a good standard.  It was always going to be a tough game but I thought we matched them pretty well in the first half despite losing the two goals. Kirsty’s goal was fantastic and it helped boost the team’s confidence as we hunted for a second goal.”

Interview with Forfar Farmington’s Kirsty Deans

Midfielder Kirsty Deans believes that Forfar Farmington have shown they are making a big improvement with their performances as of late.

Despite being defeated 3-1 by Hibernian, the side looked a much better side compared to the side that crashed out of the League Cup three weeks ago following a 6-0 defeat to the same side.

The 24 year old netted the side’s consolation with a fantastic effort from 20 yards that sailed into the top corner for her first goal since joining from Inverness City at the start of the year.

Deans was happy to get a goal like that to open her account at Forfar, she said: “I was pleased to get my first goal for the club. I think I knew as soon as it left my boot that it would be a difficult one for the keeper to deal with. I got a lucky bobble and it bounced kindly in front of me just asking to be hit and I got the connection I wanted which I was happy with.”

The midfielder reckons that despite the result, there were a lot of positives to take and they can build on that ahead of this week’s game against Glasgow City

“It’s always disappointing not to take something from a game in terms of points. However, I feel like we will be able to take a huge amount from the performance today to take forward. We wanted to come out today and show that we were a much better side than what we demonstrated in the previous Hibs game and we certainly did that today.”

She continued “Everyone worked superbly well for the entire game, working hard for each other and showing good composure on the ball to create opportunities and put them on the back foot. I think it was clear to see today for those watching and it was also evident to the players on the park that the performance today was much closer to where we need and know it should be.”

Deans believes that the team are gelling together perfectly and along with working hard at training, it will bring results sooner or later.

“We have been working hard during the break in fixtures and I think we are now bringing what we are doing on the training ground to the match day. The atmosphere in training is buzzing and everyone is working phenomenally hard as a group and with our individual work which is now reflecting in our performances.”

The January signing feels it has been easy to fit in with the close-knit squad with fellow Highland duo Julia Scott and Megan McCarthy’s presence at the club a key factor in helping her to do so.

“I feel as though I have settled in to the club pretty well at the moment. Coming down with Ralphi and Megan really helped the transition and gave me more confidence to get stuck in and get to know the girls in the squad.”

She continued: “The girls also made it very easy for me to settle in as they are such a friendly group and their banter is pretty good as well. Along with that the support from the whole coaching team is brilliant they are a very enthusiastic and helpful group that have allowed us to get into the swing of things with ease.”

The side entertain early league leaders Glasgow City on Sunday and Deans reckons that if they can perform like they did against Hibs with a few improvements, they can take their first points of the season.

“I believe 100% that we can get some points on the board next Sunday against Glasgow City. We will take a huge amount of confidence from last week’s performance and we know that if we can replicate that standard and tighten certain areas up we will certainly be pushing City all the way.”

“We played brilliantly in spells today going forward and with a little luck we could have scored a couple more goals. As a group we also put in a very disciplined performance which meant that we frustrated Hibs and didn’t allow them to play the way they wanted, showing good aggression and commitment for each other. On the whole it was a hugely positive performance and with a good week at training we will certainly be going into Sunday’s clash with a positive attitude.”

 

Forfar Farmington 1 Hibernian 3 (SWPL) 17th April 2016

Forfar Farmington could be pleased with their performance despite a 3-1 defeat to title challengers Hibernian on Sunday.

The two sides met just three weeks ago in the League Cup with Hibs triumphing 6-0 however this meeting was a closer affair.

Kirsty Deans netted her first goal for Farmington with a fantastic volley into the top corner with Lizzie Arnot, Lucy Graham and Caroline Heron grabbing the visitors’ goals to take all three points.

Head coach Mark Nisbet made five changes from the crushing defeat with Louise Magilton, Lindsey Dunbar, Megan McCarthy and two second debuts for Alana Bruce and latest signing Ann Taylor coming in. This meant that Holly Napier, Jade McLaren, Gemma Collier and Robyn Smith dropped to the bench with Julia Scott missing out due to illness.

Hibs got off to a perfect start after three minutes; Lizzie Arnot curling home past Fiona McNicoll from the edge of the box.

Tori Sousa almost grabbed an equaliser eight minutes later after racing onto a long ball from Bruce but the attacker couldn’t keep her effort down and it flew inches over the bar.

Farmington had their closest chance of the first half in the 24th minute when Taylor swung a corner into the danger zone and McCarthy’s header struck the crossbar with Jenna Fife beaten.

The Edinburgh side had headers of their own go close in quick succession; Lucy Graham nodded wide from Arnot’s corner before an unmarked Joelle Murray did the same following Lisa Robertson’s free kick.

Shortly after the half hour mark Taylor sent a free kick flying over Fife’s bar and following a quick attack by Hibs Arnot fired straight at McNicoll.

The visitors did double their advantage four minutes before half time when a poor clearance teed up Graham perfectly and her driven effort found the bottom corner.

Forfar came out for the second half looking for a quick goal to bring themselves back into the game and almost got a goal within the first sixty seconds; Amy Gallacher sending her effort wide of the mark.

The side were then dealt a blow when Louise Magilton was stretchered off shortly after Gallacher’s effort.

Hibs made sure things went from bad to worse for Farmington in the 58th minute; former duo Abbi Grant and Caroline Heron combined to allow the latter to stab home and make it 3-0.

Forfar however, were determined not to give up and kept fighting to get some reward for their neat play; Nicola Davidson saw a free kick cleared before Alana Bruce was inches away from firing home but was crowded out by a well organised defence.

The side did eventually find the net in the 69th minute when Tori Sousa took a cross down before Kirsty Deans hit a fantastic first time volley that soared into the top corner, giving Fife no chance.

McNicoll was then called into action once more, pulling off two impressive saves following close range efforts from Arnot and then Heron inside the six yard box.

At the other end Sousa saw her low effort pushed wide before the resultant corner from Taylor found McCarthy but her header was soft and the defence cleared with ease.

McNicoll was in fine form once more with another double save from Robertson and Rachel McLauchlan, albeit the efforts were from further out than the previous two.

In the second minute of added time Forfar had a chance to make things interesting in the final five minutes of the game with Sousa and Deans combining to set up Davidson; her effort was held by Fife.

The result means Forfar are still without a point in the league but their performances are improving and they will hope for another like that when they entertain Glasgow City this Sunday at Station Park.

Forfar Farmington: Fiona McNicoll, Sophie Milligan (Jade McLaren 72), Louise Magilton (Holly Napier 53), Lindsey Dunbar, Amy Gallacher (Robyn Smith 72), Tori Sousa, Nicola Davidson, Alana Bruce, Kirsty Deans, Megan McCarthy, Ann Taylor (Kayleigh Noble 80).

Subs not used: Stephanie Milne, Gemma Collier, Hannah Dryden (gk)

Hibernian: Jenna Fife, Claire Williamson, Lisa Robertson, Lizzie Arnot (Lia Tweedie 87), Caroline Heron (Sarah Ewens 80), Kirsty Smith (Rachel McLauchlan 68), Lucy Graham, Abbi Grant (Abi Harrison 68), Joelle Murray, Heather Richards (Chelsea Cornet 68), Emma Brownlie.

Subs not used: Ellis Notley, Kirsty Jefferies (gk)

Interview with Forfar Farmington’s Ann Taylor

Forfar Farmington headshots

Ann Taylor says she is delighted to be back at Forfar Farmington after two years away from the club.

The 24 year old utility player joins Mark Nisbet’s squad after a short break in Australia following two seasons at Hutchison Vale.

Taylor reckons that the club has improved massively in terms of development since her last spell and spoke of her gratefulness to be involved again. “It feels great to be back at Forfar. The club has developed and grown so much since my brief time previously and I’m very excited to see what we can achieve this season with the new SWPL set up. The level of professionalism and time invested from people at the club is obvious and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of it.”

Forfar Famington v Hibernian Ladies

The former Buchan and Spartans player also regards Forfar as somewhere where team spirit is fantastic which was key to her decision to return along with the fact she knew some of the faces at the club previously.

She continued: “I was familiar with the coaching staff and I already knew some of the girls so it wasn’t a difficult decision to come back to Forfar. I knew it would be the same high standard of coaching and with the new staff, level of player support and development being put in place this season it was a no brainer.”

“At Forfar there has always been a great atmosphere and a sense of togetherness and I wanted to be a part of the team spirit again.”

When Taylor departed the club following nine appearances and one goal at the end of 2013, she joined Edinburgh side Hutchison Vale and feels that the spell allowed her to improve her game under experienced management.

Taylor said “My time at Hutchie was a great experience. Playing in the Premier League is always a challenge but being part of such a close team, the girls were amazing and the team spirit was great.”

“I gained a lot of experience playing in different positions and I learned a lot from the experienced coaching staff and players. I wish them all the best this season.”

Forfar Famington v Hibernian Ladies

Following her departure from Hutchie Vale at the end of last season, Taylor headed to Australia; an experience she says that she would like to experience again at some point in the future but at the moment she is concentrating on earning degrees and enjoying her football at Forfar.

She continued: “I returned to Sydney and trained with a few teams before signing for the University of South Wales. It was a lower league team however I was able to get some valuable playing time under my belt and focus on my confidence and fitness. Their season was only just beginning so I only managed to play one official game, scoring a free kick to draw the match against a team in the league above.”

“At the moment I have no plans to go back but I would like to return one day and spend more time playing football, maybe in Melbourne. I will be starting a masters course in sport management, policy and international development in September so my attention will be on my studies for the time being.”

Whilst awaiting clearance from the Australia FA, Ann had continued to train with the squad but admits she was delighted to make her debut on Sunday against Hibs.

“I thought it was a good solid team performance. Everybody was well prepared and up for the match which allowed us to play some good football and create chances which we should’ve done better with.”

“I was pleased with my own performance being my first competitive match back. I thought I was tough when I needed to be but I made some silly mistakes which I hope with hard work in training my sharpness and match fitness will improve.”