Forfar Athletic 2 Peterhead 1 (League One Play-Off Final First Leg) 17th May 2017

Forfar Athletic came from behind once again this season to take the advantage in the League One Play-Off Final with a 2-1 against Peterhead.

Despite going behind to an early Rory McAllister goal, the Loons came back through Martyn Fotheringham and Michael Travis following the Blue Toon’s Michael McMullin being sent off.

Gary Bollan fielded the same starting eleven that defeated Annan on Saturday with the only change being on the bench; Eoghan McCawl dropping out for Michael Kennedy.

Forfar got off to a bad start when Rory McAllister knocked home a Jamie Stevenson corner after just two minutes.Six minutes later Stevenson almost turned scorer but Grant Adam held his powerful effort.

Danny Denholm set up the Loons first effort in the 19th minute with Thomas O’Brien rising to meet it however he sent the ball wide.
Rory McAllister did the same at the other end two minutes later as the visitors looked to consolidate their lead.

O’Brien came close again from another set piece; his first effort blocked before sending his second flying over the bar.
David Cox had the Loons’ best chance of the first half after chesting down a punt from Adam; his low effort clawed away from goal by a scrambling Smith just after the half hour mark.

The final action of the first half saw O’Brien’s powerful free kick deflected over.

Cox came inches away from an equaliser again less than a minute into the second half as his curled shot fell inches wide with Graeme Smith beaten.

Three minutes later Peterhead were down to ten men when Michael McMullin was shown a second booking for diving in the box.

The Loons capitalised on this in the 53rd minute and it was none other than Martyn Fotheringham who grabbed the equaliser, firing a spectacular effort past Smith from 25 yards.

Scott Brown had a low driven effort held by Adam while O’Brien stung the hands of Smith with a 35 yard driven shot. 

With fifteen minutes to go it looked like it might be level going in to the second leg but Forfar grabbed a well worked goal to edge themselves in front.

O’Brien teed the ball up for Cox to deliver an inch perfect cross to the back post where Michael Travis bulleted home his third goal in four games.

They could have gone further ahead in the final stages of the game as Cox and Josh Peters saw efforts fly off target.

The final chance of the game fell to Peterhead sub Nathan Blockley as Adam was caught in no man’s land however his header was cleared off the line.

Forfar take the advantage going into the second leg at Balmoor this weekend as they eye promotion to League One at the second attempt.

Forfar Athletic: Adam, Bain, McLaughlin, Fotheringham (Milne 84), O’Brien, Travis, Cox, E. Malone, Lister (Peters 84), Swankie (A. Malone 64), Denholm

Subs not used: Munro, Kennedy, Scott, McGovern (gk)
Peterhead: G. Smith, Reid (McIntosh 56), McMullin, Strachan, Gordon, S. Brown, Stevenson (Blockley 60), Redman, McAllister, J. Brown (Ross 51), Anderson

Subs not used: Riley, Ferry, A. Smith, Hobday (gk)

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Forfar Athletic 4 (6) Annan Athletic 2 (4) (League Two Promotion Play-Off Semi Final Second Leg) 13th May 2017

Despite a second half scare, Forfar Athletic advanced to the final of the League Two Promotion Play-Offs after a 4-2 win over Annan Athletic on Saturday.

After coming from behind on Wednesday, the Loons went 3-0 up before Annan pulled two goals back with Forfar adding a fourth to kill the tie and win 6-4 on aggregate.

One change was made from the first leg with Andy Munro dropping to the bench to be replaced by Eddie Malone.

Forfar started off strongly with Martyn Fotheringham seeing his low driven effort pushed wide before Thomas O’Brien rattled the crossbar from the resulting corner in the opening five minutes.

O’Brien did well at the other end in the tenth minute as he raced back to deny Aidan Smith as the Annan striker shaped up to shoot.

The corner from this was cleared and Forfar broke away; Martyn Fotheringham delivered an inch perfect ball from his own half for Swankie to run on to and slip under the advancing Blair Currie.

The visitors came close to an equaliser almost instantly with the experienced Gavin Skelton seeing his long range effort deflected wide.

Danny Denholm tested Currie again with the keeper parrying his shot but Chris McLaughlin couldn’t get the rebound on target.

Smith had another great chance for the visitors on the half hour mark when he pounced on some slack defensive work; Grant Adam got a hand to his lob taking the sting out of it but Eddie Malone had to get back to clear the danger.

Just sixty seconds later Annan paid for this as Forfar went two ahead; Jamie Bain’s cross was met by Jim Lister with his shot hitting the post before finding the net. The goal was awarded to Lister and Denholm, who followed it up, by different media outlets however the highlights showed it was indeed Lister’s goal.

The Loons were further in front after 36 minutes as Fotheringham gave David Cox the ball and the attacker set up Swankie for his second of the afternoon.

Annan looked a different side at the start of the second half and pulled a goal back from the penalty spot after 49 minutes. Adam fouled Smith for the second penalty this week and it was the attacker who stepped up to fire it under the keeper.

The visitors could have had another goal almost straight from kick off as a slack pass presented Nathan Flanagan with a chance but despite weaving his way into the box he could only shoot straight at Adam.

Swankie and Lister tested Currie again but it was Jim Chapman’s side who grabbed the next goal to make it 3-2 on the day and 5-4 on aggregate. Substitute Darren Ramsay forced his way through the defence before coolly slotting it home after 66 minutes.

Any nerves in the home support subsided six minutes later when Swankie squared the ball for Jamie Bain to control and place past the keeper for his first goal of the season.

Sub David McKenna nodded over the bar from six yards before Lister flicked a header past the post from a Bain cross as both sides threatened in the final fifteen minutes.

Swankie was keen to grab a hat trick and came close in the 78th minute after latching on to a Denholm ball but his shot from a tight angle was pushed wide by Currie.

The result means that the Loons will take on Peterhead in the final after the Blue Toon defeated Montrose 4-1 on aggregate. The first leg will be on Wednesday at Station Park with the second leg at Balmoor next Saturday.

Forfar Athletic: Adam, Bain, McLaughlin, Fotheringham (Milne 87), O’Brien, Travis, Cox, E Malone, Lister (A Malone 82), Swankie, Denholm (Scott 82)

Subs not used: Munro, Peters, McCawl, McGovern (gk)

Annan Athletic: Currie, Home, Stewart (McKenna 73), Krissian, Swinglehurst, Skelton (Wright 82), Omar, Cuddihy, Weatherston, Smith, Flanagan (Ramsay 58)

Subs not used: Osadolor, Lucas, Watson, Mitchell (gk)

Annan Athletic 2 Forfar Athletic 2 (League Two Promotion Play-Off Semi Final First Leg) 10th May 2017

Forfar Athletic pulled themselves back from the dead as two late goals earned them a 2-2 draw with Annan Athletic in the League Two play off semi final first leg. 

After Peter Weatherston and Aidan Smith sent Annan two goals up, Michael Travis pulled one back before Martyn Fotheringham scored an exquisite free kick to set up an exciting second leg on Saturday.

Gary Bollan tinkered with his line up again with a new formation as Andy Munro and Martyn Fotheringham started in place of Josh Peters and Eddie Malone.

Jim Lister saw his shot blocked in the opening sixty seconds but it was the hosts who took the lead after just three minutes; Aidan Smith’s cross was nodded home by the unmarked Peter Weatherston.

Jamie Bain sliced wide after forcing his way into the box before Michael Travis’ deflected effort spun into the area but Lister couldn’t get a clear shot away before it bounced out.

Annan had a great chance to double their advantage in the 15th minute when Grant Adam slipped, taking Smith down as well. The spot kick from the attacker was saved but he was more than happy to net the rebound.

The hosts could have had a third three minutes later as Weatherston took down a Rabin Omar cross but his shot was too powerful and flew over the bar with Adam beaten.

Swankie and Omar fired over for either side while Denholm and Lister nodded wide before half time as Forfar looked to find a way back into the game.

Thomas O’Brien made a great run back to deny Smith three minutes after the break with the striker teeing up to shoot and a counter attack led to David Cox heading Swankie’s cross over the bar.

In the 56th minute Swankie set up Cox and his cross was met by Bain but he couldn’t keep his acrobatic effort down.
Two minutes later McLaughlin found Bain again; his header parried by Blair Currie before being cleared.

Smith came close to another shortly after the hour mark with a long range effort floating past the post.

Bain nodded over in the 68th minute but Forfar came closer to a goal two minutes later when Cox rattled the crossbar from just inside the box before seeing a header cleared off the line.

Adam had to look sharp to tip an Omar free kick from 25 yards over the bar as the game entered the final quarter of an hour.

Forfar pulled a goal back with ten minutes left when Michael Travis rose to nod Swankie’s corner home and it was 2-2 a minute later. Fotheringham sent a beautiful free kick in via the top corner.

The popular Loons midfielder hit the wall with another free kick in the 84th minute with Denholm firing wide from the rebound.

Swankie came close with a curled effort that skimmed the roof of the net with Forfar looking likely to grab a late winner.

Smith sent a header into the side netting late on for the hosts as an entertaining game came to a close.
Annan Athletic: Blair Currie, Callum Home, Jean Guy Lucas, Raffi Krissian, Stephen Swinglehurst, Gavin Skelton, Rabin Omar, Barry Cuddihy, Peter Weatherston, Aidan Smith, Nathan Flanagan 

Subs not used: Stephen Bronsky, Przemyslaw Dachnowicz, Peter Watson, Alex Mitchell (gk)

Forfar Athletic: Grant Adam, Jamie Bain, Chris McLaughlin, Martyn Fotheringham, Michael Travis, Andy Munro, David Cox, Thomas O’Brien, Jim Lister, Gavin Swankie, Danny Denholm

Subs not used: Stuart Malcolm, Marc Scott, Lewis Milne, Aiden Malone, Eddie Malone, Josh Peters, Joe McGovern (gk)