Interview with Forfar Athletic’s Dale Hilson

Dale Hilson is loving life back at Forfar Athletic after a goal and an assist helped the side defeat East Fife at the weekend.

The attacker returned to the club for his sixth spell in January and feels everyone has welcomed him back with open arms.

The former Dundee United, Queen of the South and St Mirren man reckons it helps that he knows what the club’s all about with his teammates helping him settle once again.

“It’s great to be back, everyone’s welcomed me back with open arms, obviously I’ve been here many times before, I know what the club’s about and the boys have been brilliant as well so I’ve really enjoyed it so far and it will be good to continue it.”

With the side defeating East Fife 2-0, the 25 year old was pleased with the side’s performances and reckons if they can keep that up they will be fine after extending the gap at the bottom to four points.

“It was good to get the win, it’s a good three points, I thought we were very good from back to front. Every game from now to the end of the season is important but if we play the way we know we can then we should be fine.”

Hilson grabbed the second goal that sealed the points after setting up Dylan Easton’s opener, however he felt his overall performance could have been better.

He said: “Obviously it’s good to get a goal and an assist, but I didn’t think my overall play was that great to be honest with you but it’s still great to get on the scoresheet and set one up if it gets us the win.”

The striker admits he doesn’t want to be relying on other sides helping the Loons’ cause, believing the side can take care of themselves in the last five games.

“We’re just going to concentrate on our own performances, first and foremost we need to take care of ourselves. If we can produce more results like that, that’s all that matters to us. We don’t want to be relying on other teams to helping us out so as long as we can keep getting results it’s good.”

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Forfar Athletic 2 Raith Rovers 1 (League One) 13th March 2018

Forfar Athletic gave their survival hopes a boost as they moved out of the relegation play off spot with a 2-1 win over league leaders Raith Rovers on Tuesday.

A Matthew Aitken double gave the Loons all three points despite Lewis Vaughan’s late consolation.

Following Saturday’s disappointing defeat to Arbroath, Jim Weir made one change as Mark Millar returned from injury to replace Greg Hurst.

The Loons had the first chance of the game just ninety seconds after kick off when the influential Millar tried his luck from distance; Raith keeper Aaron Lennox smothering the shot with ease.

In the fourth minute Millar teed up Russell Dingwall who turned his marker and sent a shot towards goal but Lennox wasn’t to be beaten once again.

Four minutes later Matthew Aitken was sent in on goal by Murray Mackintosh; the striker lashing the ball across the face of goal with Lennox scrambling to try and get a hand to the shot but it went past the post.

Lennox almost handed Dale Hilson the opener shortly after when his poor kick landed at the feet of Hilson; the keeper managed to recover and deny the striker from 20 yards.

The visitors’ first chance came after 14 minutes when Jason Thomson’s cross found Greig Spence but he couldn’t keep his volley from the edge of the box down and it flew miles over.

Lewis Vaughan forced a save from Marc McCallum from a free kick in one of very few occasions the shotstopper was called into action throughout the evening.

Just after the half hour mark Vaughan sent another free kick into the danger zone, however Jason Thomson headed wide.

The Loons thought they had taken the lead two minutes before the break when Dylan Easton’s free kick was flicked on by Andy Munro for Michael Travis to bullet home but he was adjudged to have been offside and the goal was ruled out.

Hilson and Millar failed to find the target as Forfar kept up their pressure on the visiting defence in the second half.

Liam Buchanan fired horribly over the bar in the 57th minute for Raith while an Easton corner at the other end found Munro, only for his header to be cleared off the line.

Aitken headed over from a Bain cross after 64 minutes however he made up for that four minutes later; another cross from Bain was dropped by Lennox and the striker was more than happy to stab the loose ball into the net.

Another Easton corner found Munro with the defender heading wide this time but it wasn’t long before the Loons extended their lead.

With fifteen minutes remaining Millar sent Mackintosh racing away on the right wing; his teasing low cross into the box was diverted past Lennox by a stretching Aitken for his second of the evening and seventh of the season, making him the Loons’ top scorer in the league.

Raith pulled a goal back to make it a nervy ending for Jim Weir’s side as Vaughan netted from a Willis Furtado corner.

Easton almost made it three for Forfar with a couple of curling efforts from the edge of the box late on but he couldn’t find the target.

The result means the Loons move up to eighth in the table with a five point gap between them and Queen’s Park. They also have a one point gap over Albion Rovers, however they have two games in hand against Ayr United and Arbroath.

Forfar Athletic: McCallum, Bain, Whyte, Munro, Travis, Millar, Mackintosh, Dingwall, Hilson, Easton (Hurst 90+1), Aitken

Subs not used: Starkey, Peters, MacIver, Allan, McNaughton, Adam (gk)

Raith Rovers: Lennox, Thomson, Murray, Davidson, Benedictus, Hendry, Matthews (Court 82), Furtado, Buchanan (Zanatta 58), Spence (Barr 58), Vaughan

Subs not used: McHattie, McKay, Watson, Smith (gk)

Queen’s Park 2 Forfar Athletic 2 (League One) 24th February 2018

A fantastic free kick from Dylan Easton rescued a point for ten man Forfar Athletic in their relegation clash with Queen’s Park at Hampden.

Despite Dale Hilson’s early opener, the Loons fell behind to goals from Adam Cummins and Aidan Keena but Dylan Easton rescued a point despite Eddie Malone’s red card.

Jim Weir fielded the same starting line up that hammered Stranraer the week before and it looked like it would pay off again within three minutes; a long kick by Marc McCallum allowed Dale Hilson to race clear and send the ball past the keeper from 20 yards.

In the ninth minute the hosts had their first opportunity; Ross Millen’s cross found the head of Sean Burns but he could only send the ball over the bar.

Eleven minutes later Adam Cummins did the same as Burns from a David Galt corner.

Hilson had Forfar’s only other chance of the half after 24 minutes, however he snatched at the ball from long range and couldn’t keep his effort down.

The Spiders brought themselves level after 33 minutes; Galt’s free kick was bulleted home by Cummins with the defence left standing.

Aidan Keena was unlucky not to push the hosts ahead just before half time with a curling effort that McCallum had to look sharp to tip over.

Keena managed to find the back of the net six minutes into the second half when a ball into the box was taken down by the striker and he coolly slotted past McCallum.

Robbie Leitch almost added a third after 53 minutes as a Galt corner was flicked on by Anton Brady but Leitch couldn’t keep his shot down.

Leitch created a chance for Kenna on the hour mark with McCallum able to hold the header.

Three minutes later Russell Dingwall found Andy Munro with a cross into the danger zone with the defender heading on to the roof of the net.

The Loons were dealt a blow in the 72nd minute when Eddie Malone was sent off for two bookable offences.

Despite the disadvantage Dylan Easton levelled the scores with a fantastic free kick from 20 yards into the top corner.

This gave Forfar a lift and Matthew Aitken should have put Forfar ahead in the 76th minute but was denied twice by the defence in quick succession.

Daniel Nimmo headed wide for the hosts with eight minutes remaining as both sides looked for a winner.

Both sides came close deep into added time with Kenna and Hilson denied by the opposite defences.

Queen’s Park: Michael White, Ross Millen, Sean Burns, Daniel Nimmo, Adam Cummins, Scott Gibson (Ciaran Summers 76), Gregor Fotheringham, Anton Brady (Jamie Gullane 80), Aidan Keena, Dominic Docherty (Robbie Leitch 36), David Galt

Subs not used: Luke Donnelly, Billy Mortimer, Thomas Orr, Lewis Magee (gk)

Forfar Athletic: Marc McCallum, Jamie Bain, Murray Mackintosh, Eddie Malone, Darren Whyte, Mark Millar (Andy Munro 40), Greg Hurst (Josh Peters 61), Russell Dingwall, Dale Hilson, Dylan Easton (Michael Travis 88), Matthew Aitken

Subs not used: Scott McBride, Ross MacIver, Kevin McNaughton, Grant Adam (gk)

Forfar Athletic 5 Stranraer 1 (League One) 17th February 2018

An empathic Forfar Athletic display ensured they moved out of the danger zone with a 5-1 win at home to Stranraer.

A Matthew Aitken double along with goals from Russell Dingwall, Greg Hurst and Dylan Easton clinched a well deserved three points at Station Park as Forfar moved up to eighth in League One.

Jim Weir was forced into two changes from the previous week with Michael Travis and Andy Munro suspended; Dylan Easton and the returning Dale Hilson taking their place.

The Loons were ahead after just 90 seconds when Matthew Aitken connected with a Russell Dingwall corner and fired home through a group of players.

Two minutes later another Dingwall corner caused problems with Darren Whyte and Mark Millar seeing shots blocked by the visitors’ defence.

In the 4th minute Forfar added a second to keep up their empathic start to the game; Dylan Easton sending a cross to the back post for Aitken to stab past Max Currie.

Dale Hilson almost grabbed a goal on his return to Station Park after six minutes as he outmuscled David Barron but his effort cannoned off the crossbar with Currie beaten.

Angus Beith blasted over from yards out for Stranraer in one of very few chances in the first half for the visitors.

Easton, Aitken and Greg Hurst were all denied by a desperate Stranraer defence as the Loons looked to add to their tally.

They eventually did so in the 24th minute; Dingwall made his way towards goal and let fly with a low effort from 25 yards for his first ever senior goal.

Four minutes later the Loons were further ahead and it was another first as Hilson and Easton combined to allow Hurst to grab his first goal for the club.

Kyle Wilkie failed to trouble Marc McCallum twice in quick succession and at the other end there was almost a fifth for Forfar ten minutes before the break as Easton saw his effort fly just past the post.

Forfar seemed to take their foot off the gas at the start of the second half as Stranraer tried to squeeze their way back into the game.

Half time sub Dean Hawkshaw fired over in the 53rd minute while Grant Anderson did the same shortly after.

On the hour mark Easton saw his shot deflected over the bar but he wasn’t to be denied in the 71st minute when Forfar added a fifth.

A brilliant ball across the box from Mark Millar found Easton and he controlled it before lashing home past Currie.

Forfar looked to be home and dry with three points and a clean sheet but with two minutes left the latter was taken away from them; sub Paul Woods’ effort on goal took a massive deflection and sent McCallum the wrong way.

The result lifts the Loons up to eighth in League One with another big match this weekend as they travel to Hampden Park to take on Queen’s Park.

McCallum, Bain, Mackintosh, Malone, Whyte, Millar, Hurst (McBride 82), Dingwall, Hilson (Peters 79), Easton (MacIver 76), Aitken

Subs not used: McNaughton, Starkey, Allan, Adam (gk)

Alloa Athletic 1 Forfar Athletic 0 (League One) 10th February 2018

Forfar Athletic fell to their second solitary goal defeat in a row on Saturday as Alloa Athletic sent them packing from the Indodrill Stadium.

Andy Graham’s 24th minute header ensured the Wasps took all three points despite Forfar threatening on a few occasions.

Jim Weir made three changes from the previous week with Eddie Malone, Mark Millar and Darren Whyte replacing Dylan Easton, Kevin McNaughton and Ross MacIver.

The Loons had the opening chance of the game after seven minutes; Andy Munro’s cross found Greg Hurst but he couldn’t get his header on target.

A minute later Alloa had a similar opportunity of their own when Ross Stewart got his head to Scott Taggart’s cross but Murray Mackintosh was on hand to clear the danger.

Mark Millar almost celebrated his return to the starting XI with a fantastic 25 yard effort shortly after; Wasps keeper Neil Parry doing well to push the shot onto the bar.

Hurst and Jordan Kirkpatrick were both denied by the opposition defence in quick succession before Mark Millar curled a free kick over the bar.

The deadlock was broken in the 26th minute by the hosts when Steven Hetherington’s free kick was headed past Marc McCallum by Andy Graham.

McCallum almost handed the Wasps a second three minutes later; his poor kick landed at Stewart’s feet however the striker’s shot was poor and McCallum gathered easily.

Alloa looked to kill the game off at the start of the second half; Kirkpatrick sending a long range effort wildly over before Graham headed over the bar from a Flannigan free kick.

McCallum had to be sharp to ensure the score kept the same in the 53rd minute when Munro sliced a clearance and the keeper pushed the ball over the bar.

A minute later Stewart was denied by the Loons keeper while Jamie McCart couldn’t keep his header down from the corner.

Matthew Aitken dragged his shot wide from the edge of the box shortly before the hour mark as the Loons looked for an equaliser.

Stewart could and probably should have put Alloa further in from in the 68th minute; he was sent racing clear but when one on one with McCallum, he fluffed the opportunity wide.

Hurst headed past the post from yards out three minutes later.

The striker saw another chance deflected wide shortly after; from the corner Michael Travis had a header cleared off the line as Forfar looked to build up some pressure on the Alloa backline.

In Hurst’s final action of the game he blasted over from the edge of the box before being replaced by Ross MacIver.

With the game edging closer to full time Millar was unlucky not to find the back of the net from 25 yards as Parry did well to tip the ball over.

Deep into injury time Millar tried his luck again from almost the same spot; this time he couldn’t keep his shot down as it flew into the terracing.

The result, coupled with Queen’s Park’s victory means that Forfar drop to bottom on goal difference.

They face a tough challenge next week when they host Stranraer but will have centre back pairing Andy Munro and Michael Travis suspended.

Alloa Athletic: Parry, Taggart, Crane, Graham, McCart, Fleming (Robertson 82), Cawley (Crossan 67), Hetherington, Stewart, Kirkpatrick (Smith 75), Flannigan

Subs not used: Renton, McKeown, Monaghan, Wilson (gk)

Forfar Athletic: McCallum, Whyte (Easton 46), Bain, Munro, Travis, Mackintosh, Dingwall, Millar, Aitken, Hurst (MacIver 75), Malone (Peters 65)

Subs not used: McBride, McNaughton, Starkey, Adam (gk)

Interview with Forfar Athletic’s Michael Travis

Forfar Athletic captain Michael Travis was elated with the three points on Saturday as they defeated Albion Rovers 4-2.

The centre back also praised defensive partner Andy Munro after his man of the match performance on his return to the club following a loan spell at Clyde.

Travis netted twice in Saturday’s win and felt the side got a rub of the green that had evaded them on many occasions this season.

“I’m delighted to get the win, the last few performances we’ve worked hard and stuck together, you need a bit of luck at times and felt we got that today.”

He continued: “It was nice to get two goals, especially with Andy Munro getting one as well, hopefully we can now build on it.”

The Loons conceded goals just eleven and three minutes after netting their first and third respectively with Travis disappointed to concede so quickly.

“It was disappointing to concede the two goals, they say you’re at your most vulnerable after you score and it happened today as well but I thought we showed good fight to get the three points.”

Rovers were reduced to nine men after Michael Hopkins and Alan Trouten were sent off in the same incident in the 62nd minute at 3-2, Travis felt the Loons were more than worthy of their win despite this.

“The red cards killed their momentum a little bit, but I thought we were dominant, we had chances, Josh could have scored when he went round the keeper but it’s hit off his heel and went to the man.”

“Obviously there were the red cards, they change games, we took advantage and killed the game off with the fourth, we just need to build on this now.”

With the Scottish Cup taking over the league schedule next weekend, Forfar have to wait until January 27th for their next league game away to East Fife.

Jim Weir has arranged a friendly against an Aberdeen XI for Thursday and Travis reckons this will be a tough test ahead of their trip to a tricky New Bayview.

“It’s a nice break, obviously we have a game on Thursday so the gaffer will probably give a few boys that haven’t been playing games recently a good run out against Aberdeen.”

“That should be a tough test so hopefully again we can apply ourselves and we are prepared for East Fife in a fortnight, which is again another tough game. Another three points would be nice and let’s keep moving up.”

The captain expressed his delight as Andy Munro returned to the club following a loan spell at Clyde; while he reckons he is a good guy to have around the club, the same can’t be said for trips to training.

“It was good to have Andy back, obviously with having played alongside him and known him for so long. He’s a presence, a good guy, he’s loud in and around the club, obviously not in your car when you’re trying to have a nap on the way up to training and he’s shouting about in your ear. It’s good to have him back and hopefully I can get a good partnership with him.”

Forfar Athletic 4 Albion Rovers 2 (League One) 13th January 2018

Forfar Athletic
Mark Millar pen 7, Michael Travis 21, 87, Andrew Munro 57

Albion Rovers 2
Gary Fisher 18, Jason Marr 59
Michael Hopkins sent off 62, Alan Trouten sent off 64

Defence was the best form of attack for Forfar Athletic on Saturday as they won at home for the first time since November.

Centre backs Michael Travis and Andy Munro netted three of the goals in a 4-2 win over Albion Rovers with Mark Millar also scoring a penalty.

Gary Fisher and Jason Marr were on target for Rovers who were reduced to nine men after a horrific challenge by Michael Hopkins with Alan Trouten following him.

There were three changes for Jim Weir’s side, with Andy Munro, Kevin McNaughton and Dylan Easton replacing Conner Duthie, Matthew Aitken and trialist Jordan Hornby, who had signed with League Two side Cowdenbeath.

The Loons went ahead after just seven minutes when Eddie Malone was brought down inside the penalty area; Mark Millar stepped up to blast home the spot kick and net their first home goal since November 11th.

Rovers were level eleven minutes later; an attack by Victoria wasn’t clearly properly and Gary Fisher sent a low strike from distance into the bottom corner.

It wasn’t long until there was a third goal in the game as Forfar went ahead again in the 21st minute. A lofted ball from Munro was missed completely by keeper Daniel Potts and Michael Travis was on hand to sweep the loose ball into the net.

The hosts had further chances to extend their lead with Malone and Millar denied by Potts while Ross Davidson saw two efforts fly off target and failed to trouble McCallum at the other end.

Both sides were forced into a half time switch as Malone and Joao Victoria were replaced by Matthew Aitken and Michael Hopkins respectively.

Rovers had the first chance of the second half through Hopkins but he saw his shot pushed away by McCallum in the 49th minute.

Forfar added a third in the 57th minute from a Cox corner and it was a fantastic bullet header from the returning Munro with his first goal for the side since November 2016.

Just two minutes later Rovers pulled a goal back; Davidson sending a cross into the box and Jason Marr forced the ball over the line.

Any momentum the visitors had gained from the goal was halted in the 62nd minute when Hopkins was shown a red card for a poor challenge on Darren Whyte. Almost every player was involved in the scrap that ensued and it took four minutes for play to restart; Alan Trouten was also sent off for Rovers after raising his hands with Munro was booked for his part.

With the Loons holding a goal and two man disadvantage, they looked to kill the game off with Peters, Easton and sub Conner Duthie all kept at bay by Potts.

Cox saw his 83rd minute shot deflected wide but it was a defender who made sure the Loons took all three points with three minutes remaining.

A Cox free kick wasn’t cleared properly and when Duthie sent the ball back into the danger zone, Travis was unmarked and was more than happy to net his second of the afternoon and third of the season.

The result, coupled with Queen’s Park’s loss to Arbroath, means that the Loons are level on points with the Spiders, however are still bottom due to goal difference.

There is no competitive action this coming weekend sue to the Scottish Cup, but Jim Weir’s side have a friendly scheduled for Thursday when they take on an Aberdeen XI.

Forfar Athletic: McCallum, Whyte, Bain, Munro, Travis, McNaughton, Easton (Duthie 73), Millar, Cox, Peters (McBride 83), Malone (Aitken 46)

Subs not used: Cregg, Lochhead, Starkey, Adam (gk)

Albion Rovers: Potts, McLaughlin, McMullin, Reid, Marr, Fisher, Shields, Davidson, Higgins, Trouten, Victoria (Hopkins 46)

Subs not used: McDonald, Gallagher, Watters, O’Kane, Wright (gk)