Forfar Athletic 6 Nairn County 1 (Pre-Season Friendly) 15th July 2017

The Loons completed their pre-season schedule with a comfortable 6-1 win at home to Nairn County on Saturday.

A Matthew Aitken hat-trick within 32 minutes along with Jim Lister’s header and Marc Scott saw Forfar five ahead at the break; Eddie Malone’s long range effort adding the sixth before Jack MacLean netted Nairn’s consolation.

Forfar fielded new signing Simon Mensing in defence along with a new trialist with none of the four trialists who played in the previous three games in the squad.

The trialist nodded wide of the mark in the fifth minute however sixty seconds later Jamie Bain’s cross was nodded in at the back post by Matthew Aitken.

Dylan Easton fired past the post shortly after prior to setting up Scott McBride, his effort held by Ryan MacLeod.

Aitken added a second in the 19th minute; Mark Millar’s corner fumbled was by the keeper and the young striker gleefully tapped home.

He completed his hat trick after 32 minutes as he rose to head home another Bain cross.

Sixty seconds later it was 4-0 as Jim Lister sent another header past the keeper from McBride’s cross.

Marc Scott added a fifth on the stroke of half time as he diverted a McBride ball in off the left hand post.

Four changes were made at half time with U20 Player of the Year Greg Warwick making his second appearance for the senior side, his first coming in October last season as a trialist against Edinburgh City.

The Loons scoring was completed five minutes after the break; Eddie Malone finding the top corner from 25 yards after being allowed far too much space by the visitors.

Aitken could have added a fourth just before the hour mark when he connected with a cross to the front post.

Nairn pulled a goal back in the 68th minute through sub Jack MacLean, who had been on the pitch for all of ten minutes. A lapse in concentration allowed MacLean in and he slipped the ball under Jason King.

Action was low in the final twenty minutes with the only real opportunity coming with five minutes left as David Cox fired over from close range from Jamie Gill’s cross.

The Loons begin their competitive season on Tuesday as they travel to Angus rivals Brechin City in their first League Cup Group A fixture.

Forfar Athletic: Marc McCallum (Jason King 60), Jamie Bain, Eddie Malone, Mark Millar (Michael Travis 46), Trialist (Andy Munro 46), Simon Mensing (David Cox 60), Marc Scott, Dylan Easton (Jamie Gill 46), Jim Lister (Greg Warwick 46), Matthew Aitken (Ousman See 60), Scott McBride

Nairn County: Ryan MacLeod (Dylan MacLean 57), Ryan MacDonald (Craig Munro 77), Cohen Ramsay, Callum McLean, Glenn Main, Adam Porritt (Callum Ednie 57), Adam Naismith, Kenny McKenzie (Jack MacLean 57), Dylan MacKenzie (Matty MacLeod 77), Jordan Macrae (Max Ewan 65), Ewen Urquhart

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Forfar Athletic 1 Formartine United 1 (Pre-Season Friendly) 8th July 2017

Forfar Athletic continued their pre-season programme with an uneventful 1-1 draw at home to Highland League side Formartine United.

After falling behind to a Paul Lawson penalty, Andy Munro equalised with a header on the stroke of half time in their second of four friendlies in eleven days.

Four trialists were named in the starting line up along with U20 winger Jamie Gill while Dylan Easton made his first appearance from the bench.

There was little to shout home about in the first half with Wayne MacIntosh’s volley flying wildly over the bar the only thing resembling a chance in the first 15 minutes.

Marc Scott had an effort pushed away by Ewan MacDonald before the loose ball was cleared with the trialist wearing number ten lurking.

Former Montrose striker Garry Wood saw his shot parried by Marc McCallum however Scott Barbour could only watch as his goalbound effort was diverted past the post.

In the 37th minute the visitors took the lead from the penalty spot after Michael Travis fouled Wood; Paul Lawson stepped up and sent McCallum the wrong way.

The Loons pulled a goal back seconds before the break when Mark Millar’s free kick into the danger zone was bulleted past MacDonald by Andy Munro.

If anyone came up to Station Park to watch the second half, they were in for a shock with not much to report on.

Lawson came close for the visitors twice with long range efforts after the hour mark; his second curling inches past the post with McCallum beaten.

Forfar’s only clear cut opportunity in the second half fell to sub Scott McBride with his surging run ending in his shot curling into the arms of former Loon Andy Reid.

The side are back in action on Tuesday as they host former Loons manager Neil Cooper’s Inverurie Loco Works.

Forfar Athletic: Marc McCallum, Trialist, Jamie Bain, Trialist (Matthew Aitken 77), Andy Munro, Michael Travis, Marc Scott (Scott McBride 59), Mark Millar, Trialist (Ousman See 46), Trialist (Jim Lister 46), Jamie Gill (Dylan Easton 59)

Formartine United: Ewan MacDonald (Andy Reid 46), Calum Dingwall (Ross Gibbons 77), Archie McPhee, Paul Lawson, Scott Henry (Murray Esson 87), Wayne MacIntosh (Kieran Lawrence 65), Graham Rodgers (Sam Muirhead 46), Stuart Anderson, Scott Ferries (Cameron Heslop 89), Garry Wood (Jevan Anderson 48), Scott Barbour (Liam Burnett 46)

Forfar Athletic 4 Cove Rangers 2 (Pre-Season Friendly) 4th July 2017

Forfar Athletic defeated Cove Rangers 4-2 in their opening pre-season friendly on Tuesday at Station Park.

Goals from Michael Travis, Scott McBride, Matthew Aitken and a trialist sealed the win with Mitch Megginson and Paul McManus netting for the visitors.

Gary Bollan fielded three trialists from the start, including former Loons loanee Marc McCallum and ex-Montrose midfielder Kieran McWalter while two trialists made appearances from the bench.

The game got off to a slow start with Cove having the only clear cut chance of the opening quarter of an hour coming from Cove’s Harry Milne; his overhead kick flying over the bar from ten yards.

Forfar took the lead in the 19th minute after captain Michael Travis headed home Mark Millar’s corner at the back post.

The Loons weren’t ahead for long and just three minutes later Milne’s shot found its way to Mitch Megginson and he gleefully lashed past McCallum.

The trialist midfielder volleyed over while Ryan Strachan did the same at the other end with both sides beginning to carve out chances.

Marc Scott came closest to a second for Forfar in the first half however he could only fire wide from six yards.

Megginson was unlucky not to net again seven minutes before the break when his header was cleared off the line by Andy Munro.

The Loons did retake the lead just sixty second into the second half with another Millar corner; Scott McBride powering a header home on this occasion.

Shortly after the hour mark Jamie Masson rattled the crossbar with a fierce effort but just a minute later fellow substitute Paul McManus fired underneath McCallum to level the scores again.

With chances few and far between in the second half, there wasn’t much to write about until Matthew Aitken put Forfar ahead for the third time with ten minutes left; slotting through John McCafferty’s legs.

Jamie Buglass forced a good save from McCallum but it was Forfar who netted again when Aitken squared the ball for a trialist to bundle home at the near post.

Forfar Athletic: Trialist, Trialist, Jamie Bain, Trialist (Jamie Gill 70), Andy Munro, Michael Travis, Marc Scott (Trialist 80), Mark Millar, Jim Lister (Trialist 63), Ousman See (Matthew Aitken 58), Scott McBride

Subs not used: Michael Kennedy, Jason King (gk)

Cove Rangers: John McCafferty, Grant Campbell, Harry Milne (Jamie Buglass 80), Sam Burnett (Cameron Milne 66), Eric Watson, Darren Kelly, Dan Park (Jamie Masson 55), Ryan Strachan (Hamish McLeod 90), Mitch Megginson (Matthew McDonald 75), Connor Scully (Sam Robertson 67), Ryan Stott (Paul McManus 55)

Subs not used: Reigan Thomson, Stuart McKenzie (gk)

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)

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) 

Interview with Forfar Athletic defender Chris McLaughlin

Chris McLaughlin was delighted to help Forfar Athletic get back to winning ways and reckons it was one of his best performances as the Loons defeated Clyde 3-0.

The impressive left back is keen to help Gary Bollan’s side lift the League Two title and hopes his performances can secure him a new contract at parent club Ross County.

19 year old McLaughlin reckons displays such as Saturday’s are the true reflection of the Loons after last week’s derby defeat.

He said: “It was good to get the win, we needed to do that, especially with the result last week but then Arbroath ended up getting beat as well. In the two previous games we played brilliantly but then we had that slip up last week but got a lifeline so I’m happy with the result today, we’re back to the way we usually play.”

The defender was also pleased with his performance however he was gutted not to get on the scoresheet with a powerful effort cannoning off the post in the second half.

“I think that was one of the better games I’ve played; I could have scored one but it came back off the post, I thought it was coming straight back to me but these things happen, it’s a game of football so I just need to carry that on to next week’s performance as well.”

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McLaughlin also reckons that next week will be a tough match with both the Loons and Cowdenbeath still playing for something at this stage of the season.

“Cowdenbeath will be fighting for their lives but we’re fighting for promotion and the championship so that tells us the main achievement here, I only joined in January but that’s why I am here, to try to help the team win the title and hopefully we get the job done.”

“If Arbroath drop points, hopefully we get the win and that’s us but we just need to take it game by game and hopefully we keep that run of form up.”

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McLaughlin admits he is loving life at Station Park since joining in January but is also eying a new contact at the Premiership side with his current deal due to run out this summer.

“It’s been good, the boys are brilliant, I train on Thursdays and I make Tuesdays if I’m not up with Ross County but it’s great, especially if we’re playing football like that today, the boys are buzzing off it.”

“I’m waiting to find out if I get a new contract at County but if I have performances like that I’d say I’d be pushing in the gaffer’s head with the feedback Forfar give to him so hopefully it all works out in the end and I get a new contract at the end of the season.”