A derby disaster for the Loons

Forfar Athletic fell out of the Second Division play-off spots after losing 4-2 in a thrilling game to Angus rivals Arbroath at Station Park on Saturday, writes Lee Smith.

The visitors took the lead after just five minutes when poor defending allowed Colin Hamilton to fire in a low cross for Steven Doris to stab home from six yards.

Forfar barely threatened in the first 20 minutes, with Martyn Fotheringham and Iain Campbell both having poor free kicks go wide, meanwhile Doris almost grabbed a second for himself and the Red Lichties but saw his free kick well held by former team-mate Darren Hill.

Arbroath were dealt a blow after 23 minutes when experienced midfielder Brian Kerr turned awkwardly on the pitch and went down injured, Kerr being stretchered off to be replaced by Scott Robertson.

Dick Campbell’s side equalised with half an hour gone after Omar Kader spotted Gavin Swankie’s run, threaded the ball to him and Swankie’s cross found Danny Denholm who flicked the ball over the head of Michael Travis and slotted past Scott Morrison.

In the 42nd minute Forfar came close to scoring after they were given a free kick in the middle of the Arbroath half, Euan Smith getting himself stupidly booked for blocking the attempt at a quick free kick, the ball ended up out with Danny Denholm and his cross was caught by Templeman’s chest, with Templeman attempting an overhead kick, his goal bound effort being tipped over by Morrison.

The second half started off with Forfar looking more threatening, Gavin Swankie and Gavin Malin both seeing deflected shots saved by Morrison in the first ten minutes. The Loons took the lead in the 54th minute when Swankie grabbed his second assist of the day when he placed a through ball to Chris Templeman who ran clear of the defence and slotted past the keeper, despite Michael Travis’ best efforts to get back to stop him.

The joy of being in front lasted barely a minute as Arbroath went straight up the park from kick off and left back Colin Hamilton beat players in the box before lashing the ball past Darren Hill, much to the delight of the large travelling support.

Forfar almost took the lead again two minutes later when Omar Kader’s cross found Templeman at the far post, but his header was pushed away by the keeper. Arbroath made their second sub of the day when Euan Smith went off and Daniel Rennie came on in his place.

Darren Hill almost handed his former employers a goal on the hour mark when he rushed out of his goal to try and stop an Arbroath player before he could shoot, but the ball ended up on the head of Paul Sheerin, but his header was cleared off the line by Stephen Tulloch with Hill miles out of his goal. Ross Chisholm was then booked for throwing the ball away after giving away a foul. The Loons brought on loanees Jordon Brown and Willie Robertson in quick succession for Omar Kader and Martyn Fotheringham.

Arbroath player/manager Paul Sheerin has been looking for his 100th career goal for a while, and he almost scored, albeit at the wrong end, as he got in the way of Hamilton’s clearance and the ball trickled wide to Sheerin’s relief. Derek Holmes came off for Arbroath, to be replaced by Graham Bayne.

With 18 minutes left of the match, Arbroath took the lead again, Michael Travis leaping to nod home Sheerin’s corner to undeservedly put them 3-2 up, with Darren Hill being booked for his protests. Charlie King came on in place of Gavin Malin three minutes later.

The Red Lichties wrapped up the game in the dying minutes, Paul Sheerin was afforded a lot of space in the middle of the park and his effort from long range curled past the keeper for his 100th career goal.

Forfar now slip to fifth place in the league, Arbroath climbing above them with this victory and going three points clear, the Loons have a game in hand over them fortunately.

Forfar Athletic: Hill, McCulloch, I. Campbell, Faeroe, Tulloch, Malin (King 75), Kader (Brown 62), M Fotheringham (W Robertson 63), Templeman, Swankie, Denholm. Subs Not Used: G. Fotheringham, Salmon (gk).

Arbroath: Morrison, Baxter, Hamilton, Kerr (S. Robertson 23), Travis, Keddie, Smith (Rennie 58), Chisholm, Holmes (Bayne 66), Doris, Sheerin. Subs Not Used: Sibanda, Bullock (gk).