All square in battle of the Athletics

Forfar v Dunfermline - a near thing for Forfar.
Forfar v Dunfermline - a near thing for Forfar.

Dunfermline Athletic 0

Forfar Athletic 0

Forfar gained a point on fourth place in the battle for the play-offs, with their first 0-0 draw in 111 games at a windy East End Park on Saturday against Dunfermline.

Manager Dick Campbell made three changes from the defeat to East Fife two weeks ago with Gavin Swankie, Darren Dods and Jamie McCluskey in for Martyn Fotheringham, Neil McCabe and Omar Kader.

The Pars started the better side, with Stephen Husband’s 30-yard effort swerving wide with the wind before Andy Geggan saw his shot fly miles wide.

After 18 minutes, the Loons had their first shot, the ever threatening Dale Hilson shooting from long range but firing his shot over the bar. Five minutes later Allan Smith should have put Dunfermline ahead, but his effort from inside the six yard box hit the side netting.

Forfar had another chance sent over the bar in the 25th minute, Gavin Swankie beating two defenders before blasting over from the edge of the box.

Dunfermline had the best chance of the game so far in the 37th minute. A Josh Falkingham corner was met by Andy Geggan but the Loons’ James Dale was on hand to hook the ball off the line. At the other end, Dale Hilson’s massive run from his own half looked like it had set up Chris Duggan for a great chance but the linesman deemed Duggan beat the defence too early and was offside.

Half-time: Dunfermline Athletic 0, Forfar Athletic 0.

Dunfermline again had the first chance of the half. Ryan Thomson did well to get to the byline and send in a low cross. Ryan Williamson could only blast wide.

Mark Baxter set up Dale Hilson four minutes later for another run at the defence that ended with the ball bouncing up as he went to shoot and he sliced it wide into the stand.

In the 57th minute Hilson ran at the defence yet again, beating Lewis Martin on the left as he reached the byline but his cross surprised Omar Kader who didn’t have time to react properly and he somehow headed over from very close range.

A minute later Forfar hit the bar; a cross from Swankie was met by Duggan and when the ball came back off the crossbar, The Loons forced Ryan Scully into a great double save before the ball was cleared for a corner that came to nothing.

On the hour mark Danny Grainger had an attempt from the edge of the box on target, if the target was the corner flag. Williamson fired wide again from a Whittle cross four minutes later before Swankie forced Scully into a great save, a Hilson corner being cleared out to him and his shot from outside the box dipped and swerved in the wind, Scully having to be at his best to push it away.

Ross Forbes had a free kick 30 yards out but his set piece was too high and landed on the roof of the net.

In the last minute Forfar should have had a penalty. Ross Campbell and Ryan Scully both attempted to get the ball in the box. Scully looked to have taken Campbell out rather than the ball but referee Greg Aitken said it wasn’t a penalty.

Forfar Athletic: Darren Hill, Gary Fusco, Mark Baxter, Stuart Malcolm, Darren Dods, James Dale, Jamie McCluskey (Omar Kader 43), Chris Duggan (Ross Campbell 81), Chris Templeman, Gavin Swankie, Dale Hilson (Gavin Malin 88). Subs not used: Paul McLellan, Marvin Andrews, Keith Gibson and Ross Salmon (gk).

Dunfermline Athletic: Ryan Scully, Ryan Williamson, Danny Grainger (Callum Morris 61), Jonathan Page, Lewis Martin, Andy Geggan, Alex Whittle, Stephen Husband (Shaun Byrne 70), Allan Smith (Ross Forbes 76), Josh Falkingham, Ryan Thomson. Not used: Ross Millen, Faissal El Bakhtaoui, Lawrence Shankland, Ryan Goodfellow.