Biggest win of the season keeps Loons in title battle

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Forfar Athletic kept pace with fellow title-chasers Stranraer and Morton with a 4-0 romp over basement club Stirling Albion.

Dale Hilson opened the scoring with a sublime strike in the first half against the run of play, before Chris Smith scored an own goal just a minute later to give the Loons a 2-0 lead from nowhere.

Omar Kader added the third with a smart finish before Chris Templeman completed the scoring with a stunning header.

The win keeps Forfar third on equal points with Morton and one behind Stranraer.

It was the Loons’ third successive victory as Dick Campbell’s side look to win every game remaining in this incredible championship scramble.

The manager was delighted with the win.

He said: “I often think when the wind is like that you should cancel the game. I’m really not bothered about how we play, it’s about three points at this stage.

“With four goals scored and none against, we’ve sent a clear message. Remember we’ve got three big players not playing and we’ve had to change things around a wee bit. We’ve got a couple of niggling injuries but we’ll rest up now and focus on Stenhousemuir next week.

“I’m extremely happy, that’s 57 points we’ve got with five games to go. Whatever happens, the three of us at the top have shown a clean pair of heels to everybody at the back of us.

“That’s us almost confirmed in the play-offs but I’m not concerned about that.”

There were two changes from last week’s derby win, with Gavin Malin and Michael Dunlop coming in for Derek Young and the suspended Michael Travis.

There were also four of the impressive under 20s squad on the bench, the freescoring pair of Kerr Hay and Cameron Clark along with Jason King and defender Michael Kennedy.

Stirling had the first couple of chances, with Andy Stirling seeing a shot touched wide before Smith put Sandy Cunningham’s free kick over the bar.

The opener came in the 19th minute with Forfar’s first real opportunity, Martyn Fotheringham with a great pass allowing Hilson to race clear before lobbing Callum Reidford.

Less than a minute later Danny Denholm raced to the byline before cutting the ball back for Malin, the midfielder took aim but his shot took a touch off a defender and flew over.

From Fotheringham’s corner, Dunlop headed the ball goalward before Albion defender Smith turned it past Reidford.

Templeman fired low at Stirling’s sub keeper Cameron Binnie three minutes into the second half before fellow half time sub Omar Kader saw his shot inside the box blocked.

In the 51st minute Templeman laid the ball off for Fotheringham, whose long range effort was inches away from going in.

In the 71st minute it was three for the Loons, a great ball from Hilson allowed Kader to race towards goal, slotting home under Binnie.

Dunlop and Iain Campbell both hit the bar before Templeman delivered the coup de grace in the 88th minute, heading home superbly from Stephen Husband’s cross.

Next up for Forfar is a trip to Ochilview Park to face Stenhousemuir where the Loons will look to make it four wins from four against the Warriors.

Forfar Athletic: Douglas, Baxter, Campbell, Dunlop, Dods, Malin (Dale 64), Denholm (Kader 46), Fotheringham (Husband 64), Templeman, Swankie, Hilson.

Subs not used: Kennedy, Hay, Clark, King

Stirling Albion: Reidford (Binnie 46), McGeachie, Forsyth, Robertson, Cummins, Smith, Hamilton (Johnston 71), Comrie, Coult, Stirling, Cunningham (Smith 80)

Subs not used: Davidson, Sinclair, Herron