HAVING only been inched out of runners-up spot in the Scottish second division, Forfar Athletic will now concentrate on a bid to take a further step up the senior soccer ladder.
Lying rock bottom of the third flight just three seasons ago, Dick Campbell’s Loons are only 360 minutes away from competing with the likes of Dundee, Raith Rovers Falkirk and Queen of the South next campaign.
Standing between them and a place in the promotion play-off final against Cowdenbeath or near-neighbours Brechin City is Ayr United.
Ideally, Forfar would have preferred to have snatched second place ahead of the Honest Men to secure a midweek trip followed by a home joust on Saturday.
Alas, they were edged out in their bid by goal-difference, and that now means they will entertain Ayr United on Wednesday evening (tonight), before travelling to Somerset Park for the return leg on Saturday afternoon (3 pm kick-off).
Forfar went into their final league game of the campaign against Dumbarton in the shadow of The Rock on Saturday, seeking a victory and hoping that Ayr United would slip up at Brechin City.
Things went their way at the Glebe, with Brechin City securing their own play-off spot with a narrow one-nil win, but Forfar couldn’t get the win at New Strathclyde Stadium, having instead to settle for a nil-nil share.
“I was disappointed with our final passes in the box, but we’ve had a fantastic season and now we are all looking forward to the play-offs,” commented Dick Campbell.
The Loons went into the game at Dumbarton minus the suspended Chris Templeman and keeping other players on the cusp of a suspension under wraps.
There wasn’t much between the sides throughout the ninety minutes, Andy Geggan and Mark Gilhaney coming close for the home side and Stephen Grindlay doing well to keep a Barry Sellars shot out.
Forfar goalkeeper Neil Duffy saved well to deny Pat Walker and Joe McShane, while Dale Hilson wasn’t that far off target with a header from a Ross cross.
But, in the end, a no-scoring draw was the best Forfar could muster on the day, and, while they finished the season on the 59-point mark, alongside Ayr United, it was Honest Men who grabbed what is often regarded as an advantageous away trip first in the opening leg of the knock-out stage, by virtue of a slightly better goal difference.
But, on their day, Forfar have proved they’re a match for any side in the division, and they can go into the game on Wednesday in confident mood.
Hopefully, they can gain enough of an advantage to take west with them on Saturday, and hopefully the local community will turn out in big numbers at Station Park to give them all the backing they can.
The admission prices are as follows:- stand: adults, £13, senior citizens and juveniles, £7; ground: adults, £12; senior citizens and juveniles, £6.
Season tickets are valid, utilising voucher 28.
Excellent value hospitality packages are available for the game at a cost of £25 for non season ticket holders, £15 for season ticket holders.
If you are interested contact David McGregor on 07871165689.
Looking forward to the away leg on Saturday it is hoped that a reasonable support will be making the journey to Ayrshire.
The Supporters Club is laying on a coach. The cost will be between £12/£15, dependant on numbers travelling, leaving the Myre car park at 10.30 am.
To book a seat contact any of the following mobile numbers – 07803208502 or 07753137778 - or hand your name into the Loons Direct shop or the secretary’s office at the game on Wednesday evening.