Cruise to victory

AT THE DOUBLE: Kevin Byers about to round the goalkeeper before netting his second goal of the afternoon at Station Park on Saturday.'Picture by Chris Coutts, Forfar.
AT THE DOUBLE: Kevin Byers about to round the goalkeeper before netting his second goal of the afternoon at Station Park on Saturday.'Picture by Chris Coutts, Forfar.

FORFAR Athletic remain firmly on course to beat the drop into the Scottish third division, following a comfortable four-nil home victory in a controversial encounter with Albion Rovers on Saturday.

Referee David Somers had an afternoon to forget, as he flashed three red cards, went into double figures with his yellows and sent Albion Rovers boss Paul Martin to the stand.

The Loons were on cruise control by the break, enjoying a three-goal advantage against a visiting side that had already been reduced to nine men.

The second half became a bit of a non-event, as the referee went berserk with his cards, doing his level best to ruin the match as a spectacle.

Forfar continued to look for goals to boost their chances of staying up, and they did manage to grab a fourth before the end.

And that means a draw or better at Stenhousemuir this coming Saturday will make absolutely sure they avoid the dreaded play-offs.

Even a defeat may be good enough if Rovers cannot overcome Stirling Albion in their final fixture.

But, if Forfar lose and Rovers win, then it is Dick Campbell’s men who will be heading for a midweek trip to Elgin City in the first stage of the bid to stay in the second division.

As things stand, Forfar’s fate is in their own hands.

And, if they can repeat Saturday’s first half performance then they will have every chance of avoiding a nervy end to the current campaign.

Speaking after Saturday’s incident-packed encounter Dick Campbell said: “The worst now is a play-off.

“If you had offered me four-nil before I would have grabbed it with both hands.

“It is in our own hands now and we have all to play for on Saturday.”

Going into the Rovers game on Saturday past, the Loons really needed to make a positive start - and they did just that, grabbing the vital opener after three minutes.

Greg Paterson pulled off a great save to deny Albion’s Stevenson at one end and Forfar raced to the other end of the park, with Kevin Byers cutting in from the right and smashing a great shot high past the visiting keeper from the edge of the box.

Soon after a moment of madness saw Tony Stevenson being shown a straight red card for lashing out at Kevin Motion.

Forfar took command thereafter, and two quick-fire goals midway through the half saw them all but put the game to bed.

In 24 minutes, Greg Ross fastened on to a loose ball just inside the area and fired high past Derek Gaston for number two, and, three minutes later, Kevin Byers raced on to a defence-splitting pass from Greg Ross to round the keeper and roll home goal number three.

Worse was to follow for the visitors when Chris Boyle was sent packing for a late challenge on Michael Bolochweckyj.

Forfar, with a two-man advantage, bossed the second period, but found it difficult to add to their tally.

Chris Templeman saw a spot-kick saved by the goal-keeper after John Gemmell handled in the box, and the same player also hit the bar with a headed effort.

But, by this time, David Somers was booking players at will, and it was no surprise when he saw fit to send Dale Hilson packing for what he deemed a late challenge on the goalkeeper, despite the fact that the on-loan striker clearly won the ball!

If it was a dangerous tackle, why did the ref restart the game with an indirect free-kick?

Still, the decision didn’t put the Loons off their stride and substitute Bradley Coyne made absolutely sure of all three points with a low angled drive from just right of goal six minutes from the end,

So, it’s on to Ochilview on Saturday - for what, fingers crossed, will be the Loons final game of the 2011-2012 campaign.