Dale hopes to win spot

Pic credit: Christopher Coutts.
Pic credit: Christopher Coutts.
  • James Dale opens scoring after Iain Campbell misses penalty
  • Gavin Malin seals the points after 78 minutes
  • Tactical switch from manager reaps rewards
  • Forfar move above Brechin into third
  • Loons could go joint top with win against Peterhead

Goalscorer James Dale hopes his star turn at Cappielow helps him earn a starting berth in Dick Campbell’s next starting line-up.

Dale scored the opener in the Loons’ magnificent 2-0 win against Greenock Morton in his first start since November, with fellow midfielder Gavin Malin adding the second 12 minutes before full time.

The young Englishman was delighted with a “fantastic” win that pulled Forfar to three points behind the League One leaders with a game in hand.

Dale said: “It’s a great win, a fantastic win and we’re hoping to push on from now and keep on getting up the table.

“I’m hoping for a run of games now, that’s my first game in a couple of months. It was important for me to get a start but it was more important for the team to get three points.”

The gaffer made three changes after last week’s 1-0 loss to Ayr United with Dale, Malin and Mark Baxter replacing Dale Hilson, Stephen Husband and Omar Kader.

It was important for me to get a start but it was more important for the team to get three points.

James Dale

Baxter started at left back with Iain Campbell moving into midfield alongside Derek Young; Dale and Malin played in front of that duo in support of Gavin Swankie and Chris Templeman making it a narrow 4-2-2-2.

Morton started off with the first chance when Declan McManus dragged his shot wide before Templeman laid the ball off for Swankie, who also fired wide from a tight angle.

McManus went close again in the second minute, nodding former Loon Jamie McCluskey’s cross straight at Rab Douglas.

McManus then had a third chance in a relentless opening period, racing clear of the Loons’ defence but his parried effort was cleared by Stuart Malcolm.

Malin blasted wide before Stefan McCluskey’s header was touched over the bar.

Forfar were awarded a penalty in the 24th minute, Sean Crighton fouling Templeman as they contested a header.

Campbell stepped up to take the spot kick and though Gaston saved the effort superbly, he couldn’t stop Dale firing home the rebound.

The Loons’ gameplan was working a treat as their well-organised side frustrated the hosts, with Morton enjoying lots of possession but doing very little with it in front of a very well-drilled defence.

McCluskey fired McManus’ knock down into Douglas’ arms before Thomas O’Ware fired miles over the bar.

Just after the hour mark Baxter and Swankie combined to release Malin but when the midfielder was in on goal Gaston palmed the effort away.

But Malin got the better of him a minute later, playing a one-two with Swankie before side footing the ball home for his third of the season.

McManus could have grabbed a consolation for the Greenock side in the last few minutes but Darren Dods made a great tackle.

Next up for Forfar was a game against Peterhead at Balmoor last night (Tuesday) before they host fellow title challengers Stranraer on Saturday.

greenock morton (4-4-2): Gaston; Kilday, Crighton, Milojevic, Russell; J McCluskey, Pepper (Forbes, 62), O’Ware, S McCluskey (MacDonald, 62); McManus, Caldwell (Scullion, 75).

Subs not used: Adam, Miller, Lamie.

forfar athletic (4-2-2-2): Douglas; Travis, Malcolm, Dods, Baxter; Young, Campbell; Dale (Kader, 67), Malin; Swankie (Fotheringham, 87), Templeman (Denholm, 83).

Subs not used: King, Husband, Dunlop, Hilson.