FORFAR Athletic found themselves playing second fiddle to free-scoring Arbroath in the latest local derby match at Station Park on Saturday (writes Alan Ducat).
Although there was little between the sides in terms of possession, the visitors were much more clinical when it came to chance taking and thoroughly deserved to take all three points.
Loons manager Dick Campbell accepted that the Lichties were the better side, but felt his players could have done better
“To lose four goals at home in a derby is very frustrating. We had 70% of the possession in the second half yet lost a further two goals.”
On what was a spring-like February afternoon at Station Park, Arbroath came close to making their mark on the game in the opening seconds, Marc McCallum getting down to save well from Colin Samuel after the home defence had been carved open.
Gradually the home side got their game together, and Ross Campbell set up Nicky Low to send a shot whizzing inches past the post.
Then a great free-flowing move by Forfar ended with Hilson picking out Chris Templeman, who wheeled and cracked a great shot which was saved by Darren Hill.
Back came Arbroath, and after McCallum had turned a Steve Dorris shot round the post for a corner, the opening goal arrived.
Paul Sheerin took the flag-kick, and ex-Loon Stuart Malcolm rose highest to nod down, his header having enough power to beat Ross Campbell at the keeper’s right-hand post.
The game continued to flow from end to end, and, when Nicky Low took a corner for Forfar on the right, the ball was cleared only as far as Joe Shaughnessy, who cracked for goal only for Darren Hill to block.
The visitors should have been two in front on the half hour mark when Colin Samuel found himself with a clear run on goal from just over the half-way line.
Alas, when he tried to screw the ball past the advancing Marc McCallum, but also succeeded in screwing it wide of target.
It was a glaring miss but the striker more than made up for it five minutes prior to the break, wheeling in a packed penalty area and rolling the ball into the net from ten yards
With Iain Campbell on for Michael Bolochoweckyj, Forfar came out for the second half with all guns blazing, but the Lichties defence was more than a match for all that the home side tried to throw at them.
The visitors harried and hassled and never gave Forfar a chance to build up any head of steam, with the result chances were few and far between.
Arbroath were also quite nippy on the break and duly went three up in the 75th minute when Lee Sibanda fastened on to a partial clearance by McCallum from a free-kick and fairly fizzed the ball high into the net.
That appeared to be that, but Forfar are not for giving up so easily.
In 80 minutes they reduced the leeway when substitute Martyn Fotheringham flashed the ball in off the post from a narrow angle.
Two minutes later and a great individual goal by Paul Sheerin wrapped up the points, the wide man riding three tackles before poking the ball past McCallum into the corner of the net.
The action continued right to the end, and twice Darren Hill had to produce fine saves to deny Nicky Low before Martyn Fotheringham dinked the ball over the keeper for Forfar’s second a minute from time.
At the end of an entertaining ninety minutes, few could argue with the result.
But Forfar aren’t far away and, if they can tighten up at the back, they will soon start picking up points.
The games come thick and fast in the coming few weeks.
As the Dispatch and Herald was going to press on Tuesday, Dumbarton were due to visit Station Park for the first of the rescheduled fixtures.
Saturday takes the Loons to East Fife, before an opportunity to avenge the derby defeat when Dick Campbell’s men head for Arbroath on Wednesday evening of next week.
Forfar: McCallum, Ross, Bolocheweckyj (Iain Campbell), Shaughnessy, McCulloch, Ross Campbell, Mowat (Byers), Low, Hilson, Templeman and Coyne (Fotheringham).
Arbroath - Hill, Innes, Malcolm, Wedderburn, Baxter (McAnespie), Falkingham (Gibson), Kerr, Sheerin, Samuel (Sibanda), Doris and Swankie.
Referee - John McKendrick; crowd - 794.