Forfar Athletic’s stuttering form continued after they slumped to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Arbroath on Saturday, writes Lee Smith.
The Loons fielded two new signings, Aberdeen loanee Jordon Brown, whose loan spell last season was cut short by a horrific cruciate ligament injury, and ‘keeper Darren Hill, released from the Gayfield side earlier in the week.
Arbroath had most of the possession and chances in the early stages with Graham Bayne heading straight at Hill in the first 60 seconds. The homesters took the lead after seven minutes when a stramash in the box ended in the ball breaking to Lee Sibanda, and he lashed it into the net.
Arbroath almost extended their lead in the 14th minute when Steven Doris forced an excellent save from the ‘keeper. From the resulting corner, left back Colin Hamilton headed wide.
Three minutes later Forfar were made to pay for their slackness when Ross Chisholm broke through the defence and floated in a cross that was headed home by Bayne.
With five minutes to go in the first half, Lee Sibanda was booked for a foul on Martyn Fotheringham, despite it being committed by Mark Baxter, referee David Somers failing to notice his error.
Forfar had an excellent chance to pull one back 60 seconds later when Chisholm fouled Willie Robertson in a dangerous position, but Iain Campbell hit the wall with his attempt and it was cleared.
Player-manager Paul Sheerin and Graham Bayne joined Sibanda in the book before half time, Sheerin for dissent, and Bayne for an elbow on Martyn Fotheringham. From the free kick which followed the Bayne foul, Jordon Brown squandered his shot.
At half time, Danny Denholm went off injured and defender Stephen Tulloch came on in his place. Dale Hilson saw his volley blocked by a defender from Fotheringham’s corner in the 50th minute, and Arbroath broke up the park, with Doris running clear from a through ball, but Darren Hill did well to rush out and clear the ball.
Arbroath made sure of the three points in the 56th minute when more poor defending allowed Ross Chisholm to have a shot which was fumbled by Hill. Graham Bayne poked home a second on his debut.
On the hour mark the Red Lichties’ Mark Baxter was replaced by Scott Robertson.
Forfar then had a perfectly fine goal chalked off after the ball was played in from the byeline back to Chris Templeman who nodded into the goal, but the stand side assistant ruled him to be offside.
Templeman was replaced by Ross Campbell, who set up a chance almost instantly.
Gavin Swankie played the ball to him, before he threaded it through to Jordon Brown, who skied his shot over.
Paul Currie then replaced Ross Chisholm for Arbroath.
The Loons were awarded a penalty in the 70th minute after Willie Robertson weaved his way into the box before being bundled over by Brian Kerr. Iain Campbell stepped up to slot home his fourth penalty of the season and give Forfar a slim lifeline.
Stephen Tulloch almost pulled another goal back when his header from Iain Campbell’s corner forced Tony Bullock into a good save. Gavin Malin replaced Martyn Fotheringham as the Loons’ final substitution.
With 10 minutes left Forfar were reduced to 10 men when David Somers adjudged Willie Robertson’s challenge on Colin Hamilton to be worthy of a straight red. Ross Campbell also picked up a booking before full time.
Arbroath: Bullock, Baxter (Scott Robertson 61), Malcolm, Keddie, Hamilton, Sibanda, Chisholm (Currie 70), Kerr, Sheerin, Doris, Bayne (Holmes 87). Substitutes not used: Morrison and Rennie.
Forfar: Hill, Robertson, McCulloch, Faeroe, Iain Campbell, Hilson, Fotheringham (Malin 74), Brown, Denholm (Tulloch 62), Templeman (Ross Campbell 68), Swankie. Substitutes not used: Hamilton and King.