Dismay for Loons as Stranraer bite back

Forfar Athletic stay in the relegation play-off spot after Stranraer came from behind to make the long journey home with all three points with a 2-1 victory at Station Park.

Dick Campbell made two changes from last week’s thumping win over Dunfermline, Gavin Malin and Stuart Malcolm making way for Marvin Andrews and Gavin Swankie, with ex-Dundee winger Jamie McCluskey making an appearance on the bench as a trialist.

Dale Hilson in action on Saturday.

Dale Hilson in action on Saturday.

The Loons took the lead after just five minutes, a ball sent out wide to Gavin Swankie was swept into the box after he beat a defender and Chris Templeman nodded home despite Stranraer keeper’s best efforts to push it off the line.

Three minutes later Scott Robertson almost equalised but his effort flashed past the post whilst Gavin Swankie volleyed inches wide from a Dale Hilson cross.

Hilson and Paul McManus had efforts blocked in quick succession in the 17th minute, Templeman and Swankie combining to set up Hilson but his diving header was blocked by Mitchell and McManus’ follow up was diverted wide.

Hilson fired at Mitchell again before Stranraer equalised in the 18th minute, a scramble in the box ending in Jamie Longworth lashing the ball home.

No clear chances came for either side for 20 minutes after that until Chris Aitken decided to have a go from around 30 yards, his shot deceiving Darren Hill and curling into the goal with the aid of the wind.

This fired the away side up, with Andrew Stirling, Aitken and Mark Corcoran all going close whilst Darren Hill did well to stop a shot on the line.

HALF TIME: Forfar Athletic 1, Stranraer 2

Swankie came close again for the Loons 12 minutes into the second half, a long range effort palmed wide whilst Dale Hilson had a 20 yard free kick punched over the bar.

Stranraer had another two shots cleared off the line in the 69th minutes, a corner from Aitken evaded everyone and Iain Campbell had to head off the line before sub Sean Winter had his shot blocked by the foot of Mark Baxter.

Stirling had an excellent run end with a shot that flew wide of the mark in the 72nd minute, six minutes later Gavin Malin fired straight at the keeper who parried into the path of Gavin Swankie but he couldn’t control the ball and it was cleared.

Malin fired wide and Omar Kader headed past the post in the final minutes as the Loons struggled to look for an equaliser before the final whistle went.

Forfar Athletic: Darren Hill, Mark Baxter, Iain Campbell, Gary Fusco, Marvin Andrews, Darren Dods, James Dale (Gavin Malin 46), Dale Hilson (Omar Kader 72), Chris Templeman, Gavin Swankie, Paul McManus (Jamie McCluskey (T) 70). Subs not used: Ross Campbell, Neil McCabe, Rab Douglas (gk).

Stranraer: David Mitchell, David McGregor, Mark Docherty, Scott Robertson, Frank McKeown, Chris Aitken, Andrew Stirling (Steven Bell (T) 84), Grant Gallagher, Martin Grehan, Jamie Longworth (David McKenna 78), Mark Corcoran (Sean Winter 46). Subs not used: Ryan Borris, Adam Forde, Chris Fahey (gk).