Frustrating week for luckless Loons

TWO-GOAL HERO: Bradley Coyne was Forfar Athletic's goal scoring hero in midweek, hitting two goals in the home draw against Stirling Albion.
TWO-GOAL HERO: Bradley Coyne was Forfar Athletic's goal scoring hero in midweek, hitting two goals in the home draw against Stirling Albion.

IT has been a somewhat frustrating week for Forfar Athletic Football Club (writes Alan Ducat).

Last Tuesday evening there was doom in the gloom as the Loons threw away a two-goal advantage late on in the game at home to basement side Stirling Albion.

Then, on Saturday, a heavy overnight frost put paid to any hopes of the home joust with Dumbarton going ahead, local ref William Ferguson taking but a few seconds to deem the Station Park surface unplayable.

Back to Tuesday night, though, and it was the fog that was the biggest headache for the fans who attended the rescheduled match at home to Stirling Albion.

For those in the stand it was difficult to make out what was going on at the mart side at times.

But Dick Campbell’s men didn’t seem to mind and played some of their best football of the season.

It came as no surprise when they took the lead through Bradley Coyne in the 20th minute and, when the same player made it two on the hour mark, it appeared a case of just how many.

But the visitors had other ideas, and despite playing second fiddle to the hosts for much of the game, they pulled a goal back twelve minutes from time and snatched a dramatic leveller in the dying minutes.

The manager went into the game with the same starting line-up that upset league leaders Cowdenbeath the previous Saturday.

Stirling made a bright start and it took a great save from Marc McCallum to deny Scott Davidson after Darren Smith had sprung the offside trap.

But gradually Forfar got on top and they were soon creating opportunities for themselves.

First Dale Hilson shot wide after good build-up play and then Ross Campbell twice forced the keeper into saves from close-range efforts.

It appeared only a matter of time before the hosts opened their account and the goal duly arrived in 20 minutes, although I haven’t the foggiest as to the build-up.

Greg Ross, it appears, provided the pass which sent Bradley Coyne through to drill a shot low past the keeper.

Seconds later Coyne had the chance to make it two when he raced in on goalkeeper Reidford.

The custodian stood tall and blocked the ball, and there were loud appeals for a spot-kick when, in the resulting melee, Chris Templeman appeared to be upended.

Alas, the ref ‘mist’ the incident and waved play on.

Coyne and Hilson both had chances to add to Forfar’s tally before the break, while, at the other end, Joe Shaughnessy smashed the ball against the bar with a goal-line clearance after McCallum had taken the sting out of a Darren Smith drive.

Forfar came close yet again just before the break, a McCulloch drive taking a wicked deflection off Thom and bringing out the best of Reidford.

As they had done in the first period, Albion came out of the blocks quickly, with McLeish shooting just wide and then McCallum parrying a Dillon drive for Bolochoweckyz to clear.

It didn’t take long for Forfar to get back into their rhythm and, in 60 minutes they were deservedly two in front, Bradley Coyne on hand to supply the finishing touch to a Chris Templeman cross.

That should have been that - and Forfar had chances to put the game out of reach of the visitors.

But they couldn’t find the net for a third time and were made to pay.

In a rare foray up the park, Stirling’s Lewis Bonar hit the ball into the danger area and substitute McSorley was on hand to clip the ball home.

Then, in the 88th minute, Albion made one final effort to get something from the game - and duly grabbed an unlikely leveller.

Forfar failed to clear a corner kick from the right and Davidson was on hand to volley home from inside the box.

It was a real sickener for a Loons side that had dominated for long spells in the game.

But that’s football, and was a real disappointment to find the temperatures plummeting on the Friday night to end any hopes of the Dumbarton match going ahead on Saturday afternoon.

Next up for the Loons is a an early opportunity to show they are a far better side than Stirling Albion when they visit the Forthbank Stadium this coming Saturday.

The following Saturday (February 11) there is a home derby with promotion contenders Arbroath to look forward to.