Gaffer bewildered by penalty decision as Forfar lose 2-0 at Ayr

Pic credit Christopher Coutts.
Pic credit Christopher Coutts.

Forfar Athletic boss Dick Campbell was gutted to see his side lose 2-0 to Ayr United in League One on Saturday after two late goals.

Scott McLaughlin grabbed both goals in the last five minutes, the latter from a controversial penalty, to inflict Forfar’s first league defeat.

And the Loons gaffer was mystified at the referee’s decision to award Ayr a spot kick for a perceived foul on Alan Forrest.

Campbell said: “I thought the referee had a magnificent game but where he got the penalty from is beyond me.

“The boy’s lost control of the ball and he says he was tripped.

“I didn’t think it was a penalty kick, never in a million years. But that’s football for you.”

Dick believes there were positives in his side’s play that hint of something much greater to come from the players that deservedly defeated Dunfermline 2-0 just a week previously, but admitted there were no excuses for the loss at Somerset Park - with the team’s defending particularly at fault.

However the manager did not believe the game warranted a 2-0 win for Ayr.

He continued: “I’m very disappointed with the goals we lost. We’ve had about seven chances maybe. We’ve threatened up at the other end, they kick it up right up the middle and we don’t win it. The boy McLaughlin goes and scores a good goal. Then we lose a penalty kick and you’re looking at it and saying ‘Ayr United won 2-0.’ I wouldn’t say it was a mugging, you can’t defend like that. I wouldn’t have been unhappy with a share of the spoils.

“It showed a clear message to people that Forfar can play but I didn’t think we played very well, there’s more to come from us.

“I didn’t think it was a 2-0 and anybody who was at the game would agree me with on that no doubt.

“I’m really disappointed because with 10 minutes to go we’re sitting at 0-0 and we’re really thinking we’re going to win. We were the team in the ascendancy. But congratulations to them, they’ve scored two and we haven’t.”

The manager also commented that star players Dale Hilson and Gavin Swankie, who have been in excellent form so far, were not up to par.

He added: “Hilson was a shadow of himself, Swankie was a shadow of himself. There are no excuses whatsoever.

“I’ve got a reserve game against Arbroath in mid-week and I’m needing that for a lot of players.”

Meanwhile Forfar Athletic officials have confirmed that their new hospitality complex will be officially opened ahead of this Saturday’s game with Greenock Morton.

The complex, which was used for the first time at the opening home game with Dunfermline last week, will receive its official opening at a short ceremony led by legendary manager Doug Houston.

It was Houston’s 1983/84 Second Division-winning outfit that inspired the name of the 1984 Lounge, which is open to all supporters on match days.

The six figure cost of the project has been totally funded without a loan facility and club officials are rightly proud of the completed project.

The club directors decided to theme the naming of the complex around the magnificent achievement 30 years ago when the club finally, 99 years after they had been formed, won their first ever national league title with the, at the time, record breaking run under the stewardship of Houston.

There are hospitality lounges also named after Sam Smith, chairman in the late seventies and eighties; Ian McPhee, club captain of the 1984 team and the Loons’ record appearance holder; club legends Stewart Kennedy and Archie Knox and manager Houston.

Houston and McPhee will be on hand on Saturday to conduct the naming ceremony, which will begin at 12.45 p.m. - any supporter wishing to attend is more than welcome.

The pair will be visiting the 1984 Lounge prior to kick-off to meet with supporters enjoying a pre-match refreshment.