A LAST-GASP home defeat at the hands of Airdrie United on Boxing Day fairly put the wind up Forfar Athletic’s hopes of clawing their way out of the Scottish second division relegation area (writes Alan Ducat).
The Loons now go first footing at nearby Brechin City on Monday, January 2, sitting second bottom of the table, only two points clear of Stirling Albion, who have a game in hand.
More importantly a five-point gap has opened up between Dick Campbell’s men and the third-bottom side East Fife.
It just seems that the Loons can’t buy a league win at the moment - their last success coming away back in mid-September when they defeated Stirling Albion by four goals to two at the Forthbank Stadium.
Admittedly, the indifferent weather has not helped the Forfar cause of late - a mixture of deep frost and biting gale-force winds knocking out vital matches.
Saturday’s fare survived, but it must have been touch and go.
And, having built up a comfortable two-goal lead playing with the wind, it looked as if a much needed victory was just round the corner.
But Airdrie United had other ideas and delivered a Boxing Day knock-out blow with two goals in three minutes just before the break, to put them firmly on the ascendancy.
There wasn’t much between the sides as the wind strengthened and conditions deteriorated in the second period, but Forfar’s hopes were further dashed when Chris Hegarty (pictured right) was flashed a straight red for a reckless tackle on Sean Lynch.
Then, just when it looked as if the home side would escape with a share of the spoils, Airdrie United grabbed a late, late scrambled winner.
Forfar boss Dick Campbell was naturally disappointed to lose all three points at home.
He felt the damage was one just before the break.
“We lost two very soft goals,” he commented.
“I felt confident before the game that we could go on a wee run, but that’s us almost rock bottom now.
“It seems that every time we play Airdrie United there are a lot of goals in the game.
“I was very disappointed in the sending off, although I was really happy with our performance in the second half, considering the conditions.”
The Forfar manager felt his side was hard done by some controversial decisions late on in the game.
“However, I am making excuses, and when the ball comes into the box we don’t defend it properly.
“I am disappointed that we came out of the game with nothing because I felt the players applied themselves really well.
“We caused them more problems than they caused us in the second period, so I am gutted that we got nothing from the game.
“We were in control of the game playing with ten men and our goalie has hardly touched the ball.”
That’s Jamie Langfield away back to Aberdeen after his brief loan spell, but the manager is working away behind the scenes in a bid to strengthen the side in the January transfer window.
He said that he hopes to have two new faces in the squad soon, although he was giving very little away in terms of names.
However, the home support were suggesting on Saturday past that Dale Hilson could be coming back to the club for a second loan spell, while Joe Shaughnessy and Nicky Low will be at Station Park until the end of the season.