Loons have their eyes on the prize

BACK ON TOP: Forfar Athletic make it three to take a 3-1 win over Stranraer on Saturday. 'Christopher Coutts Photography

BACK ON TOP: Forfar Athletic make it three to take a 3-1 win over Stranraer on Saturday. 'Christopher Coutts Photography

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forfar Athletic have taken themselves three points clear of fifth place Arbroath to stay in the top four, writes Sarah McLean.

A crowd of 448 made the most of the good weather to see if the Loons could keep their winning momentum after their 4-1 victory over Albion Rovers on Tuesday.

CELEBRATIONS: Gavin Malin celebrates with his teammates as he takes the lead against Stranraer.'Christopher Coutts Photography

CELEBRATIONS: Gavin Malin celebrates with his teammates as he takes the lead against Stranraer.'Christopher Coutts Photography

Three goals in the first half was enough to see the Loons take three points against Stephen Aitken’s Stranraer though the visitors managed to pull a goal back just after the hour mark.

Dick Campbell’s side started strongly and looked a threat from the outset.

An Iain Campbell corner was met by Chris Templeman in the second minute but the striker just missed the right of the post from the box.

Two minutes later Gavin Swankie tried his luck from the left but Stranraer’s trialist ‘keeper Colin Stewart blocked the shot well.

On the 10 minute mark Stranraer looked to have a decent opportunity but the Christopher Aitken miss did little to trouble Forfar ‘keeper Darren Hill.

Seven minutes later the deadlock was broken when Gavin MALIN took his second goal of the week with a superb drive 18 yards out with an assist from Omar Kader.

Looking sharp, Forfar came close again three minutes later but Swankie proved it was not his day when he missed again.

On the half hour mark, Loons captain Mark McCulloch was booked for hand ball.

Eight minutes later Malin could have taken a second goal but his header was caught by Stewart.

With two minutes to go before half time man of the match KADER swept a Swankie cross home from the edge of the six-yard box.

On the stroke of half time, Stranraer looked sunk when TEMPLEMAN effortlessly headed in an Iain Campbell cross.

As the second half got underway Forfar looked hungry for more and had a clear cut chance in the 48th minute.

Michael Bolochoweckyj met a Swankie corner but his right-footed drive sailed over the bar.

Stranraer boss Aitken made two changes in quick succession when Ryan Borris was replaced by Darren Gribben and Lloyd Kinnaird was replaced by Robert Love in the hope he could change their fate.

While Stranraer seemed to pick up, Forfar seemed to deflate and it was not long before the visitors pulled one back in the 63rd minute.

Craig Malcolm took his opportunity and knocked the ball past Hill from the centre of the penalty area.

Two minutes later Charlie King responded with a strong header but was denied by Stewart.

With neither side having many opportunities as the half wore on, disaster struck when Bolochoweckyj was dismissed for a foul on Michael Moore.

With 10 minutes left to go Forfar struggled to hold onto their 3-1 lead with Stranraer’s opportunities coming thick and fast. However, ‘keeper Hill was quick to deny their advances.