Loons pick up point in uninspiring clash

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Forfar Athletic gained their first point in three games on a very wet and windy Saturday with an uninspiring 1-1 draw at home to Airdrieonians.

Dick Campbell was forced into three changes from last week’s 2-1 defeat at East Fife, with Iain Campbell, Mark Baxter and Dale Hilson being put on the bench, Neil McCabe, James Dale and Ross Campbell taking their place in the starting XI.

Ross Campbell under pressure from Airdrieonians.

Ross Campbell under pressure from Airdrieonians.

The game started off with both sides struggling to gain the upper hand in the horrendous conditions, a mixture of rain and hail combined with a wind you were more likely to see at Gayfield.

The Loons almost opened the scoring in the ninth minute, Martyn Fotheringham doing well to get to the touchline before sending a cross in that ex-Forfar keeper Grant Adam caught just before Ross Campbell could get his head to it, a certain goal if he did.

Jim Lister blasted over for the Diamonds a minute later before Campbell had another chance, James Dale firing in a cross that was deflected into his path and he volleyed towards goal, but Adam caught his effort.

Airdrie started to get more dangerous as the game settled with Liam Watt firing low into Rab Douglas’ arms before Caolan McAleer saw his shot flash past the post in the 24th minute.

Three minutes later The Loons took the lead, Fotheringham crossing into the box after his corner was headed back out, a scramble in the box ended in Grant Adam punching out and Omar Kader volleying from outside the box into the corner of the
net.

In the 37th minute Ross Campbell could have doubled the advantage, beating a defender after a long through ball by Gavin Swankie but his shot went wide.

McAleer and Keigan Parker went close again for the visitors in the closing minutes of the half as they looked for an equaliser.

Half-time: Forfar Athletic 1, Airdrieonians 1

Straight from kick off Forfar went on the attack, ending in Gavin Swankie’s cross being deflected towards goal, unfortunately it hit the sidenetting and the corner came to nothing.

Fotheringham came close in the 62nd minute, his free kick just outside the box going into Adam’s arms after a deflection.

Stuart Malcolm headed over before a minute later the Diamonds equalised. Caolan McAleer beat the home defence on the touchline before squaring for Jim Lister, who poked home for his fourth of the season.

Forfar almost took the lead again after 69 minutes, Kader setting up Martyn Fotheringham, whose shot from the edge of the penalty area having to be excellenty tipped over by Grant Adam.

Play slowed down after that, with both sides not really getting anywhere until the 83rd minute when Fotheringham set up Gavin Swankie, his shot from a tight angle being swept off the line by the away defence.

Airdrie cleared off the line twice more in a goalmouth scramble in the 86th minute, from Stuart Malcolm and then Dale Hilson, who was making his 100th Loons appearance, all on loan from Dundee United.

Gary Fusco fired over from a Malcolm knockdown in what was to be the final chance of the game in the 89th
minute.

The Loons are now two points behind fifth placed Brechin City after City lost 2-1 away to Rangers in what was reportedly a great effort by the away side.

Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas, Neil McCabe (Mark Baxter 78), Gary Fusco, Martyn Fotheringham, Stuart Malcolm, Darren Dods, Omar Kader, James Dale (Iain Campbell 78), Chris Templeman (Dale Hilson 40), Gavin Swankie, Ross Campbell. Subs not used: Marvin Andrews, Jamie McCluskey, Gavin Malin, Darren Hill (gk)

Airdrieonians: Grant Adam, Ross Gilmour, Jamie Bain, Liam Watt, Grant Evans, Stefan Milojevic Bjekovic, Caolan McAleer, Nathan Blockley, Jim Lister, Keigan Parker (Liam Coogans 90), Patrick Boyle. Subs not used: Nicky Cadden, Ricki Lamie, Reece Glackin, Lewis Coult, Scott Stewart, Chris McCluskey (gk)