THERE were goals aplenty at Station Park on Saturday when Forfar Athletic defeated Stirling Albion four-three in a thrilling match (writes Sarah McLean).
Manager Dick Campbell made three changes to the line-up that was defeated three-nil by Airdrie the previous weekend.
Joe Shaughnessy, Bradley Coyne and Chris Templeman all rejoined the starting eleven while Craig Wilson and Kevin Byers started from the bench.
The match got off to a lacklustre start with neither team dominating.
However, it didn’t take long for the goals to start coming when Forfar’s Martyn Fotheringham scored in the 13th minute, heading home a precision cross from the tricky Nicky Low.
Forfar’s second came swiftly afterwards with a volley from the edge of the box 15 minutes in by Bradley Coyne with an assist from Chris Templeman.
Determined to pull back a goal, Stirling Albion began an assault in retaliation but were denied in the 18th minute as Joe Shaughnessy blocked Graham Weir’s penalty area attempt.
Not about to let that stop them, Stirling Albion’s Kevin Kelbie brought them their first goal of the game just minutes later. With an assist from Weir, Kelbie sent the ball in from the left past ‘keeper Greg Paterson.
However, Forfar’s leading goalscorer Templeman was not about to let that go unpunished. Chesting down and hooking the ball high past the keeper from a narrow angle, he made a great start to his return from injury. With the score-line sitting at three-one at the break, Stirling Albion made two tactical changes to try and turn the game around in their favour. Shaun Fagan and Scott Davidson were both taken off in favour of Devon Jacobs and Alan Cook.
The move seemed to have worked as, within twenty minutes of the second half starting, the visitors had closed the gap further with a cool finish from Darren Smith.
Just a minute from time it looked as though the teams would be sharing the points when Mark Ferry scored from a header 12 yards out, bringing the score-line to three-each.
After such a supreme effort, Forfar were unwilling to take this lying down and in the last gasp of the game sub Kevin Byers gave Stirling ’keeper Callum Reidford no chance as he rocketed the ball into the net.
Forfar Athletic - Paterson, McCulloch, Shaughnessy (Bolocheweckyj), Tulloch, Mowat, Motion, Fotheringham (Gibson), Low, Templeman (Byers), Coyne and Hilson.
Loons manager Dick Campbell was delighted with the spirit his side showed to gain the three vital home points on Saturday.
“We were by far the better side from start to finish.
“But three times this season they have come back and done us in the last minute and they looked like they had done it again - but up popped Kevin Byers for us.
“It does not make life a whole lot easier for us but it does put us five points clear of Stirling Albion.
“I thought the goals we scored were fantastic and there is a lot of belief in this club.
“That is probably shown by the way we kept going for the win, even after that late goal from them.”
Although Forfar are now five points clear of Stirling Albion, they still have not shaken off Albion Rovers, who won on Saturday, and remain four points adrift.
That means there is still plenty of football to be played as the Loons bid to remain a force in the Scottish second division next campaign.
Next up is a visit to Dumbarton this coming Saturday.