Six goal thriller ends in a draw

Forfar players celebrate one of three goals at home against Airdrieonians on Saturday.
Forfar players celebrate one of three goals at home against Airdrieonians on Saturday.

Forfar Athletic started their SPFL League One season with a draw this past Saturday, sharing six goals with Airdrieonians at Station Park.

The Loons were forced to make three changes to the starting line up from last week’s League Cup win over Rangers, with injured pair Stuart Malcolm, Martyn Fotheringham and suspended Mark McCulloch making way for debutant Darren Dods, Bryan Deasley and James Dale.

The game started off quite evenly, with Airdrieonians getting the first opportunity of the game in the sixth minute, but David Sinclair’s free kick was deflected over by Mark Baxter and the corner came to nothing.

Gavin Malin came close with a 25 yard volley for the Loons with a quarter of an hour gone, but did even better two minutes later; beautiful play saw Malin and James Dale exchange passes before Dale threaded a perfect ball right through the Airdrie defence for Malin to run onto and place the ball past keeper Colin Stewart.

Less than a minute later Omar Kader was unlucky to see his curled effort creep past the post.

Airdrieonians equalised in the 32nd minute, Lewis Coult held the ball up before giving the ball to David Sinclair, Sinclair set Coult up for a cross and his cross was lofted brilliantly for Jim Lister to nod home from ten yards.

Chris Templeman saw his attempt cleared off the line twice 60 seconds after, his header from Bryan Deasley’s free kick knocked off the line before his follow up was again cleared away.

Airdrie had another couple of chances to take the lead before the break, but Willie McLaren’s free kick went just over the bar and Coult saw his header go into Hill’s hands.

HALF TIME: Forfar Athletic 1 Airdrieonians 1

Gavin Swankie was replaced at half time by summer signing Paul McManus.

The Diamonds took the lead three minutes into the second half, Jim Lister setting up McLaren, who slotted home from an angle.

Forfar fought back after conceding the second goal and, in the 53rd minute, were celebrating two goals; first Bryan Deasley ran from his own half with the ball before playing the ball to McManus, who cut in and curled the ball into the top corner, albeit via a slight deflection and then McManus scored an excellent goal to put the Loons in front. Neil McCabe sent a long ball for McManus, who didn’t reach it until it was at the touchline and he rolled the ball underneath the oncoming keeper into the net from an unbelievable angle.

McManus should have had his hat trick three minutes later but fired over. James Dale also saw an effort fly past the post on the hour mark.

Airdrieonians equalised again in the 65th minute after a horrendous mix-up in the box. Neil McCabe and Darren Hill both left the ball for each other to clear and it went through both players leaving Lewis Coult the simple task of rolling the ball into an empty net.

A minute later Marvin Andrews saw his header saved by Stewart while Nathan Blockley had an effort go wide for the away side.

Chances were few and far between for the last 20 minutes, Gavin Malin blasting over for the Loons while Jim Lister did the same for Airdrieonians.

FULL TIME: Forfar Athletic 3 Airdrieonians 3

Forfar Athletic: Darren Hill, Neil McCabe, Mark Baxter, Marvin Andrews, Darren Dods, Gavin Malin, Omar Kader, James Dale (Gary Fusco 75), Chris Templeman, Gavin Swankie (Paul McManus 46), Bryan Deasley (Ross Campbell 75).

Subs not used: Duncan Reid, Paul McLellan, Rab Douglas (gk).

Airdrieonians: Colin Stewart, Grant Evans, Garry Hay (t), Darren McCormack, Michael O’Byrne, David Sinclair, Nathan Blockley, Martin Hardie (Jamie Bain 71), Jim Lister, Lewis Coult (Liam Coogans 86), Willie McLaren; Subs not used: Liam Watt, Paddy Boyle (t), Andrew Duncan (gk).