Smith screamer helps Loons end bad run against listless United

Pic credit Christopher Coutts.

Pic credit Christopher Coutts.

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Goals from Scott Smith and Omar Kader gave Forfar Athletic a deserved win against Ayr United to maintain their unbeaten home league run.

Two changes were made from the side that started the six-goal derby thriller the week before, with Stuart Malcolm missing out and Aaron James dropping to the bench as Mark Baxter came in alongside trialist Michael Travis.

The Loons made a fantastic start to the game after three minutes, Dale Hilson knocking the ball to Smith who drove forward before curling home from 25 yards for his first goal since arriving on loan from Dundee United.

Smith was then involved in a penalty shout six minutes later, Chris Templeman flicking on Travis’ throw for the midfielder but the teenager was knocked to the ground by Nicky Devlin as he tried to get a foot to the ball, and ref Andrew Dallas deemed there to be no foul.

The 19-year-old has made an impressive start to his tenure at Station Park and said he’s delighted with his Loons career so far, but believes the main thing was to get back to winning ways.

And the Tangerines kid hopes to do his bit for Dick Campbell’s side while picking up some key experience before his loan expires at the end of January.

He said: “I’m delighted with my start here, we were unfortunate the first two games - we lost the first and drew the second - but we’re back to winning ways now, hopefully we can keep it going.

“I just want to play some games and get some experience.”

Forfar enjoyed most of the possession in the first half, with Ayr not really looking capable of threatening Rab Douglas.

Hilson flashed a shot from just inside the box over before Kader forced a decent save from David Hutton at the end of a quiet first half.

United had their first shot at goal in the 51st minute, Michael Donald’s low cross evading everyone but when Devlin reached it his shot was blocked by Baxter.

Gavin Swankie then set up Forfar’s second after 56 minutes.

Hilson collected a long ball from Darren Dods before putting the ball out wide to Swankie who ran to the byline, his first cross was blocked but a poor clearance allowed him to put the ball in again, this time reaching Templeman; his header crashed off the crossbar and Kader nodded home the rebound from close range.

Just after the hour mark Hilson broke down the right wing and advanced into the box before cutting the ball back for Templeman, but he was unable to get a shot away while surrounded by two defenders - he played Hilson back in but his effort was right down Hutton’s throat.

Ayr finally had their first shot on target 65 minutes into the game when Craig Beattie fired straight at Douglas before he headed wide two minutes later.

The Honest Men looked a bit more dangerous after going two goals behind but were still struggling to get anything on target, captain Scott McLaughlin heading wide this time in the 74th minute from Dale Keenan’s cross.

Keenan almost caused a goal at the other end with 10 minutes to go, his poor pass back to Hutton almost letting Hilson in but the striker was unlucky not to get a foot on the ball.

In one of the last chances of the game the visitors hit the woodwork, Donald’s corner being met by Keenan whose header beat Douglas but it came back off the post.

The result means the Loons remain second in League One, a point behind leaders Morton, with their next game coming against Stenhousemuir in two weeks’ time at Ochilview.

Forfar enjoyed perhaps their most comfortable victory of the season so far in their last meeting with the Warriors, an easy 3-0 win against 10 men at Station Park back in October.

Forfar Athletic (4-4-2): Douglas; Trialist, Dunlop, Dods, Baxter; Kader (Denholm, 74), Smith (Malin, 83), Husband, Swankie; Templeman (Dale, 83), Hilson

Subs not used: Salmon, Fotheringham, James, Hay

Ayr United (4-5-1): Hutton, Devlin, Keenan, Cummins, Murphy, Gilmour, Forrest (Shirkie, 83), McLaughlin, Beattie (Donnelly, 74), McGovern, Donald

Subs not used: Newman, McKenzie, Muir, Crawford