Attacking masterclass sees Loons topple Morton

Pic credit Christopher Coutts
Pic credit Christopher Coutts

A little more than 30 years after leading Forfar Athletic to the Scottish Second Division title, Doug Houston was back at Station Park to unveil the club’s new stunning hospitality complex.

And it was a day to remember on and off the park as Forfar Athletic romped to a 3-2 win over Greenock Morton.

Houston, the Loons manager who oversaw the side’s first major title win, opened the complex - including the aptly named 1984 Lounge - alongside the skipper of that side, Ian McPhee.

The duo would have been extremely impressed with the product served up by Dick Campbell’s charges as captain Gavin Swankie grabbed a lovely brace either side of Danny Denholm’s tidy strike.

Aaron James and Chris Templeman missed out through injury and were replaced by Mark Baxter and Omar Kader.

The game started slowly and the first real chance didn’t come until the 16th minute, when Joe McKee sent a low shot wide of the mark from the edge of the Forfar box.

But it was Forfar who opened the scoring after 19 minutes, Stephen Husband sending a lofted ball into the area for Swankie to control with his chest - the striker then slammed a terrific half volley past Derek Gaston.

Morton could have been level when Thomas O’Ware missed a sitter following good work from Declan McManus, but the latter restored parity between the teams in the 37th minute when the Aberdeen loanee seized on a mistake from Denholm to slot home under Douglas.

It was a redemptive moment for Denholm just after half time though, the former Livingston winger putting the Loons back in front as he converted a clever cut back from the majestic Swankie with a cathartic finish.

And Denholm went for the spectacular moments later, getting an audacious backheel on the end of another Swankie pass but Gaston was able to save.

Dale Hilson went close from long range before it was 3-1 thanks to Swankie’s second.

The striker controlled Mikey Dunlop’s clearance with ease and advanced upon Gaston’s goal, slotting the ball past the goalkeeper with a superb finish with the outside of the left boot.

Dunlop went close to making it four before Hilson drew a stunning save out of Gaston when he was one on one.

Morton grabbed an undeserved second through substitute Reece Hands in the last few minutes, making it a nervy finish for Forfar.

Forfar Athletic: Douglas, Dunlop, Baxter, Malcolm, Dods, Husband (Dale 78), OKader (Smith 81), Young, Hilson, Swankie, Denholm (Fotheringham 81). Subs not used: Malin, Steeves, Keiller, Salmon

Greenock Morton: Gaston, Kilday, Lamie, Miller (Russell 67), Crighton, Milojevic, McKee, Pepper, McManus, O’Ware (Hands 77), McCluskey (McNeil 79). Subs not used: Allan, Scullion, Caraux.