Six goals saw Forfar Athletic finish their pre-season unbeaten when they drew 3-3 with Angus rivals Arbroath at a dull and misty Gayfield on Saturday.
There were three changes from Wednesday’s draw with Dundee United – James Dale, Derek Young and Stuart Malcolm coming in for Chris Templeman, Gavin Malin and Darren Dods.
Trialist Andrew Steeves continued at left back, with Aaron James on the bench.
There was a new trialist on the bench for the Loons – ex-Dunfermline midfielder Stephen Husband.
The Loons almost scored inside 60 seconds, with ex-Arbroath striker Gavin Swankie’s cross evading everyone, Danny Denholm swung the ball back in and it fell to Dale Hilson, but he fired over.
Hilson and Swankie both had chances fly over before they opened the scoring in the 21st minute, Denholm sending Hilson clear with a great through ball, Hilson coolly slotting home under Scott Morrison.
Swankie shot wide in the 24th minute before Arbroath finally had their first effort on goal in the 32nd minute, ex-Forfar forward Paul McManus fluffing his chance when one on one with Rab Douglas.
However, they equalised a minute later, with Linn latching onto another through ball before firing home.
Omar Kader hit the side netting with 10 minutes of the half remaining, minutes before Derek Young set up Swankie, who cut inside Arbroath’s trialist defender, but the ball curled wide from a good angle.
Arbroath took the lead in the 40th minute, Linn’s shot taking a deflection and deceiving Douglas for his second in seven minutes.
The Loons didn’t have to wait long for an equaliser, however – within 60 seconds, Swankie’s cross was headed across goal by Young and Kader lashed the ball home to even the game up.
HALF TIME: Arbroath 2, Forfar Athletic 2
Four changes were made at half time – Ross Salmon, Stephen Husband, Aaron James and Darren Dods coming on for Douglas, Stuart Malcolm, James Dale and Mark Baxter.
The Red Lichties took the lead for the second time three minutes into the second half.
Bobby Linn raced down the right wing before whipping a ball in for McManus to power a header home.
Michael Dunlop, Kader, Hilson and Young all had efforts wide or blocked in quick succession as the Loons attempted to get back on level terms.
Scott McBride almost deceived Salmon in the 59th minute, his shot from long range swerving everywhere as it went towards goal, but the young keeper did well to push it away.
Linn hit the post in the 69th minute; six minutes later Templeman laid the ball off for Husband and his shot was fumbled by Morrison, the ball spinning inches past the post.
From Husband’s corner, Templeman saw his header kneed off the line by a defender.
Sub Craig Smith had a volley deflected past the post with 13 minutes of the game left, before Swankie had yet another shot blocked.
In the 79th minute, Arbroath sub Chris Scott saw his effort saved, and the Loons started a counter attack from that, ending in Hilson’s low cut back finding Smith, but his shot was saved.
Husband had a shot from the edge of the box swerve wide before Simon Murray nodded over at the other end from a Scott cross.
With a minute to go, the Loons grabbed a deserved equaliser.
Craig Smith did well to beat Johnny Lindsay before cutting the ball in for Chris Templeman to somehow flick home past Morrison and a defender, the ball taking forever to roll across the line.
The Red Lichties almost scored a winner deep into injury time – Scott’s cross coming off Mark Whatley, but Salmon collected the ball before anything happened.
Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas (Ross Salmon 46), Mark Baxter (Darren Dods 46), Andrew Steeves (t) (Aaron James (t) 46), Michael Dunlop, Stuart Malcolm, James Dale (Stephen Husband (t) 46), Omar Kader (Chris Templeman 63), Derek Young (Liam Keiller 63), Dale Hilson (Paul McLellan 83), Gavin Swankie, Danny Denholm (Craig Smith 65).
Arbroath: Scott Morrison, Michael Travis (Andrew Black (t) 68), Johnny Lindsay (Craig Johnstone 90), Ross Fisher (t), Ricky Little, Kevin Nicoll, Bobby Linn (Chris Scott 76), Kieran Stewart (t) (Mark Whatley 83), Paul McManus (Simon Murray 61), Kevin Buchan (Jack Smith (t) 61), Scott McBride.
Subs not used: Connor Birse, Kieran McWalter.