Forfar Athletic pulled off the shock of the round and one of the biggest results in their 128 year history on Saturday at Station Park, writes Lee Smith.
They defeated Rangers 2-1 after extra time in the first round of the League Cup.
The Loons made two changes from last week’s win over East Fife with Paul McManus and Bryan Deasley making way for Chris Templeman and Marvin Andrews.
Four thousand plus fans packed into an excited Station Park for the first ever meeting in the first round of this competition against a side with ‘big names’ such as Lee McCulloch, David Templeton, Ian Black and Andy Little.
The game started with Forfar enjoying more possession and even took a shock lead in the eighth minute when a ball played from Martyn Fotheringham over the Rangers defence was misjudged by McCulloch who couldn’t get his head to it, allowing Gavin SWANKIE to race forward and knock the ball over Scott Gallacher into the net, sending the home support into a frenzy.
Three minutes later Rangers almost equalised after a through ball presented Andy Little with an opportunity but his shot was blocked by Darren Hill on the line at the near post. With a quarter of an hour gone Andrew Mitchell had another chance but his low shot was tame and Hill gathered easily.
The Loons almost made it two after 21 minutes, Gavin Swankie’s perfect cross being powerfully headed the wrong side of the post by Chris Templeman.
The Rangers players were claiming for a penalty six minutes later after Stuart Malcolm brought down David Templeton, but ref Calum Murray gave the correct decision of a free kick, as the challenge happened clearly two yards out of the penalty area. McCulloch showed how poor he is at free kicks when he blasted his effort against the wall, the first of many times he did during the afternoon.
Rangers were struggling with the wind the entire first half, bizarrely deciding to play a long ball game, despite Forfar having a tall and strong defensive pair in Stuart Malcolm and Marvin Andrews.
Before the end of the half, the only chance that came for any side was a header from McCulloch, that was smothered easily by Hill.
HALF TIME: Forfar Athletic 1 Rangers 0
At half time, both sides made a sub, with Ross Campbell coming on for Martyn Fotheringham for Forfar, and Rangers’ Fraser Aird replacing Mitchell.
Almost ten minutes into the second half, Hill made an excellent effort to punch away an in swinging corner but was taken out in the process by Lee McCulloch, who looked to have led with an elbow, and McCulloch was booked for his troubles.
Four minutes later Hill pulled off an even better save when Robbie Crawford’s brilliant shot looked to be going in until Hill tipped it wide. From the corner Andy Little blasted miles over from six yards.
McCulloch finally put a free kick further than the wall in the 68th minute, but this time straight into Hill’s arms.
David Templeton was denied twice in the space of a minute with ten to go, first having a free kick deflected into Darren Hill’s path and then shooting from the edge of the box into Hill again.
Two minutes later he was unlucky not to equalise after good work from him allowed him space to shoot but his effort went wide of the goal.
Rangers were to be celebrating an equaliser seconds later though when a corner from Templeton was headed against the bar by Andy Little and Fraser AIRD knocked the ball in from close range.
The Loons were up against it after the goal but Mark Baxter almost snatched a winner with minutes left but saw his long range effort fly over the bar.
END OF 90 MINUTES: Forfar Athletic 1 Rangers 1
Dick Campbell replaced the booked Neil McCabe with James Dale before the start of extra time.
Two minutes after extra time had begun, Kyle McAusland was unlucky to see his powerful header go past the post, Rangers’ only real chance of the first half as Forfar started to up their game and dominated proceedings. Iain Campbell saw his free kick scrambled away while a corner from Campbell was punched away just as Marvin Andrews was about to get his head to the ball.
The second half of extra time began with another Little chance, this time misjudging the ball’s path and missing it completely. Two minutes later Little saw yet another chance go off target and past the post.
With ten minutes of extra time left Gavin Malin’s lovely volley from the edge of the box went just over the bar as Forfar began to pressure the Glasgow side.
A minute later Chris Templeman saw his effort from the same area fly inches past the post.
In the 115th minute Iain Campbell put a long throw into the box, that was cleared twice before coming to Omar Kader; he, James Dale and Mark Baxter exchanged passes, Baxter whipped the ball into the box, it was cleared yet again as Forfar heavily pressured, Gavin Malin collected the ball, turned, lay the ball off to Chris Templeman who confused the defence with the ball at his feet.
He ran to the touchline, doubled back, touched the ball back to Iain Campbell who swung in an excellent cross towards Gavin Swankie,
Swankie nodded the ball towards the far post. And the Station Park faithful went wild, Forfar Athletic had gone 2-1 up against Rangers with just five minutes left of the match and again Gavin Swankie was the hero, his second goal of the match.
Little more was to happen for the last five minutes, and when the final whistle blew, a massive cheer came from the home end and from the Loons players and management.
Forfar Athletic have just knocked what was once one of the biggest clubs in Scotland out of the League Cup, quite possibly the most famous result in the history of the club so far.
Everyone involved with the Loons on Saturday will almost certainly be classed as legends at the club amongst the fans.
Forfar Athletic: Darren Hill, Mark Baxter, Mark McCulloch, Stuart Malcolm (Iain Campbell 33), Marvin Andrews, Martyn Fotheringham (Ross Campbell 46), Omar Kader, Neil McCabe (James Dale 90), Chris Templeman, Gavin Swankie, Gavin Malin.
Subs not used: Bryan Deasley, Rab Douglas.
Rangers: Scott Gallacher, Chris Hegarty, Sebastian Faure, Robbie Crawford, Lee Wallace, Lee McCulloch, Andy Little, Ian Black, David Templeton (Barrie McKay 97), Lewis McLeod (Kyle McAusland 73), Andrew Mitchell (Fraser Aird 45).
Subs not used: Luca Gasparotto, Alan Smith.