Loons’ form drops against Lichties

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Forfar Athletic slumped to a poor 2-0 defeat to Angus rivals Arbroath on Saturday at Station Park, writes Lee Smith.

Gavin Swankie returned to the starting 11 after missing the midweek defeat to Rangers, Martyn Fotheringham missing out.

The game started off evenly, with Ross Chisholm blasting wide after four minutes; at the other end ex-Red Lichtie defender Stuart Malcolm sliced past the post from an Iain Campbell free kick.

Ex-Loon Paul McManus looked dangerous on his return to Station Park, firing into Hill’s arms before seeing another effort going wide.

A quarter of an hour in, a poor clearance allowed Alan Cook to get a shot in, Hill pushing the ball wide. From the corner, another Cook effort was chested off the line by Iain Campbell, some Arbroath fans shouting for handball.

Arbroath took the lead in the 23rd minute, McManus turning defenders in the box before pushing the ball out to player/manager Paul Sheerin who hammered home from the edge.

Just two minutes later, more slack defending allowed the visitors to double their advantage. A cross into the area wasn’t dealt with and Kenny Deuchar blasted home for his second of the season.

After this, chances in the first half were few and far between as Forfar struggled to get back into the game, the only chance coming in the 27th minute when Darren Dods headed wide from a corner.

Half-time: Forfar Athletic 0, Arbroath 2.

Less than a minute after the restart sub Omar Kader’s cross was nodded out by the defence only as far as Gavin Swankie, whose half-volley was inches wide of the mark.

McManus was still a thorn in the side of his former employers, leading a counter-attack that saw him cut inside from the wing, shooting wide.

Forfar players and fans felt they should have had a penalty in the 55th minute, when Gavin Swankie burst past Ryan McGeever in the box. McGeever looked to have hauled Swankie down but referee Des Roache said no.

Two minutes later Arbroath had a claim of their own, McManus going down inside the box, Roache again saying no, booking Bobby Linn for his protests.

Bobby Linn ran at the shaky defence two minutes later, cutting the ball back for McManus who looked to have scored but for a great save by Darren Hill.

Poor defending allowed David Banjo to get an effort in, but the sub’s shot went past the post.

In the final minute Gavin Swankie hit the side netting, rounding off a poor day for the Loons as their play-off hopes are now almost over, six points behind fourth-placed Ayr United with six to play for, although they play the Honest Men at home on Saturday.

Forfar: Darren Hill, Mark Baxter, Iain Campbell, Stuart Malcolm, Darren Dods, Gary Fusco (Gavin Malin 46), Dale Hilson, James Dale (Omar Kader 46), Chris Templeman, Gavin Swankie, Chris Duggan (Ross Campbell 67).

Subs not used: Marvin Andrews, Jamie McCluskey, Keith Gibson, Rab Douglas (gk).

Arbroath, Scott Morrison, Michael Travis, Colin Hamilton, Ross Chisholm, Ryan McGeever, Alex Keddie, Bobby Linn (Ricky Little 84), Paul McManus, Kenny Deuchar (Leighton McIntosh 75), Alan Cook (David Banjo 73), Paul Sheerin.

Subs not used: Dayle Robertson, Lari Yao, Christopher Scott, Sandy Wood (gk).