Loons level atop league

Pic credit: Christopher Coutts.
Pic credit: Christopher Coutts.
  • Swankie’s 10th of season sees off Blues
  • Hilson fine with goal drought if points keep coming
  • Derby of Destiny this week at Glebe Park

Dale Hilson doesn’t care about getting his name on the scoresheet so long as Forfar Athletic are picking up three points every week.

That was the striker’s sentiment after a frustrating time in front of goal in the Loons’ 1-0 win over Stranraer.

We know when we play well, we’re capable of beating anybody.

Dale Hilson

Hilson hit the post and saw other opportunities go begging during an excellent display from the young forward.

But Gavin Swankie’s magnificent 19th minute goal won the points for the hosts and Dale said that’s all that matters as the side went level with Greenock Morton at the top of League One.

Hilson said: “It’s a great three points. It’s a great performance, the boys dug in and defended really well. Swanks has scored a great goal to win it so we’re very happy with the three points.

“I was about to give him a bit of stick for hitting it from there, then the next thing I know it’s in the back of the net. He’s capable of that so you kind of almost expect it.

“We want to win every game, Stranraer are obviously a great side and they’ve done very well this season. But we know when we play well, we’re capable of beating anybody.”

Dale made his first start in three games as one of three changes to the side beaten 3-2 at Peterhead in mid-week, with Hilson, Stephen Husband and Danny Denholm replacing James Dale, Gavin Malin and Stuart Malcolm, who was serving the first of a four-game suspension following his double red card at Balmoor Stadium.

It was almost a perfect start for the diminutive striker as he sent a half volley into David Mitchell’s arms after just 10 seconds.

Stranraer’s Sean Winter and Jon McShane both had headers held before Forfar took the lead in the 19th minute, Swankie taking the ball past Mitchell before firing home while almost on the byline, giving him the tightest of angles to score from.

It was almost 2-0 ten minutes later, Iain Campbell’s long range strike causing Mitchell little bother before Hilson’s close range effort was parried.

The rest of the first half was a quiet affair, with Forfar looking the more dangerous side of the two.

McShane fired wide again 10 minutes into the second half while good work by Swankie led to Denholm setting up Derek Young, but he nodded wide.

Chris Templeman, Husband and Hilson combined to allow Denholm a shot on goal but the effort was parried before being cleared.

Hilson then hit the post in the 83rd minute after Swankie put him through on goal, his chance beating the keeper but coming back off the post into the goalie’s arms.

Stranraer’s Winter had a great chance with five minutes left but he could only blast the ball miles wide.

Sub Martyn Fotheringham had the final effort of the game in injury time, firing in a fantastic free kick that looked bound for the top corner the stopper tipped it past the post.

The win sends Forfar on equal points with Morton ahead of next Saturday’s titanic derby with Brechin City at Glebe Park.

forfar athletic (4-4-2): Douglas; Baxter, Travis, Dods, Campbell; Denholm (Kader, 80), Young, Husband (Fotheringham, 80), Swankie; Templeman, Hilson.

Subs not used: King, Dunlop, Dale, Malin, Hay.

Stranraer (4-4-2): Mitchell; Pettigrew, Robertson, McKeown, Longridge; Winter, Aitken (Gallacher, 72), Bell, Gibson; Malcolm (Longworth, 72), McShane (Stoney, 64).

Subs not used: Tobin, Stirling, Russell, Rumsby.