FORFAR Athletic welcomed SPL side Aberdeen on Monday night for the official launch of their new artificial pitch, writes Sarah McLean.
And the game could not have got off to a better start for the Loons with a first half goal courtesy of top scorer Danny Denholm.
Dons’ manager Craig Brown sent down a strong Aberdeen side including some familiar faces to Station Park such as Nicky Low, Joe Shaughnessy and ‘keeper Jamie Langfield that all spent time at the club last season.
Forfar, undaunted by the higher league side, gave the visitors a run for their money throughout much of the first half with the Aberdeen ‘keeper having considerably more to do than the Forfar trialist.
The first real chance for the home side came in the 12th minute when an Iain Campbell free kick was deflected to safety. A minute later, Forfar looked dangerous for the visitors again but the Ross Campbell corner was cleared by Scott Rumsby.
Just after the 20 minute mark, Danny Denholm came close but his shot went over the bar. Inspired, Forfar pushed on while Aberdeen looked weary.
The deadlock was broken just before the half-hour mark with a spectacular strike by Denholm.
He struck again in the 35th minute but Langfield was quick to catch it.
In the 43rd minute it could have been 2-0 but Langfield was determined not to let the Loons have any more of a lead and did well to make another quick save.
A minute later, Denholm had a fantastic mazy run through the Aberdeen defence and beat the ‘keeper only to see his shot go just right of the post.
Forfar had yet another chance just before the referee called for half time but were thwarted again by Langfield.
Half-time: Forfar 1, Aberdeen 0.
In the spirit of the occasion half-time entertainment was provided by youngsters from all of the local youth football clubs including Forfar Boys, Lochside Boys and Forfar Farmington in a series of exhibition matches.
Aberdeen came out fighting after the break and were the first to threaten for a goal but the Forfar ‘keeper worked well to ensure the home side’s lead.
However, Forfar’s defence worked well together to keep the Dons at bay in the first few minutes of the half.
The home side’s fortunes changed in the 54th minute when former Loons loanee Nicky Low saw his cool, low shot find the back of the net to make it 1-1.
As Aberdeen did their utmost to take the lead, Forfar stepped up their defence and the Dons found their way blocked at almost every turn. In the 62nd minute Aberdeen’s Declan McManus saw his clear cut opportunity saved expertly by the Forfar ‘keeper.
Nicky Low took another shot in the 66th minute but his left footed strike hit the post.
Two minutes later Aberdeen took the lead with a strong 12-yard strike from McManus to make it 2-1.
This was closely followed by Forfar’s first substitution when goal scorer Denholm was replaced by Liam McIntosh.
The visitors almost made it 3-1 a few moments later after a good link up between Christ Clark and McManus but the latter saw his close range shot denied by the Forfar ‘keeper.
Forfar made their second substitution of the game when Charlie King came off to make way for Duncan Reid 15 minutes from time.
The home side made their final substitution when the trialist ‘keeper was replaced by Leighton Davidson in the 85th minute.
Just moments later Omar Kader had Forfar’s first clear chance of the half but he was unfortunate to see his header go wide.
With little more happening for either side in the closing stages of the game, Aberdeen took the win with a score of 2-1.
Forfar: Trialist, Bolochoweckyj, I. Campbell, Dunlop, Tulloch, Fotheringham, R. Campbell, Motion, King, Denholm, Kader. Subs - Gray, Reid, McIntosh, Adam, Davidson.
Aberdeen: Langfield, Murray, Rumsby, Clark, Shaughnessy, Rose, O’Neill, Storie, Magennis, McManus, Low. Subs - Gibbons, Hamilton, Smith, Campanile, Szemis, MacAulay.