NICKY Low was the Forfar goalscoring hero as the home side earned three precious home points with a battling performance against a classy Cowden side on Saturday (writes Alan Ducat).
A second victory on the trot took the Loons off the bottom rung in the Scottish second division, ahead of the home encounter with Stirling Albion at Station Park, which was due to go ahead last night (Tuesday) just as the Dispatch and Herald was going to print.
And, although the Loons survived a few scares early on in both halves, no one can deny them the victory they worked so tremendously hard for.
There were a number of excellent performances, with goalkeeper Marc McCallum, on loan from Dundee United, a stand-out, and others making their mark including on-loan Dons Nicky Low and Joe Shaughnessy and that willing worker up front, Dale Hilson.
Manager Dick Campbell was faced with reshuffling his midfield when Martyn Fotheringham and David Mowat called off on Saturday morning, but Nicky Low took over in that berth and showed what a great prospect he is going to be with an absolute peach of a strike just on half-time.
It was to prove the only goal of the game, but there were a few chances for both sides. Low had earlier struck a post and Cowden saw two early second half chances cleared from the line, while McCallum pulled off two top class saves.
At the end of keenly contested ninety minutes, manager Dick Campbell was delighted to have banked all three points, and get off the bottom of the table.
“It was an great goal from Nicky Low to win the game,” he enthused. “We had a couple of call-offs before the game, and went in without Martyn Fotheringham and David Mowat, so we gave the young boys a chance.
“It’s probably the littlest midfield I have started with in the life, but we showed great battling qualities, never lost a goal and earned a magnificent three points.
“We had some hairy moments, but so did they, and the goal Nicky scored was worthy of winning any game.
“That’s six points from two games and hopefully that’s us turned the corner now.”
Forfar went into the game determined to start climbing the table, but it was Cowden who started the better.
Six minutes in and John Cusack turned in the box and attempted to curl a shot past McCallum, only for the keeper to punch well away from danger.
Cowden were dangerous with pace down the flanks, but the Loons held firm and carved out a great chance of their own in 18 minutes.
Man-of-the-match Nicky Low worked space for himself on the left and crashed a great shot off the base of the post from a narrow angle.
The game continued to be keenly contested, with chances at a premium as both defences looked on top of their game.
Joe Shaugnessy and Mark McCulloch rarely gave the Cowden front men a look at goal while Joseph Mbu was proving a hard man to pass at the other end.
But, with half-time looming, the Cowden defence cracked.
The Loons new man Bradley Coyne picked out Nicky Low lurking on the edge of the box on the right and the young midfielder teed himself up with a superb first touch, gave himself room by cutting inside and smashed an unstoppable shot past Thomas Flynn for the opener.
The goal was the tonic the Forfar fans were looking for - but nobody was counting chickens at this stage.