FORFAR Athletic remain firmly on course for a promotion play-off spot despite being out-gunned by runaway Scottish division two leaders Livingston on Saturday.
Having suffered the frustration of yet another postponement last midweek, when the re-arranged home fixture with Stenhousemuir was called off due to a water-logged surface, the Loons suffered their heaviest league defeat of the season when Livy came calling.
However, Dick Campbell’s men remain five points clear of East Fife with two vital games in hand in the race for a play-off slot.
The home joust with strong-going Livy was always going to be a tester for the Loons and, while the end score was four-nil, the damage was really done just before the break.
The home side started very well, and were unlucky not to have taken the lead before Livingston struck in 23 minutes.
Even then, there was little between the sides, Forfar being the authors of their own misfortune when a defensive lapse allowed the visitors to take a two-nil interval lead.
More poor defending in the early stages of the second half saw the league’s number one side on cruise control, although Forfar were unlucky not to reduce the leeway before the end, a trio of substitutions pepping up the side in the latter stages of the game.
Loons assistant boss Ian Campbell accepted that poor defending proved Forfar’s downfall.
“I thought we played well, but there was criminal defending from us, which is usually not like as at all,” he commented.
“We are better than that and we will show that over the next few weeks.
“It was a huge disappointment to us but that’s the way it is when you defend like we did. We handed the result to Livy on a plate.
“There were large spells in the game where we played well and I thought we controlled much of the first half and yet went in two-nil down.”
The Loons certainly looked the part in the early stages of the game, taking the game to Livy down both flanks.
On loan signing Ryan Dow caught the eye on the left and, when he set up Dale Hilson, it took a good stop from Tony Bullock to keep the score-line blank.
Soon after Barry Sellars hit a 25-yard shot which the keeper got down well to gather.
Gradually, Livy got the upper hand and, in 23 minutes, they took the lead with a simple goal - a cross from the right by Liam Fox and a head-flick by Kenny Deuchar past the stranded Scott Gallacher.
That’s how things should have stood at half-time, but Forfar lost the ball in a bad area, allowing Livy to raid down the left flank.
Iain Russell sent a dangerous ball into the centre and Liam Fox arrived late to blast the ball high past the ‘keeper into the net for number two.
If there was to be any way back for the Loons they had to do the business in the early stages of the second period, but two goals in the space of three minutes just before the hour settled things in the visitors’ favour.
In 57 minutes, Kenny Deuchar was on hand to slide home from close range after a break down the right, and, soon after, the lively Russell sprinted through the middle of the Loons’ defence to make it four.
Forfar made a number of changes, thereafter, in a bid to get back into the game, and there were a few chances to grab a consolation goal.
But it was not to be Forfar’s day.
However, there is still plenty to play for in the weeks ahead, with Forfar back on their travels in the course of the next few days.
On Wednesday (tonight) they head west to take on Ayr United, before making for Airdrie United on Saturday.
And, as the games come thick and fast, Airdrie United will visit Station Park on Tuesday evening of next week, for the first of a trio of home matches.