REPORT: Loons lose out to Warriors but there’s cause optimism

Photo by Chris Coutts.

Photo by Chris Coutts.

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Forfar Athletic have now went 14 league games without a win despite one of their better performances in recent times after Stephen Stirling’s first half goal gave Stenhousemuir a 1-0 win.

Iain Campbell, Craig Smith and Gavin Swankie all went close but failed to beat Graham Bowman while Andy Ryan impressed on his debut.

Just one change was made from the attmpted midweek game against Linlithgow Rose, Martyn Fotheringham dropping to the bench for the aforementioned Ryan who cannot play against Lintlithgow Rose because he was not registered before the original game took place.

Campbell went close just a minute into the game, his low shot from the edge of the box parried away by Bowman before being cleared.

The resulting corner saw Thomas O’Brien nod wide.

Another corner in the fifth minute found Michael Travis but his header was pushed away into the path of Smith, though the Warriors defence blocked his shot and eventually got the ball out of the box.

Ryan threatened from 25 yards after turning a defender, Bowman saving his effort before Alan Cook stabbed over at the other end.

Mark Gilhaney dragged his shot wide minutes before Campbell curled a free kick over.

The Loons were dealt a blow eight minutes before half time when Travis went down following an unchallenged header.

The popular defender was forced off with Kevin Nicoll taking his place.

Smith and then Omar Kader threatened but it was the visitors who took the lead in first half injury time,

Stirling’s shot didn’t look that threatening but Darren Hill misjudged the path of the ball to give them the lead.

The Loons looked to grab a quick equaliser early in the second half but Smith saw his shot deflected wide before Nicoll nodded past the post from Campbell’s corner.

Forfar had the lion’s share of possession but couldn’t break through the visitors; defence, not having a shot on goal again until the 65th minute when Smith cut in from the left before his shot looped into the arms of the keeper.

With 15 minutes remaining Campbell and the lively looking Swankie combined to set up sub Danny Denholm but he dragged his shot past the post.

Swankie and then Ryan blasted wide while O’Brien had a long range effort held as Forfar hunted for that elusive goal but it was all in vain as the final whistle blew, meaning Stenhousemuir took all three points back to Ochilview.

It’s another disappointing defeat for the Loons who continue to slide towards the league’s bottom rung, but there are signs of improvement for the fans to be excited about as Gary Bollan’s side takes shape.