THE speed and trickery of Robert Love condemned Forfar Athletic to a fourth defeat in five games at home to Albion Rovers on Saturday (writes Alan Ducat).
The result plummets the Loons to second bottom spot in the table, having just picked up a solitary derby point out of a possible 15.
Dick Campbell hasn’t had his problems to seek of late, with a string of injuries to key players, and now the experienced Stevie Crawford having departed the scene to take up a position as assistant to Steven Pressley at Falkirk.
And, things didn’t get any better on Saturday, with Mark McCulloch and later substitute Greg Ross having to leave the field.
Many of the others struggled to find their form against the second division bottom dogs and, indeed, had it not been for a five-star display from goalkeeper Greg Patterson, it could have been much worse than two-nil come the final whistle.
Yet it all started reasonably well for the home side - apart from the finishing.
In eleven minutes, a great cross from the right by Byers saw the ball land at the feet of Chris Templeman, who, from eight yards out, managed to blast the ball high over a gaping goal.
Then, in 20 minutes, Templeman slipped the ball through to Ross Campbell, but the striker fired wide of target when a better option would have been to pick out Low.
Half an hour in and Albion Rovers started to threaten, and, when they earned a soft free-kick 25 yards out John Gemmill thumped a shot against the post with Patterson beaten.
The best chance of the half came for the home side a minute from the break, Low fastening on to a great angled ball to skip past his marker and bear down on goalkeeper Gaston.
Alas, he elected to try and pick out a team-mate rather than go himself and Rovers defenders got back to snuff out the danger.
Seconds later and the visitors were in front. Robert Love showed great pace to run on to a superb Simon Marriott through ball, and then great composure to tie two defenders and the goalkeeper on knots before, as cool as you like, passing the ball into the empty net.
Even with the set-back you would have fancied Forfar to get back into the game in the second half, but it was Love and Gemmill who were the tormentors in chief as Albion ran out very comfortable victors indeed.
In 58 minutes, the Forfar defence got into a terrible tangle as they allowed Love to race clean through on goal again, the youngster rounding the keeper to slide home his second of the afternoon.
It could have been much worse for the Loons, had it not been for Patterson’s superb saves from Gemmill (twice) and Love.
At the other end, as often as not, Forfar’s play broke down around the edge of the penalty area. Time and again they played themselves into a position to attack, only for a poor pass to gift possession to the visitors.
In the end, the final whistle was a blessing for the players and then fans.
Forfar must now try to get back on track this coming Saturday when Brechin City are visitors to Station Park in the latest derby duel.
Forfar Athletic - Paterson, Hegarty, Bishop, Shaughnessy, McCulloch (Ross) (Wilson), Byers, Templeman, Iain Campbell, Low, Ross Campbell (Gibson) and Crawford,
Albion Rovers - Gaston, Reid, Marriott (Gilmartin), Stevenson, O’Byrne, Lumsden, Love (Scott), Boyle (McStay), Gemmell, Chaplain and Lawless.