Forfar Athletic survived a late comeback by Arbroath to win their first game in six 3-2 at a very windy Gayfield on Saturday, writes Lee Smith.
The win lifts the Loons to sixth in the table while Arbroath are further stranded at the bottom of the table, now three points behind Airdrieonians.
Three changes were made from last week’s defeat, Odmar Faeroe and Dale Hilson returning from injury, Martyn Fotheringham was promoted from the bench while Omar Kader and James Dale dropped to the bench with Gavin Malin dropping out of the 18 man squad.
Arbroath started the better side with a header going wide and Leighton McIntosh seeing his effort deflected wide before Forfar took the lead in the 13th minute. Paul Sheerin was punished for his poor decision-making with the ball as Gavin Swankie dispossessed him before threading a ball through the defence for Dale Hilson and he slotted home for his seventh of the season.
Sheerin blasted a free kick miles wide in the 19th minute, before Michael Travis nodded over from a corner.
The Red Lichties were having more of the ball and chances but in the final third they looked as if they were already contemplating giving up on fighting relegation when yet again they fired wide when it looked easier to score, this time Kevin Nicoll the culprit on the half-hour mark.
From a Mark Baxter throw in the 35th minute Chris Templeman set up Martyn Fotheringham, who could only send his effort over the bar.
Five minutes before half time Arbroath came the closest they had the whole half when Bobby Linn collected the ball just outside the box, turned a defender and forced Rab Douglas into a good save.
Half-time: Arbroath 0, Forfar Athletic 1
Fotheringham almost scored directly from kick off; with the wind behind Forfar, he sent a shot from the halfway line that ex-Loon Sandy Wood did well to catch on his line.
It was 2-0 to the away side after 49 minutes, Odmar Faeroe sent Dale Hilson through on goal, Hilson muscling past Alex Keddie, before selflessly squaring the ball for Gavin Swankie who tapped the ball home despite Ricky Little’s efforts to block the shot.
Eight minutes later Swankie grabbed his second with a brilliant strike from outside the box when he collected a long ball, cut inside past a defender and curled the ball into the top corner, despite Wood getting a hand to it.
Leighton McIntosh had a couple of opportunities to grab a goal back but fluffed his shots before Martyn Fotheringham curled a free kick into Wood’s arms.
Alan Cook came on for Arbroath on the hour mark and scored within 10 minutes of coming on, firing home through a pack of defenders.
Ross Campbell had a shot deflected wide in the 76th minute before Arbroath grabbed a second six minutes later when Leighton McIntosh, who had been largely anonymous, fired underneath Rab Douglas from a tight angle.
Arbroath tried to find an equaliser in the final few minutes but sub Kenny Deuchar missed a couple of sitters while at the other end Iain Campbell’s lob landed on the roof of the net.
With this result Forfar move to sixth place, despite being on level points with Stenhousemuir, the better goal difference helping the Loons. Arbroath on the other hand are now three points behind ninth placed Airdrieonians.
Arbroath: Sandy Wood, Ricky Little, Colin Hamilton (Kenny Deuchar 60), Kevin Nicoll, Michael Travis, Alex Keddie, Bobby Linn, Ross Chisholm, Leighton McIntosh, Paul McManus, Paul Sheerin (Alan Cook 60). Subs not used: David Banjo, Lari Yao, Chris Scott, Dayle Robertson, Leonard Wilson (gk).
Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas, Mark Baxter, Iain Campbell, Stuart Malcolm, Darren Dods, Gary Fusco, Martyn Fotheringham (James Dale 68), Odmar Faeroe, Chris Templeman (Marvin Andrews 80), Gavin Swankie, Dale Hilson (Ross Campbell 59). Subs not used: Omar Kader, Neil McCabe, Jamie McCluskey, Darren Hill (gk).