HAVING recorded three victories on the trot to race up the league, Forfar Athletic went into Saturday’s home match against inconsistent Dumbarton with high hopes of continuing that great run (writes Alan Ducat).
But they came unstuck against a Sons side that got in the faces of the Loons from the kick-off and stopped them from settling into a passing game on a blustery afternoon at Station Park.
The visitors chased and harried all over the pitch and went on to create the better chances, fully deserving their two-nil victory, having played the final 23 minutes with ten men.
Forfar went into the game with an unchanged side after a great result at Stirling Albion the previous week - and the fans were fully expecting more of the same.
But it was not to be.
Indeed, but for a short spell midway through the first half, Forfar were very much on the back foot and created very little in the way of clear-cut chances.
The warning signs were there as Dumbarton upped the tempo and had the ball in the net after 15 minutes, the close-range strike being rightly ruled out for offside after the ball had crashed off the Forfar bar.
Then, three minutes later, a Scott Agnew shot inches wide of the target.
It seemed only a matter of time before Dumbarton took the lead, and when the opener came in the 31st minute, it was simplicity itself.
A dubious infringement led to a free-kick, Scott Agnew floating a hopeful ball over the top for Sons substitute David Winters, all on his own, to cleverly control and angle the ball past McHugh into the net.
Forfar failed to threaten for the remainder of the first period, and, in the early stages of the second half, it was Dumbarton who continued on the ascendancy.
McHugh had to look lively to push a net-bound angled drive by Gilhaney on to a post and then he did well to smother a Winters drive.
The second killer goal came in the 61st minute when the visitors easily carved open the Forfar defence for Bryan Prunty to fasten on to a Gilhaney cross and smash the ball high past McHugh.
Six minutes later and Forfar were thrown a life-line. Dumbarton’s opening scorer, Winters, inexplicably raised a hand to Nicky Low in what seemed a nothing incident on the half-way line and was promptly shown a straight red card, the on-loan left-winger from Aberdeen being yellow-carded for his part in the incident.
Alas, the Loons failed to take advantage of the man advantage, and, despite the introduction of Ross Campbell and Jordon Brown, they rarely looked like getting back into the game.
Indeed, it was McHugh at the other end who had to look lively to push an Agnew shot wide of the target and keep the deficit down to two.
Forfar’s best chance came deep into injury time, Jordon Brown’s headed effort from 16 yards out cannoning off the post to safety.
But it was too little, too late for the lacklustre Loons who will be bidding to bounce back to form whey travel to Methil this coming Saturday to take on East Fife, ahead of yet another weekend break to allow for international football.
Forfar: McHugh, Ross (Ross Campbell), Tulloch, McCulloch, Shaughnessy, Wilson (Brown), Fotheringham, Mowat, Low, Templeman and Crawford.
Dumbarton - Grindlay, Nugent, Creaney, Lithgow, McNiff, McKinnon, Gilhaney (Borris), Nicoll, Agnew, Prunty and Walker (Winters).
Referee - Euan Norris.