A bridge too far. On a bright warm afternoon in central Angus, Arbroath’s season came to a shuddering and disappointing end as a well-organised Forfar side kept us in check throughout the game. Early and late goals decided another encounter fairly devoid of much football, and absolutely littered with fouls and time wasting. Forfar’s experienced squad and tactics were very effective in denying us space together with the fact our own injury-ravaged side couldn’t find the breakthrough or get break.
Another bitter reverse for the large though often fairly quiet Lichtie support – inured to disappointment. This is just yet another in a lifetime of setbacks for Lichties fans - who were too quiet most of the afternoon.
With Moyes suspended, Arbroath started with McGuire in defence alongside Rattray, McLaughlin with Gibson, McCulloch, McLean and Booth in the middle and Megginson, Ross and Doris up front. The depleted squad was revealed with only Nimmo, McIlravey, Suttie and Flyer on the bench,
Forfar started the better and, after minutes, a ball from a throw-in in down the right fell to M Fotheringham on the edge of the box and his curling shot was inchperfect to put them one up (unjust since he was trying it on the whole game). We almost equalised immediately with Kenny McLean firing in a shot form 25 yards which rebounded from the bar. That was the story of the afternoon though we never to get that close again
Arbroath started off passing the ball around well enough but, after getting their noses in front Forfar clung to the task of pressing our midfield hard, denying space in the middle. We had chances on a couple of occasions, through a Gibson shot and Doris attempt but not quite close enough. Increasingly we resorted to high balls forward which were easy meat for Forfar burly defence. Ross and Megginson barely managed to get into the game and Doris showed up in flashes second half – not lack of effort just a defensive stranglehold and no breaks, though our final balls in were sometimes lacking. McGuire's header was well saved and Ross's header slipped past
Second half was a frustrating non-event. Forfar's experienced old pros throughout the team stood firm and, when they managed got the ball forward to the likes of Templeman who is excellent at holding up play and winning territory. Even the dismissal of tuloch on the hour mark gave us no obvious advantage
We created very few clearcut chances. With 15 minutes to go, Doris had a great break down the right and fired a dangerous cross in which was smothered. Then Kenny Mclean jinked past two Forfar players into the box but the cross in was scrambled away.
As time ebbed away it looked like we would leave empty handed. Another release ball out of defence found Deasley who finished for an unnecessary second.
Forfar could bring on experienced pros like Fotheringham and Deasley, while we managed only youth players McIlravey and Suttie who hardly got a touch. Our season caught up with us
Deflating and irritating watching Forfar celebrate but they probably did deserve to win this. A big, aggressive, experienced squad of players and tactics which were right, if rather boring, on the day. Having gone behind, we just couldn’t break them down. Rattray, McLaughlin, and McCulloch probably did best for use. Another massive foul count with Forfar conceding 18.
Division 3 isn’t a disaster merely a letdown. Let’s forget this overlong season, get down to seriously rebuilding and start the new campaign fresh. You never know which club may go bust in the meantime