Archives » Ross Forbes

Forfar Athletic 0-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Station Park, 13/4/19.

The scoreline tells you all you need to know about this game.

Sometimes you get an entertaining 0-0 draw. Sometimes you don’t. Today we didn’t.

The nearest we came to scoring was with long distance efforts by Ross Forbes and Dom Thomas but they were fired down the goalkeeper’s throat. Calum Gallagher had a couple such off target as did the two previously mentioned.

Not that Forfar were any better. Grant Adam only had two shots to save all day.

Mind you I’d feared the worst as just when the teams were coming out the announcer said that due to an injury in the warm-up Stuart Carswell was being replaced by Boris Melingui. Carsy is so important to our midfield. It’s really an obvious miss when he’s not there. The announcer still gave out Carsy’s name as playing when he read the teamsheets again at half-time, though.

Boris was up front with Calum Gallagher pulled back into midfield where he put a good shift in (he’s like a modern day Chissie*) but his attacking partnership with Dom Thomas was therefore missing. Boris ran about well and pressed with a will but there was no spark to our play. Dom Thomas had few opportunities to run with the ball, they doubled or trebled up on him at times and his control got away from him too often. Plus he needs to play folk in when they’re better placed.

Looking at this Forfar side I’m amazed they’re pushing Raith for second spot. They looked as bad as us, with very little in the way of creativity.

So it’s all squeezed up again at the bottom. We could have done without the wins for Stranraer and Stenhousemuir. We’re four clear of ninth and the dreaded relegation play-off spot with three to play but the bottom two play each other on the last day. The highest either of them could reach is 44 points. They could both reach 42. We’re on 39.

*Ian Chisholm, late of this parish.

Dumbarton 3-3 Airdrieonians

SPFL Tier 3, The Rock, 2/4/19.

Well, we scored first, and then did our best to throw the game away.

We looked bright at the start finding joy on the left with Bobby Barr one of whose crosses was headed just past the post by Calum Gallagher. They seemed to be able to get through our midfield too easily, however, without really threatening further forward.

The goal came from a piece of quick thinking by Ross Forbes, playing a free-kick early to Dom Thomas on the edge of the box. Dom cut in and hit a shot which looked as if it was likely to be blocked but it hit the back of the net.

The equaliser came from a flicked on throw in, a header which Grant Adam got a hand to but not enough to keep it out. (He had also conceded the throw by palming a ball away which he might have been better not going for – or preferably catching.)

Not long after they were ahead. The lad who got on the end of the pass through looked a head offside to me when the ball was played to him. Our defending in the middle was a shambles though, the scorer standing all alone to tap it in.

They were breaking well and giving me the fear every time they got beyond the halfway line but the half ended at 1-2.

The second half more or less repeated the first to begin with except our pressure was stronger and they continued to look lively moving into our half. We had several corners in a row without much result. Grant Adam made a good stop on a one-on-one and the rebound was also blocked.

Manager Jim Duffy started to go for broke, taking off David Ferguson and putting on Boris Melingui. This shunted Stuart Carswell to right back. Boris it was who headed a Ross Forbes free-kick back across goal for an unchallenged Calum Gallagher to head in at the far post.

We continued to press – and that was our undoing. In a quick break they had a four on two and eventually scored but from where I was there looked to be a handball in the build-up.

By this time I was resigned to the defeat but Ross Forbes pinged one just inside the near post from the far edge of the area to cue delirium in the home end.

It’s a draw I’ll take – the fourth between these two sides in the league this season, a unique statistic for us since ten-team leagues were introduced in Scotland – but we really needed a win. It makes Saturday’s game against Brechin an absolute must-not-lose (guess what will happen) but a win would be even more desirable. It’s tighter than a gnat’s chuff at the bottom, only four points separating four teams. I don’t know if my nerves will stand it.

East Fife 3-4 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, New Bayview,* 23/2/19

What a roller-coaster ride this was.

They had the better possesion in the first half but didn’t do much with it. Our defence looked very solid.

We hadn’t really threatened but a Calum Gallagher head-flick on to Dom Thomas left him running in towards goal. The ball sat up nicely for him to volley it. A belter. The keeper got a hand to it but the shot was too strong for him.

Fifteen minutes later the compliment was reversed when Dom played a cute ball behind the last defender. Cal Gal looked not to be in pole position but he managed to get past the defender and hit it early. It looked like the keeper might have done better. But 2-0. Cue slightly unbelieving delirium in the away end.

We had no corners in the first half but still scored again – with only our third shot** in the game. Dom Thomas wandering past their defenders before hitting a superb strike again from a narrow angle.

What a difference fifteen minutes made. They changed shape at half-time moving to three at the back and started to overload us in midfield. Our high press played into their hands a bit there. Suddenly their forwards were finding space in the box. We failed to clear a cross and the usual happened after the ball bounced around our box. Their second saw ex-Son Kevin Smith all alone i=n front of goal to nod home.

Thank goodness for Dom Thomas. The smart ball might have been to play in Cal Gal (who’d made a great run) but he just smashed it from outside the box as the defender backed off a bit to cover Cal’s run. Hat-trick and match ball for Dom. Bobby Barr’s reaction to Dom’s goal was priceless. Yes, Bobby; he is the man.

Nevertheless we’d throw another goal away almost from the kick-off. Nerve-racking stuff.

Cal Gal ought to have scored no 5 when Dom put him through but the keeper made a very good save.

I suppose the game was settled by the sending-off of Kane who – unable to cope with Dom’s trickery – dragged him back by the throat and the ref flourished the red card.

From then on we looked like we might score every time we went up the park – how we didn’t I don’t know.

There was still time for Sons fans to have convulsions when we thought the ref had given a penalty to East Fife. It looked to us as if Grant Adam had hit the ball against the attacker. Suggestions on Pie and Bovril were the linesman told the ref it wasn’t a pen. If so it was the only time he made a decision for himself all game.

A very, very welcome three points. We’ll need to improve our defending though, if we’re to get out of the relegation mire.

Btw: Why was no East Fife throw-in taker punished for a foul throw? Very few of their throw-ins were legal.

*Or whatever it’s called these days. (Locality Hub Bayview Stadium, I think.)

**edited to amend: third shot on target. Ross Forbes had an effort from a Dom Thomas cross going just over the bar.

Stenhousemuir 2-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Ochilview, 29/12/18.

Well this was a mustn’t lose – and we almost lost. Thankfully we didn’t.

On our first half performance it would have been deserved – we created nothing and had only one shot on target, Ross Forbes’s free-kick right on half-time despatched with aplomb and hit so hard the keeper couldn’t keep it out. Their goal was a defensive travesty, a litany of mistakes strating with a poor Stuart Carswell ball out (I’m not blaming him, he’s making a fair fist of centre back duties despite being a midfielder, injury needs must) an atrocious Andy Dowie (lack of) challenge and Chris Smith in goal didn’t cover himself in glory with his effort at saving it.

The start was bizarre. We walked out in Stenny’s away kit – or a Stenny away kit an Argentina clone, blue and white stripes and back shorts. Seems the ref didn’t read our email asking if our red strip would be okay. It’s the second time I’ve seen us in the home team’s away kit. The first was at Bayview (the old Bayview) many, many moons ago.

Second half was a different game – after we let them waltz through our defence to retake the lead. We then totally dominated (apart from the odd break) and had a great chance from a Dom Thomas cross which Kyle Hutton put over. Ryan Thomson had an effort from a rebound blocked.

But the amazing thing was the series of corners from Ross Forbes, one hitting the bar and another the near post with a third flapped at by the keeper. If only we had somebody to attack the ball Forbes’s delivery could be decisive but we lack height just now.

Forbes stepped up again right at the death to fire an even better placed free-kick than his first in off the post. Cue celebrations.

The comments from some Sons fans when we were 2-1 down were less than helpful. I don’t seriously believe the players aren’t trying. The time that brought it to a head was a gamble on where the ball would break that didn’t come off. It might have looked like it but it wasn’t laziness on the player’s part – just a misjudgement. If we’d been going well it would never have raised its head as an issue. But we aren’t going well.

I doubt the January transfer/signing window will change much either.

Raith Rovers 4-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Stark’s Park, 15/12/18

For forty five minutes of this we were impressive, knocking the ball about well and with Dom Thomas shooting on sight. (Mostly wildly it has to be said.) Despite that we looked a little shaky at the back – not surprising given that Stuart Carswell isn’t a centre back but was slotted in there due to necessity.

It wasn’t Thomas but Ross Forbes who scored a worldy though. He picked up a loose Raith pass about ten yards inside their half, looked up and lobbed the keeper right into the top corner.

Unfortunately we didn’t keep the lead for long. But the goal should not have stood as it came in a passage of play following a Raith throw-in which was a foul throw (a persistent occurence during this game. Why refs and linesmen don’t punish these I don’t know.)

But we got ourselves ahead again when Bobby Barr released Cammy Ballantyne to whip a vicious cross across the face of the goal which Michael Paton (apparently; It was up the far end and diificult to identify) only had to touch to score but made sure hit the back of the net.

Half-time and I was of course worried we would not hold out but it wasn’t till after the hour mark we conceded again. Too easily, with former Son Kevin Nisbet on the mark.

Their third was perhaps coming as we had faded a bit but we could have got ours if Dom Thomas’s free-kick hadn’t been too near the keeper. It was an acrobatic effort back across the goal from a cross hit long.

The fourth was a severe disappointment as the performance up to then hadn’t deserved it but resistance just melted away from him for another former Son Lewis Vaughan to put even a draw beyond us.

The first half presented grounds for optimism for the rest of the season. The second half didn’t.

Stenhousemuir 2-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Ochilview, 1/9/18.

There was a dreadful inevitability about this.

Apart from a few minutes after they equalised – when it looked like the score might be something like six each so fragile did both defences appear – we seemed mostly in control, yet without managing to create clear chances, but not quite secure at the back.

New loanee Jack Aitchison put himself about a bit and had some neat touches, it was his control and pass that set up Iain Russell for the cross which Rory Loy flicked on for Bobby Barr to score, but I suspect he found the game an eye-opener – not least in not getting free-kicks against adult defenders who disguise the foul well. Also new at centre-half Scott Allardice seemed nervy at times while midfielder Brad Spencer could be careless with his passing.

That equaliser posed several questions as to positioning, both of the defence and goalkeeper Grant Adam, whose tendency to flap at balls in the air and to slice right-footed clearances thankfully wasn’t too prominent in this game. He doesn’t get much depth on his kicks though.

Edited to add:- I’d forgotten the great pass Aitchison laid across the box for Bobby Barr in the second half. Unfortunately Barr pulled it just wide.

The real game changer was the substitution of Ryan Thomson by Ross Forbes. Okay manager Stevie Aitken did it to try to win the game and Forbes made two great passes and had a shot on goal within minutes of coming on but while Thomson hadn’t looked entirely comfortable and was on a booking he made a fair fist of right back but Spencer looked like he’d never played there in his life. Twice he was got at and we survived the resultant cross. Not the third time.

And so after five games we sit second from bottom and only off the bottom spot by goal difference. The four teams we’ve not yet faced are above us – in some cases considerably.

I do hope that once the injuries clear up things will improve but at the moment it’s looking like the last time we dropped down into Tier 3.

A straight fall into Tier 4 (which was followed by total rock bottom of that division the next season.)

This time around there isn’t the safety net of no relegation out of there.

Brechin City 3-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Glebe Park, 25/8/18.

OK we didn’t have our injury problems to seek – we couldn’t fill the bench yesterday – so players were shoehorned in all over the place and then we suffered two more injuries during the game.

But…

We were two goals up. And seemingly cruising.

Fair enough Brechin had more of the ball early on but they never threatened to score. Bobby Barr beat his man and slipped over a great cross which Rory Loy couldn’t put on target. Then a corner wasn’t cleared away but fell to Barr on the other edge of the box. His effort looked like a cross to me – intended for Iain Russell – but the keeper’s fingertips perhaps diverted it enough for it to make the net. Not long after Iain Russell was one-on-one but the keeper managed to get his knee to the shot.

Michael Paton had been looking comfortable enough but suddenly pulled up after a challenge clutching his hamstring. Sub 1. Ross Forbes on.

Grant Adam in goal never inspired confidence, punching balls he could easily catch and an absolute nightmare on his right foot.

At half-time Stuart Carswell came out of the dressing room to run about and stretch a bit but didn’t last long after the interval, leaving to make room for Sub 2, a trialist (Brad Spencer apparently.)

He it was who cracked in the second a bit after Iain Russell had had a headed chance from a Bobby Barr cross which maybe came a bit behind him. From there it ought to have been plain enough sailing but the ref gave them a free-kick on the halfway line for a foul that never was and they managed to score from the attack. From then on it was not comfortable watching. Our makeshift defence began to creak and bend and despite some flurries – Rory Loy having the feet taken from him in their box only for nothing to be given, Bobby Barr being cleaned out on the edge of their box, a failure to pull back the play when Iain Russell was caught after releasing the ball and absolutely clattered into the surround fence resulting in an offside goal from third sub Calum Gallagher (well taken but offside.) No goal, no free kick. The ref by this time was a joke. He’d simply stopped giving fouls for anything.

Our defence by this time had become a shambles especially when our midfielders or attackers lost possession. Brechin more or less walked through it for their last two goals, the final one way into injury time. I suppose it’s karma for our first win there last season also through an injury time goal.

Things are not looking good though.

If they don’t look up we’re heading for a relegation battle.

Even this early in the season.

East Fife 0-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, New Bayview*, 4/8/18.

A welcome three points and deserved in the end. It’s a long time since I’ve felt comfortable watching us protecting a lead. It didn’t seem likely they’d score once we’d gone ahead.

Having said that they ought to have scored in the first half. Their forward got more or less a free header which Grant Adam palmed away to the side but none of our defenders picked up the loose ball and the East Fife player who did looked to have an open goal after rounding Adam but didn’t pull the trigger and ended up moving across goal and having his final shot blocked.

We were pretty anonymous for the first quarter but came into the game towards half-time. Stuart Carswell picked up a clever Ross Forbes free kick on the edge of the box and forced a save then Willie Dyer’s cross from an overlap nearly went in, clipping the underside of the bar.

The second half had barely started when we went ahead from a Ross Forbes corner, Andy Dowie powering it in. The second goal was another Forbes corner but from the away end it looked like the keeper had saved Calum Gallagher’s header. The linesman and ref gave it, though, and there was no protest from the home side.

From then on we held them at bay reasonably easily. Sub Michael Paton latched on to a superb Forbes through ball, beat their keeper but the ball rebounded from the post.

Of the players new to me Cammy Ballantyne had a good spark about him at right back before going off injured and Rory Loy bristled about up front and did his share of tracking back too.

Folk round me were trying to remember the last time we’d won the first league game of a season. I realised on the way home it wasn’t that long ago, three years to be precise. We won the first two then.

Still early days though.

*Call it the Locality Hub Bayview Stadium if you must.

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