Forth 0 Port Glasgow 1
Forth lost 1-0 to Port Glasgow in their opening league match at Kingshill Park yesterday. It was a tale of two penalties in a fairly even encounter, Jojo Connelly scoring for the visitors after 23 minutes and Jamie Lindsay seeing his penalty saved with 12 minutes to go.
Injuries and suspensions limited the team selection of Forth manager Chris McGroarty and Martin Harty and Jamie Lindsay started, despite both not being fully fit.
The Wanderers were first to threaten after 6 minutes but Andrew Gilchrist saw his shot deflected into Port keeper Robbie Graham’s hands. At the other end, Scott Nugent tried an audacious lob over Forth keeper Glenn Weir but the ball drifted just over the bar. It was an open game which flowed from end to end and Port came close again after 8 minutes, but a curling shot drifted just wide.
Gilchrist was next to threaten for Forth, bursting through the Port defence, but his final shot was wide of the target. A goal finally arrived after 22 minutes and it was the visitors who were celebrating. Ross Kearns was brought down in the box by Jim Dick and Jojo Connelly calmly sent Weir the wrong way from the spot.
Chris McGroarty then fired a free kick straight at Graham before Nugent forced a fine save from Glenn Weir, but as half time approached Forth were in the ascendancy and Martin Harty had the ball in the net after 39 minutes. The Forth man had raced on to a long ball from defence and directed a powerful header past Graham, but the referee adjudged him to be offside, much to the annoyance of the home support.
Harty came close again a minute from the interval, but he elected to shoot rather than round the advancing Graham and the ball was blocked. Gilchrist then tried to lob Graham direct from a free kick but the Port stopper was equal to the task and the interval arrived with the visitors a goal up.
Forth began the second half as they’d finished the first and came close to equalising on 52 minutes. Andrew Gilchrist initially had a shot blocked and despite loud penalty appeals the ball fell to David Grant who also had his shot blocked, prompting further penalty appeals,before Martin Harty saw his shot turned around the post by Graham. Gilchrist then fired a volley over after a free kick was headed into his path.
Port always looked dangerous on the break however and Brendan Sharpe dragged his shot wide after a free kick was played across the box to him, before Glenn Weir got down well to turn a Brendan Grana shot away for a corner. Scott Nugent then fired wide before Weir held a speculative Paul Coyle free kick at the second attempt.
The Wanderers had an opportunity to restore parity on 78 minutes when Tony Traynor was fouled in the box by the combined efforts of two defenders and a penalty awarded. Jamie Lindsay stepped up but Graham guessed correctly and threw himself to his right to turn the ball away.
Forth continued to press for an equaliser, committing men forward and leaving them susceptible to a quick Port break. From one of those, Nugent found himself through on Weir and tumbled theatrically to the ground, only for the referee to book him for simulation. Forth continued to press in the final minutes but the Port defence was resolute and they held out for victory.
A disappointing result but a reasonable performance from a depleted Forth side, who have a free week next week before facing Rossvale at Kingshill in a fortnight.
Forth team : Weir,J.Dick,McQuade,McMullen,Grant,McGroarty,Harty(Howson),K.Dick,