Forth 1 Royal Albert 2
Forth lost 2-1 to Royal Albert at a wet Kingshill Park on Saturday. Chris Lennon gave the Wanderers the lead after 3 minutes but the Albert came storming back to equalise and could consider themselves unfortunate not to be ahead at half-time. The second half hinged on two dead balls, Chris Lennon failing to convert his penalty before Barry Murdoch curled home a free kick two minutes later for what proved to be the winner. It was an improved second half performance from Forth, despite the dismissal of Jim Dick for two yellow cards, but it failed to yield an equaliser.
In bitterly cold and wet conditions, it was the Albert who showed first, Alan Campbell beating the offside trap, but Forth keeper Paul McKane came out and did enough to deflect the ball for a corner which amounted to nothing. The Wanderers then took the lead in the third minute with their first attack of the match, an inch perfect ball from Jamie Lindsay playing in Chris Lennon behind the Albert defence and the Forth striker made no mistake to put his side a goal up.
The Wanderers almost increased their lead when a poor kick out from Albert keeper Craig Smith found it’s way only as far as Kris Dick who made space for himself before firing a shot off the top of the crossbar and out. A let off for the Albert who began to exert some pressure on the Forth defence, David Hamilton seeing a dangerous shot blocked for a corner after 14 minutes. And an equaliser almost arrived from the resultant corner, McKane just managing to claw the wicked inswinging ball back from the line with the Albert players claiming a goal.
The equaliser was merely delayed however and arrived on 20 minutes.The Wanderers were dispossessed just inside the Albert half and with Forth full back Graeme Goodall out of position, Scott MacLachlan was given space to advance down the right before measuring his cross to perfection and finding the onrushing Allan Campbell who netted from close range. A deserved equaliser which heralded a good spell of play for the Albert, Campbell just failing to reach a cross with his head and Mustafa Elzubaidi firing a in a shot which McKane held as they sought to gain the advantage.
Forth had rarely been seen as an attacking force but a great move after 33 minutes involving Jamie Lindsay and Ian Harty saw Chris Lennon net from close range only to be ruled offside by the referee. As half time approached the Albert had two further chances to go in front. Firstly, Steven Clark intercepted a Jordan Smith back header and lobbed McKane only for Barry Canning to sweep up the danger then Elzubaidi unleashed a powerful shot which McKane seemed to turn over, although the referee awarded a bye kick much to the consternation of the Albert players. However, the interval arrived with honours even.
The second half was only 3 minutes old when Forth were presented with an opportunity to regain the lead when a penalty was awarded after Jamie Lindsay was upended in the box. Chris Lennon stepped up but Albert keeper Craig Smith saved his kick to keep his side level. This was to prove pivotal as Royal Albert took the lead barely two minutes later when Barry Murdoch bent a free kick from the edge of the box around the Forth wall and into the net.
Things worsened for the Wanderers when John Watson was carried off on a stretcher, incurring ligament,tendon and muscle damage at the top of his ankle, before Jim Dick received his marching orders after 67 minutes, receiving a second yellow card for a rash challenge.
These setbacks seemed to have a positive effect on the Wanderers however and they began to dominate the latter stages of the game. Jamie Lindsay came close on 72 minutes, his powerful shot looking netbound until a deflection took it away for a corner. Lennon then came close with a 30 yard free kick which sailed narrowly past the post with Smith at full stretch, but despite the territorial advantage an equaliser wouldn’t come and the Albert held on for victory.
Overall, a patchy performance from the Wanderers who will rue the missed penalty and the bearing it undoubtedly had on the game. No fixture next week before the Wanderers travel to Port Glasgow on the 20th seeking revenge for their defeat in the opening game of the season.
Forth team : McKane,Goodall(Howson),Corbett,Smith,Canning,Watson(Fry),Lindsay,J.Dick,