Category: News

SWFL1 North: Forfar Farmington U23 2 Dundee United 3

Forfar Farmington and Dundee United met in a five goal thriller on Sunday at Station Park with the visitors taking all three points in the SWFL1 North.

United went ahead through Fiona Mearns and despite Beth Shillitto equalising, Derrian Gollan and Mearns restored their lead with Cheryl Kilcoyne netting a late penalty as Farmington came close to taking something from the game.

Farmington captain Cheryl Kilcoyne came close to netting in the 2nd minute when her corner evaded almost everyone with Leia Swan doing well to hook the set piece off the line.

The visitors took the lead after nine minutes; Fiona Mearns forcing her way through the defence before burying home past McKay.

Nicola Davidson, in the squad for some much needed match fitness ahead of the Premier League starting next week, almost netted an instant equaliser but she could only watch her long range strike fly over the bar.

Kilcoyne saw her effort eight minutes later pushed wide by Becky Cameron with the resultant corner being cleared as far as Davidson, her volley missing the target.

Zoe Moreland had a chance saved before Davidson nodded home on the half hour mark, her celebrations cut short for a shove in the build up.

United started to edge their way in to the game more following this; Stacey McFadyen sent a lob wide of the mark before Derrian Gollan rounded McKay and thought she had scored only for Becky McMillan to clear the danger on the line.

Eight minutes in to the second half Kilcoyne did well to set up Beth Shillitto however the attacker couldn’t create enough space and her shot was blocked.

Shillitto did go one better in the 57th minute when she pounced on a loose ball after Kilcoyne’s shot was spilled and gleefully bundled the ball in to the empty goal.

Kilcoyne sent a shot inches over on the hour mark but following the goal kick United were back in front. Gollan was sent clear by McFadyen despite strong offside shouts from Farmington and the former Forfar striker fired low under McKay.

Gollan could have had another two minutes later but for McMillan again with the defender racing back to clear off the line.

Farmington looked to level once more but were dealt a blow in the 68th minute; Mearns nodding her second from a McCafferty cross.

Both sides were attempting to force their way through the respective defences but were denied time and time again until the 87th minute when Forfar earned a corner. From the set piece the ball was headed back out to Kilcoyne and she made her way in to the box before being taken out by Mearns for a penalty; the United player earning a booking for her troubles.

Kilcoyne dusted herself off to fire the spot kick high beyond Cameron to create a nervy final few minutes.

Forfar were throwing everything they had at United and came close through Kilcoyne once again, her shot in injury time flying inches wide.

The final whistle went on an exciting game where it could have went either way with Farmington disappointed not to take a deserved point while United remain unbeaten.

Forfar Farmington U23: Chantelle McKay, Leah White, Anne Murrie, Beth Shillitto, Nicola Davidson, Rebecca McMillan, Sophie Young (Lois Millar 59), Jane Ritchie (Chloe Reilly 77), Zoe Moreland (Hannah Johnston 81), Cheryl Kilcoyne, Ellie Cook (Lynsey Tugman 46)

Sub not used: Beth Warwick

Dundee United: Becky Cameron, Laurie Denney, Kirsty Oliphant, Fiona Mearns, Leia Swan, Emma Sommerville, Chloe Robertson (Megan Robb 54), Eirinn McCafferty, Stacey McFadyen, Megan Burns, Derrian Gollan

Subs not used: Jena Jamieson, Anna Turfus, Emily Morton, Catriona Caine

White Reaping The Benefits of Performance Squad Set-Up

Leah White was disappointed to lose in Forfar Farmington’s final pre-season game on Sunday but believes it will help them prepare for their season opener in a fortnight.

The side travelled to Hamilton Accies’ New Douglas Park and despite Robyn Smith and Kirsty Deans hauling it back from 2-0, a late penalty saw Hamilton edge a game that could have gone either way.

White feels that although they lost, they can take positives from their second half performance into their first league game against East Fife on March 12th.

She said: “It is disappointing to lose today despite a great team performance. The game was close throughout and other than conceding a few unlucky goals we were competing well and the game could have gone either way.”

“The second half had a much higher intensity about it and I think everyone contributed to the game effectively and worked hard for each other to create opportunities. On the whole I think it was a really good team performance in which we can take positives from moving into the upcoming season.”

The 16 year old defender came off the bench midway through the second half and reckons she is gradually improving in a slightly more attacking role.

“Coming on as a sub today, I feel like I performed well and contributed to the team effectively. I’m not naturally an attacking player but I feel like I’m coping well with playing on the wing and helping to create opportunities for the team. All of the girls make me feel welcome and are so encouraging on the pitch which makes playing in the game a whole lot easier.”

White has been involved with the Premier League match day squad over pre-season and the youngster hopes she can build on this and force her way in to the starting XI over the course of the season.

She explained: “I have really enjoyed playing with the SWPL team over preseason and I think it has been a really positive experience for me. Having the opportunity to play with girls of such a high standard is great and I think it will really benefit me as a footballer.”

“I hope if I continue to work hard in training that I will continue to play with the SWPL team and hopefully impress Mark and be given the opportunity of a position in the starting 11.”

The club began a new project over the final months of 2016, using one Performance Squad for their senior and U23 match day squads. White has been a part of this and believes that it has helped the younger players improve weekly.

“I think the creation of the performance squad was great and I feel like it is really beneficial to players like myself, Caitlin Mitchell and the rest of the younger girls. Training with such experienced footballers and coaches has really boosted my confidence and I hope I continue to improve in this positive coaching environment. Training with the senior players is really beneficial as they are always looking for ways to give you advice and help you become a better footballer.”

McCallum Overjoyed To Represent Country

Philippa McCallum was the latest to represent the club for their country last week when she appeared for the Scotland U16’s in a Development Tournament.

The 14 year old started the second and third games against Iceland and Czech Republic, helping the Scots keep a clean sheet in both while grabbing an assist in the former game.

McCallum spoke of her delight to be appearing for her country and reckons it was a privilege to be involved.

She said: “It feels fantastic to be involved with the national squad at that level.  I feel really proud to be representing them. I’m very pleased with all of my performances during the tournament and felt really privileged to be on the pitch.”

The youngster, who can play in the centre of midfield or at left back hopes she can elevate herself to the older national squads and one day play in the Premier League with Farmington. McCallum has already trained in the club’s Performance Squad and hopes the good run can continue.

“I hope to one day play for the first team at Farmington and hopefully this will help me continue to play at international level for a long time.”

She continued: “I’ve been asked to train with the senior squad before and hopefully this will help me progress as a team player at that level.”

Middleton Departs For Tannadice Academy Role

The club can announce that performance analyst Bryan Middleton has departed the club to take up a similar role with Scottish Professional Football League side Dundee United’s academy.

Middleton joined the club at the beginning of 2015 and has been a massive help to the Premier League side, providing the players and staff with vital analysis.

The 30 year old Dundonian informed head coach Mark Nisbet of his decision to take up a role with the Championship side late last week and admits that while he is excited at the opportunity, it was difficult to make his decision.

“I am looking forward to getting my teeth into a new challenge. It’s been a really tough decision to leave Farmington, but it was too good an opportunity to turn down.”

“I’m friends with one of the youth scouts at Dundee United and in a recent meeting, he put forward my name to Brian Grant, the senior academy manager at the club, with regards to potentially providing analysis to the youth teams. This is something that is likely being considered by many clubs around the country with the new performance at the SFA, Malky Mackay, outlining his vision to raise the quality of club academies in the country as part of Project Brave.”

Middleton thanked the club for allowing him the opportunity and praised everyone he has dealt with in the two years spent at Station Park.

“I’ve enjoyed my time at the club immensely. I’ve gained a lot more from the role than I could have possibly wished for. I’ve been able to experience a mixture of highs and lows, from the unbeaten run in 2015 that avoided relegation, to unfortunately being unable to pull off the same feat in the 2016 season.”

He continued: “The practical experience gained has been invaluable and working in the women’s game has opened doors to other opportunities, such as working with the SFA, that would not have been possible had the club not taken me on board. I can’t speak highly enough of the players and staff I’ve worked with over the past two years, and I’m forever in the club’s debt for the opportunity they’ve provided me with.”

Middleton was also thankful to Mark Nisbet for being so understanding when he told the head coach of the opportunity he was presented with.

He explained: “Mark was happy for me to have been offered the opportunity to progress on my own career path into professional sport. While the timing is not ideal, with SWPL season just beginning, these opportunities have to be grasped with both hands, and I think Mark understood my reasons for moving on and he wished me the best of luck.”

With Farmington looking to bounce back to SWPL1 at the first attempt this season, Middleton reckons they have a great chance and feels the Performance Squad set up can only work wonders for the players.

“I think they have a great chance of returning to SWPL1 at the first attempt. The core of last year’s squad has been kept together, and with the restructuring of the team to become a larger performance squad, the younger players at the club are only going to improve by being able to train and play alongside experienced players who have been at the top level of the women’s game in Scotland for many years.”

“Despite Farmington being run entirely by volunteers, I think that you’d struggle to find a more professional setup in SWPL1 or SWPL2. Everything is in place for the players to develop and perform to their best level, week-in, week-out.”

Farmington Youngsters Involved In SFA Coaching Course

The club are encouraging their young footballers to expand on their football knowledge by getting involved in coaching courses.

16 year old Performance Squad members Leah White and Caitlin Mitchell along with 18 year old Rachelle Milton from our Ladies squad all took part in the recent SFA East Region 1.1 Early Touches course at Brechin High School.

All three girls have been involved with the club’s youth setup by coaching the U7 and U9 groups. It is an ideal situation to have these young women, who have achieved so much at Farmington, help with the junior girls and offer real female football role models for the youngsters at the club.

Junior Co-ordinator Jane Luckhurst is pleased to see players get involved with coaching younger girls, explaining: “In order to be successful our club relies heavily on volunteer help, as every club does, but the ideal situation would be if we could encourage more players to get involved in the coaching side of the club. This allows them to pass on their knowledge to the junior girls, and the junior girls are delighted to have the older players as coaches.”

Leah, Caitlin and Rachelle will all be taking part in the Level 1.2 course next month.

Debio Satisfied With Debut Performance

Despite the result, Alison Debio was delighted with her debut performance as Forfar Farmington were edged out by Celtic in the first round of the Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup.

A Natalie Ross goal midway through the first half was enough for the hosts with Farmington putting in a fantastic performance against their SWPL1 opponents.

The 20 year old was making her first competitive appearance since joining Forfar in December and felt the team worked well to combat an attacking Celtic side.

She said: “I’m really happy with Sunday’s performance. Celtic tried to play their way around us with very little success. We set up very well and were very secure and disciplined which meant Celtic had no answers for the problems we caused them and resorted to playing long balls which we dealt with very well. The whole team played really well together and left everything on the pitch, what more can you ask for.”

The hard working defender has been playing in a more advanced role during pre-season in midfield and reckons that she is adjusting well while building match fitness.

“I’m still adjusting to playing in midfield but I feel like the 80 minutes I played today will serve me well for the start of the league, only a few weeks away.”

“Today we had to be disciplined to keep Celtic out and I feel like playing with this team my performances can only get better and I can grow into the role I have been tasked with.”

Debio made her return to competitive football after a spell away while playing university football and the former Cumbernauld Colts player was elated to be back at a competitive level against a team such as Celtic.

“Playing against teams like Celtic is always a great game to be involved in, to have played against them and got a result which was so well fought for by the team was a pleasure and I thoroughly look forward to playing the rest of the season with this great group of girls.”

The side now face a three week wait until their opening SWPL2 fixture at home to East Fife and while they will have friendlies against Hamilton and Rangers, Debio reckons the side can build on Sunday’s performance going in to the season.

“Today we all worked for each other and I don’t think anyone could have given any more, we were looking to create chances under our terms and move forward as a unit as well as defending solidly all over the pitch.”

“Everyone had a great game today and we are all understanding our roles and improving every week which can only leave us in a great position for the start of the league campaign.”

Farmington Edged Out By Celtic in League Cup First Round

Forfar Farmington exited the Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup at the first round following a 1-0 defeat at Celtic despite an impressive showing.

The side fought for each and every ball for the full 90 minutes, even when Gemma Collier was sent off for two bookable offences.

Farmington fielded two of their close season signings with Laura Parsley and Alison Debio starting with Beth Shillitto, Erin Cattanach and Caitlin Mitchell making only their second start for the senior team.

Celtic attempted to take an early lead with Heather Richards firing over from the edge of the box while a header flew over the bar in the first ten minutes.

Natalie Ross broke the deadlock for the hosts in the 18th minute; despite some resolute defending from Forfar, the ball was knocked down for her and she fired low past McNicoll from 20 yards.

Forfar were strong in frustrating Celtic to resorting to long balls and refusing to let their heads go down following the goal; a trait that had been a nuisance last season.

Nicola Davidson came close for Farmington with an effort that went over from the edge of the box before Sarah Ewens sent a weak effort past the post at the other end.

The second half was largely a quiet affair, with both defences on top for the most part.

Gemma Collier was booked with twenty minutes left for a foul in the middle of the park and in the 84th minute Farmington were dealt a blow when she was deemed to have fouled Ruesha Littlejohn on the edge of the box and was shown a second yellow.

Despite this, Farmington didn’t give up and kept attacking until the end, showing encouraging signs ahead of the new league season in three weeks.

Coach Kev Candy was pleased with how the team performed, adding: “We’re really happy with the players, we set out with a specific game plan to try and contain Celtic as best we could.”

“I felt the players executed that to the letter, the backline and keeper were phenomenal today. The plaudits go throughout the team however, everyone was magnificent today.”

Celtic: Megan Cunningham, Kelsey Hodges (Mairead Fulton 70), Ellis Dalgleish (Jamie-Lee Napier 70), Natalie Ross, Sarah Crilly, Sarah Ewens, Courtney Whyte, Kelly Clark, Georgie Rafferty (Nicole Cameron 79), Ruesha Littlejohn, Heather Richards

Subs not used: Keira Gibson (gk)

Forfar Farmington: Fiona McNicoll, Gemma Collier, Erin Cattanach, Laura Parsley, Beth Shillitto, Robyn Smith, Nicola Davidson, Alana Bruce (Kayleigh Noble 68), Megan McCarthy, Caitlin Mitchell, Alison Debio (Leah White 79)

Subs not used: Kirsty Deans, Julia Scott, Hannah Dryden (gk)

Greenhill Departs For WSL1 Side Yeovil Town

The club can announce that Ewan Greenhill has departed the club to take up a role at Women’s Super League 1 side Yeovil Town.

The 25 year old leaves with the best wishes of all at Forfar Farmington as he moves down south to the 2016 WSL2 champions as their new Sports Scientist and Strength & Conditioning Coach.

Speaking before his departure, Greenhill expressed his delight at the opportunity while regretting being unable to finish what he started at both Farmington and SPFL side Arbroath.

“I’m really excited to start my new position, it’s another step in the career for me although I’m disappointed I’m not able to finish projects started here and at Arbroath. It all happened so quickly, I put my name in for the job then I was interviewed a couple weeks later and was told the next day it’s yours.”

Greenhill joined the club originally in 2010 for a three year spell before returning with head coach Mark Nisbet and goalkeeping coach Kev Candy in late 2015 as Head of Sports Science & Medicine and reckons he owes a lot to them for the experience gained.

He said: “Mark and Kev knew when I first got the offer and they knew I’d not be here forever. They’re happy for me and probably delighted they’ll not get as much of a ripping anymore. It will be weird for us all, we’ve been working together in some form since 2010 and to them and the club I owe a great deal for the opportunity and time invested in me.”

The sports scientist has been involved in the men’s game as well, with spells at three of the Angus quartet in Forfar Athletic, Brechin City and Arbroath.

He linked up with Arbroath manager Dick Campbell at Forfar in January 2014, moving on following Campbell’s departure in late 2015 with a short stint at Brechin, helping them to stay in League One.

Greenhill then rejoined Campbell at Arbroath in the summer and explained that the staff at the Gayfield club were delighted to see him further his career.

“The gaffer and staff were chuffed for me to go and stand on my own two feet and show what I can do, they have always said they wanted to see me progress. They’ve looked after me for over three years now and I owe them a lot as to what it takes to be in amongst pro football.”

With Farmington’s season beginning in just a few weeks, Greenhill reckons as long as they focus on themselves, they had a good chance of promotion from SWPL2.

“They definitely stand a good chance, especially considering the experience in that squad. The league will be competitive but you have to take care of yourself first and foremost with prep and then performances once it all starts, don’t worry what others are doing.”

Yeovil begin their WSL Spring Series in April with a home game against former WSL champions Liverpool and the Glovers face trips to Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City in their first run in the top flight.

With the Spring Series set up to prepare the teams for the Euros ahead of a switch to a winter season for 2017-18, Ewan is looking forward to getting involved with the squad.

“The Spring Series is to get competitive games prior to the Euros but for me it’s a dry run. We get to see how players perform and handle the occasion, and see if all of our planned ways of working around matches come off or not. We want to do well but the big one for me is when the full season starts in September.”

Everyone associated with Forfar Farmington would like to thank Ewan for his efforts during his time with the club and wish him all the best with Yeovil.

Nisbet Happy With Pre-Season Preparations

Mark Nisbet is pleased with how pre-season has gone so far for Forfar Farmington but admits he is still in the market for a couple of players.

The Farmington head coach oversaw the side’s first pre-season fixture on Sunday as Kirsty Deans netted in the 4-1 loss to Spartans in a scoreline that flattered the Edinburgh side.

Nisbet was happy with his side’s overall performance and reckons they were unlucky not to score more than the one goal with chances from Laura Parsley and Leah White close to finding the back of the net.

He said: “I’m happy overall with the performance. We have asked the players to carry out various tasks during the game and on the whole they did. A bit of rustiness cost us a couple of goals today but on the positive side of things I thought we carried a good threat going forward and probably should have scored another couple of goals.”

The squad that travelled to Edinburgh featured some of the younger players including U15 goalkeeper Oliwia Gach and while she was an unused substitute, Nisbet believes the experience will stand players such as her in good stead.

“I have no doubt that the experience will give her a boost. This is one of the benefits on the route we have decided to take and as the season progresses we will see that coming back to help us.”

Nisbet has made six signings over the close season, with Chantelle McKay, Laura Parsley, Alison Debio, Lynsey Tugman, Beth Warwick and Suzie Adam joining and he is delighted with their performance in training sessions so far.

“I’ve been delighted with how the players have fitted in during the sessions. The players have taken on the coaching points and really mixed well with the others. The big thing for me is that they understand what the club wants and are buying into that.”

He continued: “I’d like to hopefully add another two or three before our competitive games start just to give us a bit more depth and competition for places in the group.”

The SWPL and U23 squads were combined at the end of the 2016 season to create a Performance Squad and Nisbet believes that he is starting to see the benefits of the decision already.

“At this early stage it’s already allowing me to see more of the players coming through and being able to work with them and the 23’s staff has made a huge difference. I’m really happy with how things have gone so far.”