Category: SWPL Team News

Smith Frustrated With Below-Par Performance

Robyn Smith was disappointed that Forfar Farmington ‘didn’t turn up’ in their defeat to Spartans on Sunday.

The winger reckons games like Sunday are exactly the type of games they should be looking to win if they want to establish themselves back in the top flight.

24 year old Smith feels the squad let themselves and the backroom staff down in Sunday’s defeat while giving opponents Spartans credit for their game plan.

“Sunday’s game was disappointing as we knew we could go out there and get another 3 points on the board and instead we didn’t even turn up. We let ourselves and the coaching staff down in doing so, credit to Spartans as they came out and wanted to win and they did exactly that.”

She continued: “These are the games that we should be going out and looking for the 3 points, it’s fine saying we put in a good performance against the top teams but it’s these games we need to come out on top and something just didn’t click.”

Farmington had played well in their first three league games and Smith feels they need to return to those performances otherwise they will struggle to pick up points.

“We got off to a good start with 3 points against Hamilton and put in two really good performance against the top teams and we’ve got ourselves into the League Cup semi-final so to perform like we did was disappointing.”

“We need to put in the performances like we did against Hibs and Celtic to ensure we get the points we’re looking for from the other games, because if we don’t, we are going to get punished and be walking away without any points.”

The former Jeanfield Swifts winger has been happy with her season so far but believes there is still room for improvement.

“I feel like I’ve performed well so far, making the exception of Sunday that is. I feel like I’ve started to understand more of my role and what not to do but I know there is always room for improvement.”

With a three week break since their previous game, it has allowed long term injury victims Sophie Milligan, Caroline Heron and Lindsey Dunbar to return to full training and Smith is delighted to see the trio return and boost the squad.

“It’s always great to see the injured players coming back in, especially Sophie and Caroline, both girls have been unfortunate and sustained injuries just before the season had started so it was a real blow to both of them, having them back will be a massive boost.”

“Lindsey has had a difficult time with not knowing what was up, but she’s worked hard to get back into training and it’s great to see her back and working to get herself back into the squad.”

Farmington now travel to Glasgow on Sunday to take on Glasgow City; Smith reckons they will always have a chance of taking something as long as they go there focused on the game and perform like they have done previously.

“We will regroup this week, put in a good week’s training and look to perform like we have done in previous games.”

“We are the underdogs in this game and no-one will expect us to win or even take anything from City as they are a top side but we are in this league for a reason and you never know what will happen on the day. We will go there focused on competing and see what happens come the final whistle.”

SBSSWPL1: Forfar Farmington 0 Spartans 2

Forfar Farmington put in an uncharacteristic performance on Sunday as they were deservedly defeated 2-0 by Spartans in the SBSSWPL1.

Goals in either half by Alana Marshall and Kaela McDonald-Nguah sealed all three points for the Edinburgh side at a sunny Station Park.

After a three week break, Mark Nisbet made two changes to his side with Alana Bruce and Hannah Stewart replacing Kirsty Deans and Erin Cattanach.

It was a slow start to the game with only one chance coming in the first twenty minutes as Kaela McDonald-Nguah headed wide for the visitors from an Alana Marshall corner.

Farmington’s first chance came after 24 minutes; Nicola Davidson sending a ball towards Danni McGinley and she combined with Robyn Smith and Hannah Stewart before McGinley sent her effort wide of the mark.

Kayleigh Brough saw her header held shortly after before Simone McMahon sliced wide at the other end.

Spartans took the lead seven minutes before the break through a fantastic strike by Marshall from 25 yards, giving Fiona McNicoll no chance.

McDonald-Nguah sent a weak effort into the arms of McNicoll with the final chance of the half falling to McGinley. A poor clearance fell to Tammy Harkin and she set up McGinley but she could only fire wide from the edge of the box.

Spartans looked to add to their advantage and came close in the 51st minute when Simone McMahon’s cross was deflected into the path of Elena Santoyo-Brown but her shot was pushed round the post by McNicoll.

After the hour mark Farmington had their own chances; Smith volleying wide before McGinley stabbed wide from a Stewart cross.

The lead was doubled in the 69th minute through McDonald-Nguah as she nodded home a Simone McMahon free kick at the front post.

This took the sting out of the game and despite Farmington improving, they could only create one clear cut chance as Kirsty Deans fired wide with four minutes remaining.

The result means Farmington drop to seventh in the league and Mark Nisbet will be looking for a vast improvement when they travel to take on third placed Glasgow City this Sunday.

Forfar Farmington: Fiona McNicoll, Danni McGinley, Robyn Smith, Nicola Davidson, Alana Bruce, Cheryl Kilcoyne (Kirsty Deans 58), Cassie Cowper, Megan McCarthy, Tammy Harkin, Hannah Stewart, Kayleigh Brough

Subs not used: Gemma Collier, Leah White, Erin Cattanach, Lindsey Dunbar, Sophie Milligan, Chantelle McKay

Spartans: Rachel Harrison, Nichola Mawson, Sarah Clelland, Simone McMahon, Dion McMahon, Bobbie Beveridge, Michaela McAlonie, Ronaigh Douglas (Zoe Johnstone 69), Alana Marshall, Kaela McDonald-Nguah (Rachel Walkingshaw 84), Elena Santoyo-Brown

Subs not used: Michelle Russell

Matchday Programme Now Available Online

Starting with this Sunday’s game against Spartans, our matchday programme will be available to view online for the first time.

The programme has only been available to those that have attended games since it was first printed but the club has taken the decision to switch from print to online.

The SBSSWPL1 side’s media officer Lee Smith explained the decision: “With ways to connect with people rapidly increasing, we are always looking for new ideas to improve the club’s social media footprint.”

“Although it has always been traditional to be able to go to a game and have a programme to read at half time, the reach available with a digital programme is that much greater. Having spoken to some clubs who have already made the switch from printed to digital, it felt like the right decision was to make the programmes available online.”

“Going digital will allow us to expand from the usual twelve pages and improve what some people feel is one of the best programmes in women’s football in this country.”

If you are attending Sunday’s game at Station Park, you will have the chance to purchase the final printed version of our matchday programme. This 12 page publication is available for just £1.00 and can be found at the shop.

This programme will be published online on Saturday afternoon.

The previous four programmes from the 2018 season are available to view on Issuu and can be found by clicking the link below:

https://issuu.com/forfarfarmington

Kilcoyne Thrilled With Start Made To Season

Cheryl Kilcoyne is pleased with how her teammates have started their return to the top flight and hopes they can continue their performances.

The side have won three out of their first five games in all competitons, keeping a clean sheet in every win and Kilcoyne reckons the side can continue to improve as the season progresses.

After last season’s SBSSWPL2 win, the versatile attacker admits this year is more challenging for the team but she is happy with the start made.

“I’m definitely happy with how we have started, especially as it is much more challenging than last season. We have had some good performances but there is still room for improvement. we will continue to work hard to improve our game and hopefully complete our goals for the season.”

The 23 year old has played in every game so far, netting once against Aberdeen in the Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup, and with this being her first full season in the top flight, she is keen to continue improving every week.

“I’m really enjoying the challenge so far and although I have played at all different levels over the years I’m definitely still gaining experience each week. I feel like my fitness has improved drastically this season but there’s weaknesses in other areas I’m keen to improve on. I hope to continue to contribute and maybe even grab a few more goals.”

Last season saw Farmington win the second tier of women’s football and reach the semi final of the Scottish Women’s Cup and the achievements have continued in 2018 as they made it to the semi finals of the SWPL Cup later this month.

Kilcoyne praised the team’s commitment and hard work on making it to a second semi final in six months.

“It’s definitely down to each individual involved with the team from coaching staff to players. We have worked hard together and set ourselves individual and team goals and reaching the semi final for the second year was one of them. We have been working on our strengths and weaknesses at training and it’s paying off and we are looking forward to the semi final.”

They will face Celtic at the Falkirk Stadium on April 29th and having faced them in a close defeat earlier this season Kilcoyne believes they can go one better.

“We definitely can improve and unfortunately it has been little mistakes that have cost us goals previously.  We will be determined to get a result from this game like any other game and a good performance and work rate should help us achieve that.”

In the close season head coach Mark Nisbet added three new faces with Sophie Milligan and Lindsey Dunbar also returning, Kilcoyne had no doubt in her mind that the quintet would gel with the group quickly, praising the club’s close knit community.

“Forfar Farmington has always been one of the most welcoming and family orientated clubs in Scotland so I had no doubt that the new faces would fit in and become part of the squad quickly. Everyone has adapted well and we are now more aware of each other’s strengths and they each have their own personalities which has really added to the squad.”

Cowper Eager To Contribute At Both Ends Of The Pitch

Cassie Cowper hopes she can chip in with more goals and help the team to more clean sheets after Sunday’s 2-0 win over Stirling University.

The 19 year old defender headed home the second goal to open her account for Farmington and she believes the side deserved the win.

With Farmington defeating Stirling, they made it to the semi final of the Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup and Cowper felt Forfar were the more composed side after a scrappy start by both sides.

“The first half hour of the game was very scrappy but after that we settled into it and in the second half we were definitely more composed and kept possession well at times. Keeping a clean sheet is always good as well.”

The former Aberdeen defender was happy with her own performance after netting her first goal for the club. She now hopes she can add a few more as the season continues.

“I felt I played well, I’ve been disappointed in my last two performances but I was pleased with my performance on Sunday.”

Cowper continued: “As a defender, I always think goals are rare but I can’t complain at scoring, hopefully I can go on and contribute with a few more over the course of the season.”

Cowper signed for Mark Nisbet’s side at the start of the year and has been ever present so far. While she has enjoyed her time so far, she believes the start made by the team so far has helped it become even more enjoyable.

“I’m enjoying it a lot, the girls have been good to me and I feel I’ve settled in well, we’ve had a good start to the season which helps to make it more enjoyable.”

Farmington have kept three clean sheets in their first five games with Cowper keen to use this to build confidence within the team.

“Keeping as many clean sheets as possible is a big thing, especially in the league. It is always a platform to go and push on from and build confidence within the side.”

The side now have a three week break before their next game due to the international break; Cowper reckons the stop-start beginning to the season doesn’t help any team as clubs try to build momentum.

“I don’t think the breaks and weeks with no games help any team. It is good to work on the training pitch with things but then it feels like ages before we can actually put what we have worked on into practice.”

SWPL Cup Quarter Final: Forfar Farmington 2 Stirling University 0

Forfar Farmington progressed to the semi finals of the Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup with a 2-0 win at home to Stirling University.

First half goals from Kayleigh Brough and Cassie Cowper sealed the win for Farmington with both sides struggling to break down the opposite defences.

The first half hour of the game was essentially a non event with neither side creating anything of note.

The first chance of the game came in the 33rd minute; Cheryl Kilcoyne cutting the ball back for Megan McCarthy however her effort was blocked.

Katy Morris failed to trouble Fiona McNicoll with Stirling’s first opportunity while at the other end McGinley and Nicola Davidson all came close.

The deadlock was broken seven minutes before the break; Kilcoyne saw a shot pushed wide and from Robyn Smith’s corner Tammy Harkin flicked the ball on with Kayleigh Brough stabbing home from close range.

The lead was doubled four minutes later as Smith swung a cross in from deep territory and Cassie Cowper was lingering at the back post to head past Logan.

Farmington looked to add to their lead at the start with Smith sending a cross-cum-shot inches over the bar before Kirsty Deans and Cowper came close.

Tammy Harkin nodded over from a Smith corner and Stirling’s first chance of the second half came just after the hour mark when sub Beth McKay sent a free kick just past the post.

Late on McCarthy sent a header into the sidenetting from a McGinley throw and Brough could have had a second in added time as she was set up by Cowper but she was crowded out by the Stirling defence.

The result caps off a pleasing few months for the club with two semi finals in the League and Scottish Cups to go along with their SBSSWPL2 championship.

McNicoll, Cattanach (Bruce 41), McGinley (Shillitto 89), Smith (White 86), Davidson, Deans, Kilcoyne (Noble 76), Cowper, McCarthy, Harkin (Debio 90), Brough

Subs not used: Scott, McKay (gk)

Milligan Frustrated With Injury Progress

Sophie Milligan is frustrated with her slow recovery from a knee injury suffered just twenty minutes into her first game back at Forfar Farmington.

The 25 year old defender returned to the club after a year in Australia and after coming on as a sub against Hearts in mid-January, she was forced off after tearing her medial collateral ligament and cartilage in her left knee.

The original diagnosis for her injury was roughly six to eight weeks before a return to training but to the disappointment of Milligan, she was forced to delay her rehab, meaning she has only recently started running again.

“I originally thought I would be out of full training for about 6-8 weeks, but it took quite a long time for things to settle initially before I could properly get into rehab. I’m now at the stage that I am able to run but changing direction and such like are still an issue.”

Milligan suffered the injury midway through the second half after a 50/50 challenge and while she realised something wasn’t right, she was forced into another challenge while waiting to be subbed off which she fears may have aggravated it.

She said: “I went into a 50/50 challenge during the game and went down a bit awkwardly in what I thought was just a bad knock. I continued to play on but it just didn’t feel right when I was moving. Whilst waiting to be substituted I had to make another challenge which didn’t help. As it turned out, I had torn my medial collateral ligament and cartilage in my left knee.”

Milligan made 41 appearances during her previous spell at the club between 2014 and 2016 and although she is delighted to be back at Station Park, she is disappointed to pick up the injury in her first game.

“It’s extremely frustrating. We all put in so much work during preseason and for me to not even be on the park 20 minutes was a major blow. It’s not even just the case of having to rehab my knee, once I’m back to full training I’ll then have to get my fitness back.”

While the versatile defender is frustrated at not being able to get on the park, she praised her teammates and the backroom staff for keeping her involved and motivating her. Milligan has experience as a physiotherapist so she managed an appearance on the park against Celtic as she covered the physio role on the bench with regular sports therapist Emma Cuthill unavailable.

“Any time you’re not on the park it can be frustrating, but the staff and girls have been really good in keeping me involved and feeling part of the squad, I even managed a cameo appearance on the park against Celtic running the physio bag. When you’re at training doing runs on your own, it can be really disheartening but there’s always shouts from the girls encouraging you to keep going.”

Farmington are currently fifth in the league after three games, defeating Hamilton before losing out to Hibernian and Celtic. Despite the defeats, the side have performed well so far and the defender feels they are working hard to improve areas that need improved in training.

“We started off well winning the opening league game, but unfortunately in the past two games the results haven’t reflected our effort and performances. We’ve lacked concentration in areas on a couple of occasions that have cost us, but it is something we have identified and are working on in training.”

Milligan was disappointed to see Sunday’s fixture at Stirling University cancelled following heavy snow in the central region and feels it may be difficult with the likelihood of it being rearranged during a midweek.

“The girls were prepared and really up for the game so it is disappointing for it to be cancelled, especially as it will probably be rescheduled as a midweek fixture, which can make it difficult with work and education commitments, but we will go into the game with the same preparation and aim.”

The side don’t have to wait long to battle Stirling as they face them this Sunday for a place in the semi final of the Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup. Milligan believes the postponed fixture won’t affect how they approach the game and reckons it’s a bonus to be drawn at home.

“We were going into last weekend’s fixture against Stirling looking for the win, so it doesn’t change the way we will approach the cup game.”

She continued: “Being drawn at home is definitely a bonus in that it’s your park that you are comfortable on and train on each week. You also have the same routine and preparation for each home game, which means we just need to concentrate on our performance. We always go into each game with the same intensity, regardless of whether it’s home or away.”

Farmington’s quarter final against Stirling University this Sunday is a 1pm kick off at Station Park, admission is £4 for adults and U16’s enter free of charge.

New Signing | Lindsey Dunbar

The club are delighted to announce the return of Lindsey Dunbar as Mark Nisbet continues to improve his squad.

Midfielder Dunbar returns to Farmington after a season at Aberdeen where she suffered an ankle injury that kept her out for the majority of the season as the Dons were relegated from the top flight.

The 20 year old made 65 appearances in her previous spell at the club, scoring twelve goals and will be looking to make up for lost time after returning to full training recently.

“It definitely feels great to be back training, I’m not free of my injury as of yet but it’s a good step in the right direction getting the boots back and training with the girls. My main focus just now is purely to get fit and be pain free, once I’ve done that I’ll eventually try to work my way into the starting XI.”

After leaving SBSSWPL2 bound Aberdeen at the end of the season, Dunbar felt it was an easy decision to come to a club like Forfar.

“I’ve always loved Forfar. The atmosphere and community feeling overall is like a family, which made my decision a lot easier to come back. the girls and coaching staff have been nothing but supportive and welcoming since my return. It’s always easier coming back to a club where you were previously and Forfar have always had a good professional set up which I felt was beneficial for me to help build my fitness ahead of returning to physically demanding games.”

The midfielder’s time at Aberdeen was disrupted by her ankle injury which she suffered just a few games into the season. While she isn’t disappointed with her spell at Aberdeen, she believes it maybe wasn’t the right decision or time for her to move.

“I wouldn’t say I was disappointed with my time at Aberdeen. Of course it didn’t help that I was out all season and didn’t really get the chance to play, which always makes it frustrating and not enjoyable. It just wasn’t the right time or the experience I was looking for: but you never know these things until you try them, which is a decision I feel like wasn’t the right one for me.”

Dunbar spent the remainder of the season on the sidelines but felt it was beneficial as it allowed her to see the game from a different point of view. While she is worried about coming back from her injury, she is keen to get going.

“It’s very frustrating sitting out and not being able to play or do anything really for a year, but I have learnt a lot from at the sidelines from watching different players in positions, the passages of play, formations and listening to the team talks in the changing room, which made me feel a part of the team.”

“It’s a weird feeling being back, I do get nervous or scared sometimes in case anything is to happen but it’s to be expected from being out so long but it’s definitely a good feeling being back and I’m sure it can only get better from here, so I’m excited to see what comes next.”

The former Young Player of the Year praised everyone involved with the team for the support shown to her since coming back to Forfar, with club chaplain Susan Forbes thanked for her help even when she wasn’t at the club.

“It has been a tough and frustrating year, from receiving little support at my previous club, getting different answers from physios and not the correct treatment at the start, it has been a big test. The support I’ve received in the last few weeks and help from the girls and physios at Forfar, along with Lee Smith who does our media and our club chaplain Susan Forbes, have really helped me physically and mentally.”

“Everyone has helped push me, and generally checking in on me and how I’m feeling pain wise, and I just want to say thankyou to all them for that because I really do appreciate it. I’d want to thank Susan as well for the endless help and support she has given me since my return to the club, and even when I wasn’t at the club.”

Dunbar feels she is coming back to a strong squad having won the SBSSWPL2 title and reckons the side can make their mark in the league this year. While she hopes to force her way into the squad in the future, she is happy to keep her focus on getting fit for now.

“I certainly don’t think the girls should have been relegated in 2016, but these things do happen unfortunately. The girls done so well last year winning the league and adding a few additions this year has helped shape the team and make it even stronger.”

“The girls have been working really hard in training through the week and have been taking that work rate and momentum into game days each week. They have started the season off strong and have been unlucky in games to not take points but it’s still early into the season.”

“On a personal level, I am hoping to get some game time once I’m fit and help the girls out in any way I can, eventually trying to gain my place in the starting XI week in and week out.”

Having played with Farmington previously, Dunbar has played with the majority of the current squad along with Cassie Cowper and Hannah Stewart at Aberdeen and the familiar faces is something that she believes helps her feel more comfortable returning.

“I’ve played with the majority of the girls for a few seasons now, and it makes it a lot easier and comfortable coming back. Over the previous season I found it challenging due to my lack of confidence and I could probably say the same this season but having the older ones in the squad, and moving back with my previous team mates from Aberdeen makes that transition a little bit smoother.”

“I’m pretty sure I speak for some of the younger ones as well on that, that the girls in the squad are all understanding and make you feel comfortable on and off the park so I was never really nervous about returning back to the club.”

McNicoll Keen For Squad To Gain More Belief In Themselves

Goalkeeper Fiona McNicoll felt Forfar Farmington performed well despite their 2-0 loss at home to Celtic in the SBSSWPL1 on Sunday.

Farmington held their own against a tough Celtic side but goals from Claire Adams and Kelly Clark meant the visitors took all three points.

The 29 year old shot stopper reckons the introduction of Ruesha Littlejohn changed the game for Celtic with Farmington playing well throughout.

“I thought the first half we played well, we looked solid at the back and we passed the ball well at times.  The second half we started well, however when Celtic brought on Littlejohn I think she changed the game for them.”

McNicoll believes she had a good performance but was disappointed to concede the two goals in the way they did.

“I feel I did play well, however we still got beat.  As a team playing at the highest level, when people make mistakes or have a lapse of concentration teams at this level will punish you and that is what I think happened.

“The first goal was a good strike however it came from us having a corner and I could have possibly come out and collected the ball but Kelly Clark had no one marking her.”

Farmington currently sit fifth in the league after three games and the experienced keeper is happy with how they have performed so far and feels they can improve even further.

“I think the team have performed well so far however I do think the team as whole need to have a bit more belief going forward and attacking teams we come up against.  People need to be calmer on the ball when we have it and think about how we played last season.”

“We weren’t scared last season and we believed we could beat any team we come up against however this season I don’t think we have this belief yet.”

“Mark and the other coaches have been working hard on attacking drills for weeks and during training people believe they can take people on, run past a player and they are always taking shots.”

McNicoll has been ever present this season with Chantelle McKay having to make do with a spot on the bench and she feels having McKay and youngster Oliwia Gach training alongside her ensure her standards don’t drop, however she is confident McKay would be a more than capable replacement.

“It is great training with Chantelle and Oliwia every week, we have a good laugh and we work very hard during sessions. Chantelle is a great goal keeper and I know if my standard were to drop she would be able to step in with no problem.”

Farmington have been on the lookout for a goalkeeping coach since Kev Candy left at the end of 2017 with John Diplexcito stepping in to help while the vacancy is filled and McNicoll was full of praise for him.

“I would like to thank John for stepping in to do some goalkeeping coaching on a Wednesday night, he is a great coach, sessions are always hard and we are learning a lot from him.  During the sessions all the keepers are working hard and having fun at the same time.”

Farmington will head to Stirling to take on Stirling University this week and McNicoll believes the side can grab a win against a well organised side.

“Stirling are a well organised team but I do believe we can take points home to Forfar on Sunday and move us up the table.  I feel we can beat any team in the league if we just have a bit more belief when attacking other teams.”

Half Century For McCarthy & Smith

Robyn Smith and Megan McCarthy were the latest to reach a half century of appearances with both reaching the milestone this afternoon against Celtic.

The duo are in their second spells at the club after both rejoining in December 2015 from Jeanfield Swifts and Inverness City respectively.

Megan had a very short spell at Farmington in 2012 during pre-season before returning to Inverness and failed to make a competitive appearance.

On her return to Forfar, the 25 year old defender made a goalscoring debut in the League Cup against Hearts in March 2016. Since then she has netted five more times, all of these coming during last season’s SBSSWPL2 championship winning season.

Overall Megan has started 44 times while making six appearances from the bench.

Robyn’s previous spell at the club ended following the 2013 season, where she made three appearances in an injury disrupted season.

In March of that year she made her debut away to Stirling University under their previous moniker of Falkirk Ladies before a further two appearances at the end of the season.

Robyn has scored eleven times in total in her 39 starts and 11 substitute appearances, the first two of these coming against Buchan in the Scottish Cup in June 2016.