Elgin City manager Gavin Price frustrated as team slides against Forfar Athletic at 10

Boss Gavin Price admitted too many players were out of form as Elgin City’s 12-game unbeaten streak was snapped by a 1-0 home loss to 10-man Forfar Athletic.

Ben Armor gave the Loons an early lead but was sent off late in the first half for picking up a second booking.

It was enough to knock them off the foot of the League Two table as Elgin slipped one position to fifth.

After a 3-2 win at Stranraer and a 1-0 win over Albion Rovers, Price felt this game was too far for his jaded side.

He said: “It was a disappointing afternoon. We never created enough chances or kept our width enough or got good quality crosses in the box, which you have to do.

“When a team is reduced to 10 men, you have to use the wide areas much better than we did today.

“There were too many players who were a bit flat and out of shape. We made the trip to Stranraer and the game here midweek and it looked like that. We didn’t have the spark.

“Losing the first goal gave Forfar something to hold on to. We didn’t have enough quality to get back into the game, which is incredibly frustrating. We can’t have too many complaints.

The hosts came into this fixture on a run of four wins and just one defeat in 12. It was their first loss since losing 2-1 at Dumbarton on August 27.

It has been a difficult start to the season for Gary Irvine’s Forfar Athletic, who were runners-up in League Two last season.

Just two wins and two draws in their first 10 games left them bottom of the pack, but they were still just eight points behind Elgin before a ball was kicked. They rightfully reduced that to five points.

Head-to-head between these teams finished top honors even last year and the opener of this season ended 2-2 at Station Park in August, so another close game was expected.

Elgin’s Greig Young tangles with Forfar’s Craig Slater

Price welcomed experienced midfielder Brian Cameron for this one, with on-loan Dundee winger Tom Findlay also making his debut. Rory MacEwan and Dylan Lawrence fell to the bench.

Forfar manager Gary Irvine has made three changes to his line-up following last week’s 3-1 loss to East Fife. Enter Roberto Nditi, Stefan McCluskey and Ben Armour.

City got off to the worst possible start when, from a Craig Slater corner, Armor sent the ball over the line after Kyle Hutton headed it.

Moray’s side responded well and Russell Dingwall was not far behind when his 25-yard player simply had too much height to test goalkeeper Marc McCallum.

Forfar then took advantage of a spell on the front foot, with Stefan McCluskey’s free kick, which was taken by Daniel Hoban, his closest chance to add a second.

Elgin contained more than threatening, with opponents fast, alert and limiting spaces.

Just before the break, Armor was given his marching orders by referee Alex Shepherd after he allegedly clashed with the linesman. The Forfar calls fell on deaf ears and it was 11 to 10 for the rest.

Chris Antoniazzi and loanee Raith defender Greig Young replaced Angus Mailer and Owen Cairns early in the second half for Elgin and the former was quickly in the thick of the action in attack, looking to find an opening.

Forfar, knowing a second goal would likely end the game, was not far off target when Andy Munro fired wide from a corner in the 57th minute.

A push down the left flank from Young saw him direct a dangerous cross into the box, but that was just out of reach for Lawrence, who had just replaced Findlay.

Russell Dingwall, left, in action for Elgin City.

Elgin nearly equalized 20 minutes from time when 15-goal striker Kane Hester collected a ball from Ross Draper and fired a shot on target, but McCallum saved it and held it off.

Hester was denied by the keeper again moments later when his low drive was picked up after Darryl McHardy brought the play into the box. It was a good time for the hosts.

McHardy, who replaced substitute Dolzanski in midfield, was also backing up the attack but 10-man Forfar held on to leave the win to take them from 10th to eighth.

The Scottish Cup second round will take center stage next Saturday, with Elgin hosting Camelon Juniors and Forfar at Kilwinning Rangers.

Looking ahead to the cup clash against their Premier League opponents in the East of Scotland, Price said: “I watched Camelon recently. They have some good forwards and we won’t treat them lightly.

“Hopefully we can get back to winning ways and get that spark that we missed in the last two games.”

ELGIN CITY (4-4-2) — Hoban 6, Cairns 6 (Young 46), Nicolson 7, McHardy 6, Dolzanski 6 (MacInnes 54), Draper 6, Dingwall 6 (Anderson 76), Cameron, 6 Hester, Findlay 6 (Lawrence 61), Mailer 6 (Antoniazzi 46). Unused subs – McHale (GK), Allen, MacEwan, Sopel.

FORFAR ATHLETIC (4-4-2) – McCallum 6, Nditi 6, Brindley 6, Munro 6, Hutton 6 (Thomson 83), Docherty 6, Whyte 6, Slater 6, McCluskey 7, Armor 5, Aitken 6 (Ferguson 73) . Unused submarines – Kennedy (GK), Dailly, Hanratty, Jack, Moreland, Moore.

Referee – Alex Shepherd.

Turnout – 606.

Man of the match – Lewis Nicolson.

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[Elgin City manager Gavin Price frustrated as side slip up against 10-man Forfar Athletic]


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