Formartine United inflicted a 5-2 defeat on Calum Maclean in the first game of his third spell in charge as manager of Fort William.
The game was switched from Claggan Park to North Lodge Park due to the predicted weather conditions and kick off had to be delayed by 10 minutes after Fort’s team bus was held up by a road traffic accident.
The visitors scored the first goal of the game but home boss Paul Lawson was pleased with how his side bounced back from that early setback.
He said: “It was a good three points for us building on our home win against Buckie Thistle, and although we scored good goals I was disappointed with the two goals we conceded.
“Fort William have a good side, they’re well coached and you can tell from their sharpness they’re full-time players.”
The young Fort side, packed with Caley Thistle loanees, grabbed the lead in the fifth minute through 19-year-old Roddy Kennedy. He thundered in a left-foot strike which beat Kevin Main and went in off the underside of the crossbar.
The response from Lawson’s team was almost instant, a good move started by Johnny Crawford and Wood and the close-range finish applied by Rodger.
The hosts grabbed the lead in 24 minutes. Scott Lisle did the spadework over on the left side and when the ball came to near the penalty spot, Aaron Norris converted from close range.
Three minutes into the second half, Norris netted again but this time in more spectacular fashion with a full-blooded 25-yard strike nestling in Mateusz Kulbacki’s right corner.
Not to be outdone Rodger also got his second counter and it came in 56 minutes, a side-footed finish from the edge of the box after the ball was squared to him by Wood.
The goal of the game completed Rodger’s hat-trick in 80 minutes with a low shot from 30 yards again leaving the goalkeeper floundering at his right post.
It was the former Deveronvale favourite’s 15th goal of the season and he has now scored 76 times in 214 appearances for Formartine United.
Young Ross Gunn pulled one back two minutes later, firing with confidence high into the roof of the net.
Fort boss Calum Maclean said: “I just came in the door on Thursday and reading between the lines I realised we don’t shoot enough so I instructed them to shoot if they had the goal in their sights.
“It was a great start and finish for us, but we have to accept the third and fifth goals for them were wonder strikes.”