Forres Mechanics capitalised on their numerical advantage as they defeated 10-man Fort William 2-1 at Mosset Park.
Fort’s home fixture was switched to Forres’ home ground in order to progress the Lochaber side’s fixture backlog, with the Can-Cans’ victory moving Charlie Rowley’s men moving to within a point of sixth-placed Formartine United.
Chances were few and far between in the early stages, with the best early chance falling for Forres on 13 minutes.
Fort squandered a fine chance to take the lead on 21 minutes, with Ross Gunn’s free-kick looping over the reach of goalkeeper Stuart Knight and looking to be on its way out before Gabriel Hastings struck the post from an acute angle.
The Lochaber outfit were enjoying the better of the play and Gunn was presented with an opportunity of his own four minutes later, but his high effort forced a fingertip save over the bar.
Fort’s momentum was halted on 29 minutes however, with Donald Morrison shown a straight red card by referee Billy Baxter after he appeared to catch James Ross with a flailing arm.
Forres capitalised by taking the lead on 33 minutes, with Joe Gauld’s rasping strike coming off the underside of the bar, but falling kindly for Lee Fraser to bundle home.
The Can-Cans doubled their lead in spectacular style three minutes before the break, with Allan MacPhee taking aim with a curling 20-yard strike which nestled in Daniel Hoban’s right-hand corner.
In the second half, Fraser spurned a glorious chance on 53 minutes after being picked out unmarked from Simon Allan’s free-kick, but he scooped his effort over.
Fort pushed for a way back into the game, with Roddy Kennedy slipping a low effort wide of target.
Calum MacLean’s men pulled a goal back two minutes from full time when Baxter ruled Ryan Henderson’s shot had crossed the line, however Forres was able to hold on.