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Fraserburgh beat Locos to remain in pole position; Forres bounce back; Rothes maintain unbeaten run

Scott Barbour was on target for Highland League leaders Fraserburgh.
Scott Barbour was on target for Highland League leaders Fraserburgh.

Fraserburgh maintained their three point lead at the top of the table with a comfortable 3-0 win against Inverurie Locos.

Home boss Mark Cowie was pleased to chalk up another win ahead of Tuesday’s Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup semi-final against Banks o’ Dee.

He said: “The result was the main thing because we’ve really had to manage a bit of Covid and niggly injuries in our camp.

“It tested our squad and I didn’t feel we did ourselves justice in midweek at Buckie (a 2-2 draw) and that carried into the first half of this game when we didn’t perform as we can.

“Paul Leask was not overly tested in that spell but the players upped the ante in the second half

“The back four had started off finding a bit of trouble with the height of Ross Still but the midfield got to grips with the game.

“The second goal then the penalty came at good times for us.

“I can’t be too critical of my players because even without the quality of forward in Robert Ward they still had enough threat.

“It’s a tough spell of games coming up with Banks o’ Dee on Tuesday then Huntly at home on Friday.”

The Broch went in front after 18 minutes when a left-footed chip by Scott Barbour led to Ryan Sergeant pressuring the Locos defence with a header. With Locos goalkeeper Andy Reid going to ground, Sean Butcher stepped in to roll the ball home from eight yards.

Further goals may have followed with a Calum Dingwall header coming off the top of his own crossbar and at the other end Locos defender Mark Souter had a header cleared off the line.

Fraserburgh boss Mark Cowie was pleased to get the win.

Two minutes after the restart the lead was doubled when Grant Campbell’s long ball was flicked on by Butcher to Scott Barbour who angled his low right foot effort beyond Reid.

Six minutes later the points were sealed when Greg Mitchell handled a Butcher header and Paul Campbell sent Reid the wrong way.

New Locos boss Richard Hastings said: “I was happy with the start we made.

“We matched them but the ball kept going one end to the other with not much football played.

“I wasn’t happy with the goals conceded. Two of them were down to basic poor defending and the penalty was the nail in the coffin.

“It’s all about the bigger picture and the players were told that win, lose or draw in this game we need to be stronger and learn lessons.”

Forres Mechanics 1-0 Lossiemouth

A solitary Lee Fraser strike early in the second halfwas enough to help Forres Mechanics end a disappointing week with a victory.

Mechanics have been prone to losing late goals so far this season but they withstood some late pressure from Lossie to claim the points.

The only goal arrived after 53 minutes when Allan McPhee skipped past the challenge of Andrew Milton on the left before his cross was dropped by Lossie goalkeeper Logan Ross leaving Lee Fraser with an easy finish.

Forres Mechanics manager Charlie Rowley.

Forres manager Charlie Rowley said: “We have had a bit of a torrid time of conceding late goals and you could see by not getting a second the nervousness was creeping in again.

“This time we didn’t concede and there is no question that our performance can improve.

“It’s a massive step in the right direction as we are not in the best of form defensively.

“We had to call on former Strathspey Thistle keeper Paul Robertson as Stuart Knight is carrying an injury. All credit to him as he acquitted himself really well apart from a spell early in the game.”

Lossie manager Joe Russell felt there was very little between the teams and sympathised with his goalkeeper Logan Ross whose mistake settled the game.

He said: “It was probably the easiest cross he could have got and he just took his eye off the ball.

“He is devastated at what happened but young keepers make mistakes and he will learn from it.

“We had a couple of late chances which weren’t taken but it is onto the next game against Brora on Wednesday in the North of Scotland Cup which is a break from league business.”

Huntly 0-2 Rothes

Rothes stretched their unbeaten run to eight games as early second half goals from Alan Pollock and Greg Morrison secured a 2-0 win at Huntly.

Manager Ross Jack said: “We started the first half pretty well but fair play to Huntly they came back into it and put us under pressure. We had a wee chat at half-time and changed the shape a bit and it reaped the rewards early on in the second half so I’m delighted with the reaction.”

The win came at a cost for Rothes with goalscorer Greg Morrison limping off with 17 minutes remaining.

He added: “Greg’s been outstanding and worked the frontline very well with a good goal but unfortunately he’s picked up a bad injury and was heading to hospital after the game for an X-ray.”

With five minutes gone, Euan Storrier parried a Greg Morrison shot before Fraser Robertson headed over from the rebound from close range.

Good play from Huntly’s Greg Buchan saw the midfielder release Angus Grant who was kept out at the near post by Rothes keeper Sean McCarthy.

In first half stoppage time, Huntly thought they had taken the lead.

Angus Grant got by Michael Finnis and struck a low shot into the net but assistant referee Andy Stephenson flagged for offside.

Rothes took the lead in the 49th minute when Michael Clark was penalised for a foul on  Morrison outside the penalty area. Pollock curled in low from the resultant dead ball for his third of the season.

Four minutes later, Morrison struck with a low shot from 20 yards for his second goal in three games.

Huntly manager Allan Hale said: “The difference between the two teams is Rothes were more clinical and were more ruthless in both boxes.

“We showed them a bit too much respect in the first ten minutes then we grew into the game.”

 

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