Forres Mechanics manager Charlie Rowley was pleased with his side’s performance – despite exiting the Scottish Cup with a 2-0 defeat to Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic.
Kieran McGachie’s first half goal and a late second from George Hunter secured victory for the Lowland League leaders in the first round tie at Mosset Park.
Can-Cans boss Rowley said: “There’s disappointment because we’ve been knocked out.
“Bonnyrigg are a quality side who are very good at what they do and they put us under pressure at times.
“But I thought from minute one to minute 90 we were well in the game.
“There was a little bit of naivety in the latter stages because we were pushing trying to get an equaliser.
“Overall it’s disappointing, but we can be pleased with the commitment, application and the quality we showed at times.
“If you’re going to suffer defeat that’s probably the most positive way to suffer defeat against a really good side.
“We had a good look at them in the first half. When you haven’t played the opposition before it can be difficult to gauge them.
“We had a look look at them in the first half and I felt they probably could have played better than they did.
“But so could we, we’re still searching a little bit to show that quality we feel we’ve got.
“The only negative is that we’re not in the second round, because there were a lot of positives.”
McGachie makes the breakthrough
The visitors started brightly with Dean Brett’s cross from the right bundled wide by McGachie and then Neil Matynuik picked out Dean Hoskins, but he headed straight at Stuart Knight.
For Forres, Stuart Soane headed into the side-netting from Robbie Duncanson’s corner.
In the 20th minute, Knight made a good one-handed save to keep out Keiran Hall’s strike from 14 yards.
Soon after Bonnyrigg were almost left with an open goal when Brett capitalised on a mix-up between Knight and Allan Macphee, but Ruari Fraser got back to clear.
But, in the 33rd minute, the Lowland League leaders did take the lead.
McGachie found Hall on the left side of the area and, when played the ball across goal, McGachie was on hand to score from close range.
Can-Cans have chances
In the 49th minute, Lee Fraser tested Bonnyrigg goalkeeper Michael Andrews with a strike from 25 yards which was parried.
On 54 minutes, Paul Brindle weaved his way into the box on the right and his low ball was flicked on by Thomas Brady at the front post, but Andrews diverted the effort to safety.
Midway through the second half, Rose midfielder Scott Gray cracked a half-volley off the crossbar from 20 yards as the visitors looked for a potentially decisive second goal.
At the other end, Soane dragged a free-kick from 25 yards wide of the target.
Forres had another opening on 75 minutes with Brady’s neat footwork on the right creating space, but his clipped cross evaded everyone in the area.
With nine minutes left, sub George Hunter should have finished the tie when he burst through and shot beyond Knight, but Ruari Fraser got back to clear off the line.
The Can-Cans battled right to the end, but in the first minute of injury time Bonnyrigg netted their second with Hunter turning inside Ruari Fraser before shooting into the bottom let corner from 14 yards.
Horn happy to progress
Bonnyrigg manager Robbie Horn said: “I thought we made hard work of it. First half we were in control, but didn’t take our chances.
“The longer the game goes when it’s only 1-0, it becomes a wee bit nervy and I thought Forres came into it more.
“I thought we might have been able to kill it off earlier than we did.
“But we got that second goal at the end, which was vital. You play Highland League sides and you never get an easy game.
“The most important thing was to win and get through, but credit to Forres – they made it very difficult for us.”