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Brora Rangers respond to gaffer’s set-piece critique to strike late at Huntly; Forres’ winless run ends with victory at Keith

Craig Campbell.
Craig Campbell.

Third-placed Brora Rangers left it late to secure an away win at Huntly with defender Colin Williamson notching up a stoppage-time winner.

Brora Manager Craig Campbell admitted they had to battle for their 2-1 win at Christie Park, which leaves them three points off the summit, having played a game more than leaders Fraserburgh.

He said: “That was a very tough game for us. Credit to Huntly, they made very difficult for us.

“I thought we were quite comfortable early on going 1-0 ahead, then Huntly came into it more and gave us a tough game in the second half.

“I said to the players it was all about getting the three points.

“I thought our set-pieces were good, but I had a have a pop at the players at half-time for not finishing them, so Colin has had the last say on that.”

Campbell was pleased with the form of Ali Sutherland, who netted his sixth of the season for the Cattachs.

He added: “It was a great strike for the first goal. he’s been one of our top performers over the last few weeks and is really coming into his own.

“I’m delighted for him to continue that run of form.”

Despite their defeat, Huntly manager Allan Hale was impressed with the showing from his side.

He said: “I thought we matched Brora all over the pitch.

“Once we were able to impose ourselves on the game, we caused problems on the counter attack and deservedly got ourselves level.

“In the second half, we played and pressed with a real intensity that made it difficult for Brora and restricted them to a few clear-cut chances.”

Brora took the lead after 18 minutes. The visitors broke quickly upfield following a drop ball and Sutherland kept up his fine run of form with a shot in off the post for his third goal in as many games.

Huntly came close to levelling in the 33rd minute. A Glenn Murison cross was headed away by the visiting defence and, when it dropped to Greg Buchan, he was kept out by a good save from Malin.

The hosts drew level a minute later, however. Greg Buchan burst down the right flank and his cross was met first time by Robbie Foster to turn in his ninth goal of the season.

Brora looked to regain the lead a minute into the second half. Jordan MacRae got forward and played in Tom Kelly, who saw his attempt fingertipped away by Euan Storrier in the Huntly goal.

Storrier was called into action again three minutes later to keep out a deflected Gregor MacDonald shot.

Brora clinched the win over two minutes into stoppage time. Dale Gillespie floated in a corner from the right for Williamson to net his sixth of the season with a downward header.

Forres end winless streak on visit to Keith

Forres Mechanics ended a seven-game winless streak stretching back to November with a 2-1 victory over Keith at Kynoch Park.

The hosts came into the clash on a three-game winning run of their own, in what was the 180th league encounter between the sides.

Goals either side of half-time from Paul Brindle sewed up the points for the Can-Cans in blustery conditions – despite a late Kieran Mooney counter for the Maroons – and moved them up four places to 11th in the Breedon Highland League table.

Can-Cans manager Steven MacDonald  was delighted with the win “I was really pleased for the boys, they did really well considering how difficult the conditions were in the first half.

“We certainly deserved it for over the piece – we were well on top.

“I didn’t think we were in any danger until Keith scored a late scrappy goal, and we perhaps got a bit nervy, considering how long it’s been since we won.

“Paul Brindle’s two goals were marvellous, especially the second one. There’s not many players could do that, but that is what he has got in his locker”.

Forres Mechanics assistant manager Steven MacDonald
Forres Mechanics manager Steven MacDonald.

Keith looked out of sorts in the first half, and Brindle was only denied an opening goal by the woodwork on the half hour mark when his header from the back post came off the cross bar.  It was no surprise, though, when he rifled home five minutes from the break to put his side ahead.

Forres continued to cause problems after the interval and the home defence had a let-off when finally forcing the ball for a corner in the 49th minute.

However, a super piece of marksmanship three minutes later stunned them when Brindle spotted home goalie Balint Demus off his line and lofted a superb 25-yarder over his head and into the net.

Visiting central defender Graham Fraser also thundered a drive off the crossbar as Forres kept a firm grip on the game.

There was a glimmer of hope for Keith with 10 minutes remaining when Mooney scrambled the ball over the line, but it was too little too late as their win streak ended.

Keith manager Craig Ewen said “I’m really disappointed. Our performance levels weren’t good enough, and we’ve been taken back down to earth with a bump.

“I’ve no excuses – we weren’t good enough, were second best in most areas of the pitch and Forres deserved their win.”

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