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All the Highland League reports as Graeme Stewart praises Buckie Thistle for battling win against Fraserburgh

We round-up Wednesday's Breedon Highland League action.

Lyall Keir, left, celebrates scoring for Buckie Thistle against Fraserburgh with team-mates Josh Peters, right, and Jack MacIver obscured. Pictures by Jasperimage.
Lyall Keir, left, celebrates scoring for Buckie Thistle against Fraserburgh with team-mates Josh Peters, right, and Jack MacIver obscured. Pictures by Jasperimage.

Manager Graeme Stewart hailed his battling Buckie Thistle side for beating Fraserburgh and keeping their Breedon Highland League title challenge on track.

Lyall Keir’s goal was the difference between the teams in a game played at Lossiemouth’s Grant Park.

The Jags had to withstand plenty of Broch pressure, particularly in the second half, but won to cap a fine week having also defeated Brora Rangers and Brechin City.

Buckie are six points behind the Hedgemen – who top the table – but have three games in hand.

Stewart said: “Fraserburgh are probably the best battling team in the league. We knew we’d need to match that and I thought we did.

“At half-time I said ‘we’re 1-0 up, I don’t care if this is the worst second half ever.’

“They maybe took it literally and tried to make it the worst second half ever, but the most important thing was the win.

“We’ve had a hard week, nine points from the three games is brilliant and it was the aim, we knew we had to go on a good run.”

Keir makes the difference

Fraserburgh almost broke the deadlock in the 13th minute when Greg Buchan’s free-kick from the left went right across goal and clipped the right post.

Goalmouth action was at a premium, but when a decent chance arrived in the 33rd minute the Jags made it count by taking the lead.

Jack Murray’s pinpoint pass from defence found the feet of Josh Peters inside the box and he did well to tee up Keir, who picked out the bottom right corner with a good finish from 15 yards.

Two minutes later Buckie could have doubled their advantage when Peters again found Keir, but on this occasion he couldn’t hit the target from eight yards.

Josh Peters, centre, sets up Lyall Keir, left, to score for Buckie.

Fraserburgh had a flurry of chances at the start of the second half.

In the 51st minute Scott Barbour’s dangerous cross from the left just evaded Ryan Sargent.

Four minutes later Willie West’s ball in behind released Sargent, but he blazed over with the goal at his mercy.

On 57 minutes Kieran Simpson headed over from close range from a Barbour corner.

Then after an hour Jamie Beagrie’s pass put Sargent through on goal again. This time goalkeeper Tom Ritchie dived at full stretch to his right to tip away Sargent’s net-bound shot.

Fraserburgh continued to do most of the probing as time ticked down, but Buckie held firm.

Frustration for Fraserburgh

The Broch finished with 10 men when referee Harry Bruce showed Aidan Sopel a straight red card for kicking out at Max Barry off the ball.

Fraserburgh assistant manager James Duthie said: “I’ve said to the players it’s been the story of our season, the game’s about both boxes.

“Buckie have had one chance, scored and defended brilliantly. We’ve defended reasonably well and had three or four great chances we haven’t taken.

Fraserburgh’s Paul Young tries to get away from Sam Pugh of Buckie.

“I don’t think we deserved to lose the game, but credit to Buckie it’s been a tremendous seven days for them.

“The wins they’ve had are the sort of thing that wins leagues so fair play to them, but I don’t think we deserved to lose.”

On Sopel’s dismissal, Duthie added: “I couldn’t really see it, if he has flicked out you can’t be doing that.”

Brora Rangers 3-2 Lossiemouth

Brora Rangers staged a late turnaround to defeat Lossiemouth 3-2 in Golspie.

The switch to King George V Park was necessitated due to the waterlogged surface at Dudgeon Park, with both sides otherwise faced with another postponement.

Brora made a strong start, with skipper Dale Gillespie striking the crossbar with a free-kick.

Lossie subsequently enjoyed a fine spell with Lewis McAndrew’s free-kick taken down by Ross Morrison who blazed his effort past Logan Ross’ near post.

At the other end, a neat move saw Kyle MacLeod denied by Cameron Farquhar following Alex Cooper’s cutback.

The Coasters’ best chance of the opening half arrived on 14 minutes following excellent work down the right by Ryan Farquhar, with his cutback turned goalwards by Connor Macaulay but hacked off the line by Colin Williamson.

The Cattachs were inches away from a breakthrough on 35 minutes when Paul Brindle made a marauding run down the right flank before taking aim with what initially looked like a cross, only for the ball to come back off the inside of the far post.

Cattachs opener

Brora were not to be denied just three minutes later. Gillespie’s corner was met by Ally MacDonald whose header appeared to have crossed the line before being cleared, with the player-manager being credited with the goal despite Jordan MacRae tucking home the rebound in any case.

Lossie had a final chance before the end of the half when Liam Archibald picked out Brandon Hutcheson at the far post, however he could not beat Ross.

The Coasters restored parity from the penalty spot on 56 minutes. After Williamson brought down Morrison inside the box, Farquhar stepped up to tuck the ball beyond Ross.

Farquhar turned the game on its head just four minutes later after beating the offside trap before lifting the ball over the advancing Cattachs goalkeeper.

Brora pulled level on 69 minutes in stunning fashion, with Cooper curling a free-kick past Farquhar into the top corner before Brora substitute Gregor MacDonald bundled home the winner three minutes from time.

Formartine United 5-1 Nairn County

Formartine United turned in a five star performance against Nairn County at North Lodge Park to extend their unbeaten run to eight matches.

Stuart Anderson’s side enjoyed total control over the Wee County, who played the entirety of the second half with 10 men after Ciaran Young was sent off, his second yellow card for attempting to score with his hand on the brink of the half-time.

Paul Campbell opened the scoring for the hosts in the 21st minute, nodding past Dylan MacLean after a pinpoint Julian Wade cross from the right flank had picked him out at the back post.

Aaron Reid got the second five minutes later. Having already passed up three decent opportunities from close range, he made no mistake on this occasion, flicking the ball beyond MacLean.

Julian Wade was on the scoresheet for Formartine United. Image: Jasperimage.

Formartine were enjoying the bulk of possesison and will have been disappointed by the slack goal they gave away.

Kenny MacInnes’s cross was helped into the net by the slightest of touches off Ben Barron’s outstreched boot on its way past Ewen Macdonald but any hope that Nairn had of drawing level was quickly extinguished.

With a thumping finish from close range, Wade restored the hosts’ two goal lead four minutes before the break and three minutes after the restart the Dominica international put the game beyond doubt with another powerful drive.

Nairn kept battling but Formartine made their one-man advantage pay and Lewis Wilson’s towering header had too much on it for substitute goalkeeper Lewis Munro, who had been introduced midway through the second half.

Keith 1-1 Forres Mechanics

A share of the points was just about right in an entertaining Moray derby at Kynoch Park.

Keith were looking to keep three clean-sheets in a row in manager Craig Ewen’s 100th game at the club while the Can-Cans were hoping for a confidence-boosting win.

The home side created the first opportunity but Michael Taylor headed wide from eight yards.

Forres replied with a Sam Gordon drive from the edge of the box which flew inches wide.

Mechanics opened the scoring in the 25th minute when Keith failed to clear their lines and striker Shaun Morrison couldn’t miss from six yards with only keeper Craig Reid to beat.

Two minutes later Reid made a great double save to deny Benjamin Kelly as Forres started to turn the screw.

Keith levelled in the 37th minute when Michael Ironside’s cross from 30 yards out on the right eluded everyone and found its way into the back of the net at the back post.

Just after the break Lee Herbert in the Forres goal did well to turn another Ironside close-range effort behind at the second attempt.

Mark McLauchlan really should have fired Mechanics ahead in the 66th minute but with only Reid to beat he pulled his 12-yard drive wide.

Two minutes later Forres manager Steven MacDonald was shown a red card after his second altercation of the evening with referee Lewis Brown.

Watch: Highland League Weekly – Highlights of Brechin City v Buckie Thistle showdown, plus Rothes v Keith