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Highland League: All the reaction as Aaron Reid inspires Formartine to victory at Brora and Deveronvale boss steps down

Formartine United, Banks o' Dee and Brechin City were among the winners on Saturday.

Aaron Reid in action for Formartine United Image: Ian Rennie/Formartine United FC.
Aaron Reid in action for Formartine United Image: Ian Rennie/Formartine United FC.

Aaron Reid’s hat-trick helped Formartine United to secure a resounding 4-1 victory away to Brora Rangers.

The result moves the Pitmedden side level with fourth-placed Buckie Thistle, ahead of the sides’ meeting at Victoria Park on Wednesday.

Formartine boss Stuart Anderson said: “It’s a good three points. The boys were excellent from start to finish, we were pretty comfortable and possibly could have had a few more.

“Their goal was a little bit frustrating from our point of view, it took a bounce in front of the goalkeeper.

“These things can set you back but we responded well. The boys just got back on it and we went again. Aaron was unplayable, as we know he can be.”

Formartine took the lead after just seven minutes at Dudgeon Park, when a corner broke for Reid to fire past Logan Ross.

The Cattachs initially responded well and levelled through Martin MacLean on 13 minutes, however parity lasted just two minutes before Reid headed home from another set-piece.

Brora looked to start the second half strongly with the wind behind them, however Reid completed his hat-trick on the hour mark following a Formartine breakaway, before Jonathan Crawford completed the scoring from the penalty spot on 73 minutes.

Brora player-manager Ally MacDonald said: “The gap is not as big as the scoreline suggests, but there are things we can do within that.

“Winning the league was gone for us before this game. We just need to dust ourselves off – we want to try and build momentum and close the gap at the top.

“We are looking ahead to a cup final. If we can finish off this season with some silverware, and close the gap, we will take that now.”

Banks o’ Dee 4-0 Forres Mechanics

Banks o’ Dee kept their outside title hopes alive with a comfortable 4-0 win over Forres Mechanics at Spain Park.

Dee co-manager Paul Lawson said: “We thoroughly deserved the win and we started well thanks to Ethan Cairns’ early goal.

“I don’t think we played as well as we can so it was good we came out in the second half and scored some good goals. We probably could have bagged more.

Cairns put Dee in front after four minutes with a well-placed header from a Lachie MacLeod cross.

The second goal arrived after 57 minutes when the Forres players dithered trying to clear their lines. The ball landed at the feet of Max Alexander who hammered into the corner of the net.

Banks O’Dee co-manager Paul Lawson. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

Michael Philipson added a third in 84 minutes before substitute Garry Wood headed home the fourth goal two minutes later.

Forres boss Steven MacDonald said: “We weren’t at it after such a good performance against Brechin in midweek. The biggest disappointment is they didn’t back it up to show consistency.

“We started badly by giving away a poor goal and we didn’t play the ball well or pass well.

“A four goal margin of victory in no way flattered Dee.”

Clachnacuddin 0-2 Brechin City

Brechin City manager Gavin Price was delighted with his side’s performance in the 2-0 win over Clachnacuddin at Grant Street Park.

The result leaves City four points clear at the top of the Breedon Highland League with two games in hand of second-place Banks o’ Dee.

Price said: “I felt we dominated the whole game. Although we didn’t manage to score in the opening 45 minutes, we created a number of chances including hitting the woodwork on a couple of occasions.

“I told the players at half-time not to panic and if they kept doing what they were doing our luck would eventually turn.

“Thankfully, we kept things going after the break and scored a couple of goals so overall I’m really happy with our performance and the three points.”

City dominated the opening 45 minutes with Ewan Loudon hitting the woodwork on a couple of occasions but they couldn’t find a way past a hard-working Clach defence.

However, they made the vital breakthrough in the 71st minute when Grady McGrath was on the spot to prod the ball past home keeper Michael Miele following a Fraser Macleod corner and it was 2-0 six minutes later when substitute Murray MacKintosh slotted the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

Clach manager Conor Gethins said: “It’s the same old story from us at the present time.

“We could have been 2-0 up at half-time because we hit them on the break a couple of times and a combination of the pitch being bobbly and poor finishing kind of killed us.

“I didn’t think Brechin had that many clear-cut chances they never really carved us open and that’s was testament to the boys at the back and the leadership from our captain.

“Brechin had lots of possession in their own half and passed the ball across the pitch but they rarely threatened which was good to see because the boys have come a long way.”

Clach chairman and board members step down

Meanwhile, Clach announced on Sunday that three members of the club’s board were stepping down with immediate effect.

A club statement read: “The football club can confirm this week we have accepted the resignation of Alex Chisholm (chairman), Scott Dowling (director) and Chris Forbes (director) who have declared they are to stand down from their position as directors of the football club with immediate effect.

Clachnacuddin chairman Alex Chisholm. Image; Paul Campbell.

“The club would like to put on record our huge appreciation for the efforts and commitment of Alex, Scott and Chris throughout the many of years of involvement at the football club.

“And particularly their continued support in ensuring a smooth transition between now and the end of the season whilst handing over their individual responsibilities.”

Deveronvale 0-3 Strathspey Thistle

Deveronvale are looking for a new manager after Craig Stewart resigned following his side’s 3-0 home defeat against bottom of the league Strathspey Thistle.

It was Strathspey’s second win of the season, both of which have come against Vale.

Stewart stepped down from his managerial post at Princess Royal Park after eight and a half years at the helm.

Craig Stewart during his time as Deveronvale manager. Image: Jasper Image.

The visitors outplayed and outfought Vale over the 90 minutes to thoroughly deserve their victory, even missing a penalty and other clear-cut chances during the game.

Strathspey interim manager Michael Rae was delighted with his players, especially as they were down to the bare bones and only able to list 12 players on the teamsheet.

He said “Although we lost in our last couple of games against Keith and Wick, the lads have shown they can compete against teams around about them in the league.

“What we are looking for is consistency and performances like that show we are gaining confidence.

“The team this season, by all accounts, turns up for 45 minutes and then struggles for the other 45 or vice versa.

“But we said to them to keep in the game during the first half and build from there.

“I can’t fault the effort as we only had 12 players and despite being on top for the majority of the game I was thinking when we missed the penalty it wasn’t going to be our day but we never gave up and deserved to get the victory as we did the simple things to get the result.”

Speaking before he resigned, Craig Stewart said: “Taking nothing away from Strathspey we were really poor and by a long way that was our worst performance of the season.

“It amazes me how the team can go from excellent performances in the last few weeks against Turriff and Rothes and in spells against Brechin to do what we did today.

“We were second best to everything and never tested their young keeper which is a real worry and it is not acceptable.”

After a goalless first half, Owen Loveland saw his 54th minute penalty saved by Sean McIntosh but the visitors deservedly went ahead four minutes later when Michael McKenzie scored from eight yards after desperate home defending.

Loveland made up for his penalty miss by grabbing number two after 64 minutes while the superb Ross Logan raced away from the home defence two minutes from time to slot home from ten yards.

Huntly 2-1 Wick Academy

Huntly made it a fourth successive home win by defeating Wick Academy 2-1 at Christie Park.

Despite conceding a late penalty, manager Colin Charlesworth was impressed with his side’s performance.

He said: “We were really good and worth the win.

“From the first minute to the 90th, we were outstanding.

“Wick started the second half well but after we got our goal, I couldn’t see us losing, my only complaint would be not to have scored more goals based on how well we played in the first half.”

Charlesworth praised the contribution of top scorer Andrew Hunter whose brace saw the forward reach 23 goals for the season.

He added: “It was lining up to be a day where sometimes you’ll take a scrappy goal as it all benefits you the same but the second goal shows the class he gives you in a dead ball situation with two in two games now. He’s a cracking player and a talent and his goal numbers this season are scary.”

Huntly striker Andrew Hunter.

With 20 minutes gone, a well-worked corner routine seen Ross Gunn roll the ball out to Gordon MacNab outside the box who brought out a great save from Fraser Hobday in the home goal.

Ryan Sewell passed up a great opportunity in the 67th minute when he received a return pass from Hunter only for his low shot to roll past the post.

Huntly took the lead after 70 minutes. A James Connelly throw was flicked on by Lewis Crosbie for Angus Grant. Grant saw an effort blocked by James More before Hunter fired in high at the back post.

The Black and Golds doubled their advantage with nine minutes remaining with Hunter powering in a free kick high inside the post for his 23rd of the season.

With two minutes remaining, Wick were awarded a penalty when Michael Clark was penalised for a foul on Gordon MacNab. Marc MacGregor netted his sixth of the campaign firing in low from the spot.

Wick manager Gary Manson said: “In the first 15 minutes we were too passive and it was causing us problems.

“We spoke about things at half-time and we started the second half really well with five shots in the first five minutes.

“The first Huntly goal was a scrappy one while the second one you can’t do anything about that.”

Keith 1-0 Lossiemouth

It was all the sevens for Keith on Saturday when they stretched their unbeaten run to seven games, thanks to a superbly taken free kick from number seven Gavin Elphinstone with his seventh goal of the season.

The victory and other results meant that the Maroons leapfrogged Lossie and Wick Academy into 12th spot in the table.

Keith manager Craig Ewen was delighted with the win and said: “We expected a really tough battle and that’s what we got.

“I felt we edged it in the first half without the final pass, and we said at half-time we needed a bit of quality and up popped Gav with a great free kick.

“That gave us the upper hand, and we had two or three chances to kill it off but weren’t clinical enough.

“Ultimately, we deserved the win, it was good getting the three points and it keeps us moving forward.”

Keith manager Craig Ewen. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson.

The winning goal came seven minutes into the second half when the Maroons were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box and Elphinstone curled a beauty into the top corner.

Lossiemouth manager Frank McGettrick said: “Keith fully deserved to win the game, they wanted it more than us.

“We told the boys at the start we need to be up for these games every single week. There was a lack of belief there today, you can’t pick and choose, so fair play to Keith they were worthy winners.”

Nairn County 0-3 Fraserburgh

Fraserburgh clicked into gear in the second half to run out 3-0 winners against Nairn County at Station Park to keep their title hopes alive.

After a goal-less first half strikes from Ryan Sargeant, Scott Barbour and Sean Butcher wrapped up three valuable points for the Broch.

Fraserburgh manager, Mark Cowie said: “We were a wee bit sluggish in the first half – you would have thought we were the team who had the mid-week game. But we took control in the second half.

“Defensively we were solid the whole game, apart from a wee spell at the end, Joe (Barbour) didn’t have much to do. I wanted us to be more ruthless and it was our three forward players who got the goals – so I’m delighted.”

Despite the win the Broch boss played down Broch’s title hopes, he added: “There is a lot of things that need to happen for us to be in contention – we are just taking it one game at a time.”

Nairn’s first team coach Brian MacLeod said: “I thought for the first 20 minutes we started the game quite well.

“We caused them a few problems. After that we were off it and Fraserburgh came into the game.

“In the second half we didn’t come out at all. We didn’t get close to them and I thought Fraserburgh were worthy winners.”

Rothes 1-3 Turriff United

After going 1-0 down to an early penalty Turriff United went on to secure a well-earned victory over a youthful Rothes outfit who were missing no fewer than nine first team regulars through injury.

Turra manager Warren Cummings said: “I thought we were well worth the three points as we dominated the game from the first minute and all the way through.

“I don’t think there was any point where Rothes put us under any danger, it was more about what we did with the ball, as opposed to them.

“We made good decisions with the ball and we got the goals in the end, although it was disappointing we gave them a leg up with that early penalty kick.”

For the second home game in a row Rothes opened the scoring from the penalty spot early on.

Jake Thomson was felled in the box by Andrew Watt and Thomson hammered the ball under the diving David Dey for a fourth minute opener.

The Rothes goal survived a real let-off in the 18th minute when John Allan’s ferocious 15-yarder cannoned back off the face of the home side’s crossbar.

Ten minutes from the break Watt also saw his fierce drive from 20 yards clatter off the top of the Rothes crossbar and sail over the top.

Turriff drew level two minutes from the break when Liam Strachan lashed the ball home from just inside the box.

Two minutes later United hit the bar for the third time when Jack McKenzie’s cross rebounded off the woodwork, but two minutes later Turriff were not to be denied when Allan blasted home from six yards.

With 15 minutes to go Turriff made sure of the win when Murray Cormack tapped home from a couple of yards.

Rothes manager Richard Hastings, said: “You don’t want to talk about the number of injuries we have, but there’s no hiding that it was always going to be harder with so many youngsters on the pitch.

“But across the board we were sloppy in possession and panicked on occasion which meant we shot ourselves in the foot.

“We needed to be a bit calmer on the ball.

“We worked hard, but we needed to work harder at the right moments in the game.”


Mixed emotions for Graeme Stewart after 10-man Buckie Thistle rescue late point against Inverurie Locos