Hi to all Scottish Highland League football fans, whoever you support, but especially those who follow Forres Mechanics, lets just hope for a good and improved 2015-16 season.
After the usual summer transfer market dealings we have said goodbye and good luck to Kris Duncan, Ross Archibald, Ryan MacIntosh and Andrew Fraser.
But we give a huge Mosset Park welcome to Liam Baxter (forward) and Gordon Finlayson (defender ) and I’m sure all our fans will give them great encouragement all season.
The season kicked off on 18th July with a trip to local rivals Lossiemouth in the first round of the AJG Parcels North of Scotland Cup, which we won 4-2. The score-line somewhat flattered us by the final whistle.
We dominated the first half after losing an early goal to lead 3-1 at half time with goals from Liam Baxter, Stuart Soane and Lee Fraser and looked to be cruising but we sat back in the second half and invited Lossie to come back at us and they dominated it for long periods and pulled another goal back before a rare breakaway allowed Lee Fraser to score his second of the afternoon and send the away fans home happy and relieved, we now at home to Rothes in the second round on 12th August.
The Highland League campaign started on 25th July with an away trip to, a much changed in personnel, Formartine United. This was the first game to be available through online screening in a new deal signed with the Press & Journal, the league sponsor.
On what was a lovely day, weather wise, and on a perfect looking pitch we unfortunately came away with a 1-0 defeat. We were without Lee Fraser, Paul Smith and goalkeeper Stuart Knight, who was suspended, so we had to list two trialists on the teamsheet, Ryan Watson and former Turriff goalkeeper Grant Pennet.
Although the home team dominated much of the game some great defending and a great display from Pennet kept the scoreline at 1-0, but the performance was non the less very encouraging.
The biggest question being asked by our fans in those first two games though was why the absence of defender Steven Fraser from the starting 11? Someone who has been rock solid in central defence for most of the time, and having persuaded him to stay and sign a new contract then why wasn’t he picked?
In the first home league game of this campaign on first August we welcomed an improving Fort William (well at least based on Fort’s end of last season efforts) and we won surprisingly easily 6-0. A Lee Fraser hat-trick, two from Liam Baxter and Paul Smith were the scorers but it could and maybe should have been so much more.
The Fraser/Baxter partnership up front looks very promising and I’m sure will lead to many goals this season. But the most notable aspect of this game was the high amount of mis-placed passes from both teams, something that will have to be addressed because better quality opposition will jump all over that and will punish you heavily.
Next up is an away trip to Turriff on 8th August where I’m sure revenge will be on our minds as we lost both games to them last season, come on ye Cans.