Locos Engine Failure at the Mechanics
Forres 2 Inverurie 0 MECHANICS - Knight, G Fraser, Groat, Moore, Milne, Pollock (McPherson), McGovern, Macrae, MacPhee (Stuart), Howarth, Soane, Unused subs- Grant, Paterson, Duncanson, R Fraser, Brown. LOCOS- Reid, Rennie, Mitchell, Duff, Souter, Laing, McCabe, McLean, Gauld (Charlesworth), Hunter, Leyden (Angus). Unused subs - Gordon, Mathieson. Ref - D.Munro. Stats - Locos first: Shots ON 6-9, Shots OFF 4-6, Fouls 14-13, Corners 5-3, Offside 5-2. Disappointing Highland League days have been rare for the Locos legions, but after seven wins on the bounce, the side lost 2-0 to a highly energetic but nonetheless one dimensional Forres Mechanics on Wednesday night. One of the very best defenders in north football is Ryan Broadhurst but ‘Chopper’ was still struggling with a knock picked up in the Rothes win & sat this one out. Martin Laing made his first start since the League Cup defeat in Sutherland, with Stuart Duff slotting in at centre half. The park was subject to an inspection at noon which was duly passed, and whilst completely playable was very soft indeed in places, ensuring that the expansive Locos play of late wasn’t going to be appropriate. Referee Munro was looking after his second Locos match of the campaign & the poor official was to go on & have an evening to forget. Conditions were pleasant overhead as the match started & Locos attacked the North End. Neil Gauld had a looping header easily caught & Allan Pollock shot at Andy Reid in the early moments. Joe McCabe weaved a cracking pass through to Neil Gauld but the ball bobbled on the gloopy surface & a great chance had gone. Forres were lucky to escape without punishment after Stuart Knight completely lost a Jordan Leyden cross but no Locos were on hand to capitalise. Mechanics were a goal up on fourteen minutes. Long straight & angular balls into the danger zone are the modus operandi of the home side, and whilst these are not things of beauty or likely to be filmed by FIFA for training DVDs, they are effective. Locos made a hash of clearing & challenging this latest aerial ball, but Andrew MACRAE needed a streaky deflection to take his shot away from both keeper & on-line defender. The match referee had started his evening with a selection of unnecessary free-kick awards & the last thing he needed was a lack of support from his assistants. The ball flew towards the Forres byline from a home player with the stand side linesman toiling to get up with play. The ball appeared not to cross the line but very belatedly the flag went up to suggest in his opinion it had. On that basis therefore a straightforward corner, but no, keeper Knight was afforded the decision, quite incredible. Scott Moore hauled Neil McLean to the deck without punishment but when play broke down, referee Munro lectured both players. Andy Hunter stepped in from the left & swerved a lovely shot just wide of the right peg. Two blatant deliberate handballs in the middle of the park by Forres were missed as frustration on the away bench & amongst the Locos fans grew. Joe McCabe allowed the way the evening was progressing to get to him a bit & took on a shot from thirty five yards plus that was ambitious in the extreme. Locos just couldn’t get the tempo & movement that had been so pivotal in seeing the club in the SHFL top three for the last six months. The half ended with Jordan Milne shooting well over. Chris Angus was introduced at half time for Jordan Leyden. A Gauld centre was inches too high for the waiting Angus at the back stick & the chance went over then a Hunter free kick was straight at an underworked Knight. Locos hadn’t been up to their usual standards but the second goal was desperately unlucky. A driven deflected ball crashed into Stuart SOANE who did in fairness react quickly to divert the ball onto the bar, down into the turf & over the line. Andy Reid then had a series of brave, wonderful saves, the pick being from MacRae. Mark Souter was tugged back whilst breaking from defence. This was missed & the defender was rewarded with a yellow for dissent, a punishment non existent for home players partaking in backchat. Referee Munro blocked a Locos attack with his legs, by accident, leading to Forres almost being in on the visitor’s goal. A Fraser drive was then repelled by Reid & at this point Locos were really toiling for the first time in many weeks. Neil McLean found himself one of one with Knight but chose to try & find a team-mate rather than pull the trigger & the chance was lost. Mechanics had a chance hacked off the Locos line before McLean was correctly booked for a late trip. Laing had a shot go miles wide then Angus shot at Knight from a tight angle. Andy Hunter had a close range effort hit the prone
goalie which summed up the evening. The same player was then dragged to the deck by the keeper but perhaps the referee didn’t have an angle to see this properly. Charlesworth was on for Gauld & had two shots deflected wide. Stuart Duff was booked for a routine foul, the type that had escaped any cautions all evening, with some observers mentioning that perhaps booking a former senior full time professional is something of a badge of honour. A late Hunter header was tipped over. Forres deserved their win, Locos struggled with their physicality & direct no frills percentage football. Locos best player was keeper Reid, whilst for Forres Allan Pollock bossed the middle of the park, with Locos midfield collectively having an off night. Inverurie head to Turriff on Saturday for the Old Farm derby & will need to re-group & show a lot more than they did in Moray. Hopefully the season’s end doesn’t conclude with a whimper.