Locos Harlaw Park frustration continued as they slumped to a first defeat of the season against Forres Mechanics. It seems fitting that a game of few chances was decided by an own goal early in the second half. While The Railwaymen could probably claim to be edging the game to that point, the visitors never really looked like they would relinquish the lead once they got themselves in front.
Both teams would have come into the game full of confidence following 5-0victories away from home last weekend. Unsurprisingly, Richie Hastings went with the same starting eleven that put Rothes to the sword but for all the desire to play positively, neither side could repeat their blistering start of a week ago. An early effort from Jack Grant was comfortably dealt with by Andy Reid before Mark Souter tried to repeat his 60 yard free kick goal from 12 months ago, but couldn’t find the target. Logan Johnstone and Ethan Cairns both saw their efforts drift harmlessly over the bar before the first real goal mouth action of the game on 18 minutes. The ball was eventually cleared behind following a scramble in the visitors six yard box with Locos appealing for a penalty.
Cairns was proving a thorn in Locos side and was closer with his next attempt, but couldn’t force a save from Reid. For Locos it was Robert Ward causing the problems and a foul on him presented a chance for Calum Dingwall to take a shot at goal from the set piece but Stuart Knight was equal to it.
Locos had a lively start to the second half. A well hit Dingwall volley was blocked at close quarters by Callum Johnstone and Ward’s follow up was also well blocked as the Can-Cans defence protected their keeper. Fergus Alberts glanced a header wide from a Matthew Petermann cross from the right before the visitors took the lead on 52 minutes. Cairns got clear down the left, firing in a dangerous low cross that Souter could only poke past Reid in his attempt to clear. It was a tough one for Soapy who had looked so assured all afternoon.
A Johnstone shot for the visitors and home midfielder Lloyd Robertson’s header both went close as the game opened up a bit. Cairns again threatened, finding the side netting with Reid closing him down as Hastings switched to a back three and sent Souter forward in search of an equaliser in the final fifteen minutes. He certainly gave the defence something to think about but Locos were unable to test Knight, whose final action of the game was to claim a corner with opposite number Reid trying to get his head to it.
In truth this was a fairly insipid game, testament perhaps to the fact that in addition to scoring five, these two teams both kept a clean sheet last week. Forres Mechanics will obviously be delighted that they were able to get the breakthrough and the 3 points. Locos have no time to dwell on this performance with an Aberdeenshire Cup fixture at Fraserburgh on Wednesday evening before welcoming Formartine United to Harlaw next weekend.