Fort off the bottom after last-gasp win at Turriff
AFTER his last match in charge of Fort William – at Wick in early January – departing manager Russell MacMorran stood outside the Harmsworth Park dressing rooms and confidently predicted that the Lochaber side would get off the bottom of the Highland League table before the end of the season.
Fort had just been beaten 4-1 by Academy, but MacMorran had seen enough during the course of the first half of the campaign to feel sure that the Claggan Park squad, bolstered by a number of Caley Thistle youth players on loan, would avoid their customary wooden-spoon position this time around.
Just over a month later and MacMorran's forecast is starting to look well founded, as Fort – now with Calum MacLean back for a third spell as manager – have lifted themselves into 16th spot, above Lossiemouth on goal difference, having played eight games fewer than the Coasters.
The result that got Fort moving in the right direction was a dramatic 2-1 victory at Turriff United on Saturday.
Donald Morrison's spot-kick gave the visitors the lead at half-time. Turriff looked to have snatched a point when Matthew McDonald nodded in a stoppage-time equaliser, but Lewis Hyde struck with the last kick of the match to hand all three points to Fort.
It was their third league win of the season, the other two having both come against Clachnacuddin.
Experienced striker Conor Gethins was on target against his former club as Formartine United swept to a 6-0 victory over Nairn County at Station Park. Adam Porritt's own goal put the visitors in front and further strikes by Graeme Rodger, Gethins, Jonny Crawford (penalty), Scott Lisle and Jordan Leyden made it a day to forget for Nairn.
Clach registered a morale-boosting 4-3 win at Lossiemouth. The Lilywhites were four up at one stage, courtesy of Eachainn Miller, Blair Lawrie, Sean Webb and Alan Kerr, before Lossie hit back with goals from Liam Archibald (penalty), Ross Elliott and Brodie Allen.
Forres Mechanics finished with nine men in their 2-2 home draw with Buckie Thistle as Callum Howarth and Stuart Soane saw red. Goals from Robbie Duncanson and Declan Hughes put the Can-Cans two up but the Jags replied through Sam Urquhart (penalty) and Scott Adams.
Jordan MacRae helped himself to a hat-trick as leaders Brora Rangers eased to a 5-1 away win against Strathspey Thistle.
Inverurie Locos were 3-1 winners over Deveronvale at Harlaw Park, while Rothes had a 3-2 away victory over Keith.
There was more frustration for Wick Academy as they had a home game postponed for the second Saturday in a row. The match against Huntly was called off on Friday evening following consultation with the league secretary, with stormy weather expected.
The match has now been scheduled for Saturday, April 11.
Other rearranged home fixtures for the Scorries are on Saturday, February 29, against Strathspey Thistle, and on Saturday, March 21, when Nairn County will be the visitors.