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Ruthless Mechanics take misfiring Scorries apart

By Matt Leslie

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Jack Henry tries to get Wick Academy back into the game with this second-half effort. Picture: Mel Roger
Jack Henry tries to get Wick Academy back into the game with this second-half effort. Picture: Mel Roger

Wick Academy....... 0

Forres Mechanics....2

(Declan Hughes 30, Robbie Duncanson 35)

Academy boss Tom McKenna had warned his team to beware of a cornered tiger prior to this fixture. However, Forres barely had to squeak, let alone roar, to get out of their own rut.

The Can-Cans had not won a Highland League fixture since November 20 going into this one but a listless display from Academy helped them put that right.

First-half goals from Declan Hughes and Robbie Duncanson put Forres back on winning ways with the Scorries looking as if they had little idea on how to respond.

When the two met in the Highland League Cup last season, Wick put in a display full of passion, endeavour and above all intelligence as they tactically outmanoeuvred the Can-Cans in a 1-0 victory.

Despite their visitors' poor run of form, a similar performance was required. Alas, those hardy souls who braved the weather to watch this did not get one.

Usually when the sponsors of a particular fixture give out their man of the match award, an Academy player is normally the recipient – win, lose or draw. The fact they gave it to Forres goalscorer Duncanson showed that not even the most partisan of onlookers could kid themselves that any of the home side had performed well enough.

Forres started the game tentatively – no doubt bracing themselves for a Wick storm that never arrived.

Once they realised that their hosts were giving them an inch, the Can-Cans duly took a mile – with devastating effect.

Academy goalkeeper Gordon Clark denies Forres a goal with this save at full stretch. Picture: Mel Roger
Academy goalkeeper Gordon Clark denies Forres a goal with this save at full stretch. Picture: Mel Roger

They had twice served notice on the Wick goal with striker Lee Fraser going close on both occasions.

Then, on the half-hour mark, the inevitable happened. Granted it took a fortuitous ricochet to present Hughes with his chance but there was no mistaking his technique as he deftly guided the ball into the net past a helpless Gordon Clark in the Wick goal.

Five minutes later, the Can-Cans doubled their lead when Hughes turned provider as his cross picked out Duncanson. His first touch completely bamboozled the Wick defence and set himself up to slot home a sublime finish.

Forres would have made it 3-0 on the stroke of half-time were it not for the brilliance of Clark as the keeper pulled off a tremendous save to deny Lee Fraser.

You would have expected Academy to come out with all guns blazing for the second half in order to dig themselves out of their self-inflicted hole.

However, they were lucky that Forres were not out of sight as Allan MacPhee, Stuart Soane and Niall Docherty all came close.

Academy finally began to carve out opportunities of their own, with Jack Henry unlucky to see his deflected effort narrowly fly over the bar.

Davie Allan spurned a gift of a chance when Forres made a hash of clearing Colin MacRae's cross. The ball fell to the unmarked Allan who contrived to skew his shot wide with the goal at his mercy.

Forres reasserted themselves and came close to adding to their tally when Clark pulled off a fine save from Joe Gauld, with Hughes smashing the rebound against the post.

Instead, the Can-Cans had to content themselves with a 2-0 win – a scoreline which, in all honesty, flattered Academy.

Wick Academy: Clark, MacRae, Farquhar, D Mackay, Manson, Campbell, Henry, Halliday (Gunn 57), S Mackay, R Macadie, D Allan. Subs not used: Aitkenhead, Martens, M Macadie, Hughes, R Allan, More.

Forres Mechanics: Knight, Ross, MacPherson, G Fraser, Milne, L Fraser (MacPhee 61), Duncanson (Gauld 69), Docherty (Allan 80), Hughes, Howarth, Soane.

Referee: Gordon Seago

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