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First points of season for Cans in Strathy win

By Jonathan Clark

FORRES Mechanics picked up their first points of the Highland League season with a thumping 7-1 victory over Strathspey Thistle at Mosset Park on Saturday.

Forres Mechanics' Stuart Soane celebrates with Allan MacPhee.
Forres Mechanics' Stuart Soane celebrates with Allan MacPhee.

It's been a tricky opening to the campaign for Mechanics – but manager Charlie Rowley pointed out his side are two points better off this season than they were from these four games last time out.

Last season, the Cans drew with Strathspey 0-0 at Mosset Park and lost to Brora (H) and Rothes and Inverurie (A), just as they have done at the start of this campaign.

Rowley said: "That's us two points better off from the coinciding fixtures from last year. We didn't get too despondent after our run of defeats.

"There was no point in panicking, as much as we have been disappointed we realised we were short of numbers and playing against quality opposition. We really haven't lost any ground in comparison with last season.

"But we have got a run of games now that are achievable in terms of being able to win them so we have to build on today's good performance starting with Keith next week."

The Cans took the lead inside five minutes as referee Scott Leslie played a good advantage to allow Allan MacPhee to tap in Martin Groat's square ball, after the latter was fouled.

Andy Macrae went on a beautiful run after 17 minutes, taking on three or four defenders, before being denied by Thistle goalkeeper Michael MacCallum.

After a good period of Strathspey pressure, in which Scott Morrison and Stephen Rennie both fired efforts over, Mechanics doubled their lead against the run of play.

Quick thinking from Robbie Duncanson got MacPhee in behind to finish neatly for his second.

From then on in, it was a total domination for Forres. Andy Macrae was teed up for his first on 36 minutes after Duncanson squeezed the ball through to Soane and Graham Fraser hit the crossbar with a header as the Cans went into the break 3-0 up.

Soane grabbed a goal on 53 minutes – poking home on the line after fantastic work from Andy Macrae. Macrae deserved it for his run and finish, but Soane had teed him up perfectly in the first half and the favour was returned. That was Soane's 99th goal for the Cans.

Four minutes later and it was 5-0. Soane did the work this time for Calum Howarth to fire in via the floor.

The goal of the game, and perhaps the goal of the season, was saved for the visitors as Scott Morrison smashed a 50-yard strike over Stuart Knight and in for 5-1.

Andy Macrae replied with a smashing effort of his own, arrowing a strike into the bottom left corner on 74 minutes, before Allan MacPhee wrapped up the scoring with his very first Highland League hat-trick on 78 minutes.

Cutting in from the left hand side, MacPhee fired a beauty into the left hand corner to put the icing on goal-filled Forres Mechanics cake.

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