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Forres Mechanics aim to shake off stoppage time penalty agony at Nairn County when they host Inverurie Locos in Highland League

By Craig Christie

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Forres Mechanics manager Steven MacDonald chose his words carefully after seeing his team lose out to a hotly-disputed stoppage time penalty on Saturday.

Forres Mechanics' manager Steven MacDonald...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Forres Mechanics' manager Steven MacDonald...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

He hopes his men will enjoy better fortunes when they host Inverurie Locos tonight in a Highland league clash.

Cans made the short derby trip to newly-crowned North Cup champions Nairn County at the weekend and lost 2-1, with Andrew MacLeod’s spot kick in the seventh minute of time added on proving to be the decisive moment.

Ross County loanee George Robesten gave Nairn a half time lead against the run of play, with Craig Mackenzie scoring a deserved equaliser for Mechanics on 83 minutes.

Few could grudge the visitors a point but a ball into the Forres goalmouth was cleared by visiting stopper Mark McLauchlan, but Nairn claims for a high boot won favour with the spot award and MacLeod gleefully fired home.

MacDonald has seen footage of the incident and could not believe a penalty was awarded.

“Watching it back I don’t think the referee is in a particularly good position to see anything there,” he said. “Mark has to clear it, their young boy Calum MacKay has ducked down for it and I’ve seen the stills on social media with Mark’s foot going up and the guys head going down, but these pictures are false.

“He has already cleared the ball by then, he hasn’t wiped out the man to get the ball, he’s cleared it and there’s a follow-through from his foot which is a bit high but it hasn’t clashed with their guy.

“From Mark’s point of view he has defended it, he’s cleared the ball and there’s a lot of shouts and pressure put on. It’s bitterly disappointing to lose a game in that manner when you’ve put so much into it.”

Forres were dealt a pre-match blow when ex-Nairn man Calum Howarth pulled up with a calf injury in the warm-up and couldn’t play.

The defender will also be missing for the midweek clash with Locos, where Mechanics are eager to end an eight-game league run without victory.

MacDonald handed a debut to former Ross County midfielder Gregor MacDonald, who had made a short-term loan move from Brora Rangers to Cans.

Gregor MacDonald (left) in action for Brora Rangers, who have loaned the midfielder out to Forres. Photo: James Mackenzie
Gregor MacDonald (left) in action for Brora Rangers, who have loaned the midfielder out to Forres. Photo: James Mackenzie

“Gregor did well,” MacDonald added. “He fitted in well to the way we play. He missed a sitter at half time which is unlike him because usually he scores for fun and he has a great left foot.

“He contributed well and once he gets more minutes and match sharpness he’s going to be really good.

“He can play anywhere across the midfield. He moved in three or four areas across the park and he’s got real quality about him so I’m sure he will be a really good addition for us.”

Cans have two chances on home soil to end their winless streak, as after Locos they host Rothes on Saturday.

"From our own point of view we know the fine lines that are involved," MacDonald said.

"It’s turning these good performances into wins that is the key now. I said that on Saturday to the team, as well as they had played they have to realise that means nothing if you aren’t getting any points. So we have to do that better.”

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