Ross MacPherson showed the Can-Cans’ fans exactly what they had been missing during his lengthy absence, scoring one goal and setting up another to inspire his team to a 5-2 victory over Clachnacuddin at Mosset Park.
Coming on in the 58th minute for Ryan Mackintosh, the diminutive midfielder was a constant thorn in the side of the Inverness outfit and the home support must have been purring with excitement thinking about how MacPherson could be performing when he has a few more games under his belt.
The victory, which cemented the Can-Cans’ place at eighth in the league table, was thoroughly deserved and they never looked as those they wouldn’t grab the three points, despite being pegged back twice by their opponents.
The home side dominated the early exchanges. Firstly midfielder Kris Duncan stung the palms of Clachnacuddin keeper John Campbell in the fifth minute with a powerful drive from 11 yards out.
And then from the resulting corner, the ball broke to Forres’ Steven Fraser on the edge of the eighteen yard box, after the Simon Allan left wing delivery was only partially cleared by the lilywhites’ backline, but the centre-back could only strike his effort inches wide of the right hand post.
Duncan missed his second chance in quick succession when he controlled the ball on his chest down the inside left channel before turning and bending a shot towards the top right hand corner of Campbell’s goal from the edge of the box. However the shot ended up a few inches over the bar.
With 11 minutes gone, the home side finally made their early dominance pay by breaking the deadlock. An Allan left wing corner evaded lots of bodies in the six yard box before defender Fraser side-footed the ball in from point-blank range.
The visitors continued to play lethargically after Forres took the lead as the Can-Cans had two great chances to double their advantage a few minutes later. Firstly striker Lee Fraser forced Campbell to turn his rasping drive away for a corner.
Directly from that left wing corner, Allan played the ball towards the back post and after the keeper spilled the cross which he came out to collect, Steven Fraser smashed a close-range effort off the underside of the crossbar, after which Campbell gratefully grabbed hold of the ball. Sections of the home support were convinced that the ball had crossed the line but referee Graham Fraser decided not to give the goal. Expect calls for goal-line technology being installed at the ground to increase in the coming weeks.
In the 16th minute, Forres’ fans had a reason to be aggrieved again when another goal was disallowed. The lilywhites had real trouble dealing with Simon Allan’s deliveries from set pieces and this chance came from yet another left wing corner. The ball was played towards the back post again and winger Craig McGovern nodded the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the net from three yards out. However he was adjudged to have fouled Campbell when going for the header.
On the half-hour mark, the visitors equalised against the run of play. Midfielder Ian Penwright dribbled to the edge of the Forres box before sliding a pass through to team-mate Daniel McLennan, who then rounded Forres keeper Stuart Knight, as he looked to pounce on the ball, before rolling the ball into the empty net from 13 yards out.
However, Clachnacuddin’s joy was short-lived as the Can-Cans regained their lead a minute later. Allan picked up the ball just inside the lilywhites’ half and ran down the inside right channel unchallenged before striking a deflected 25 yard effort towards goal. Campbell was only able to palm the deflected shot away right to the feet of Forres left back Paul Smith, who rolled his two yard effort into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
The rest of the first half continued in the same vein with the Can-Cans dominating. However they were unable to build on their advantage.
Half Time: Forres Mechanics-2 Clachnacuddin-1
After the restart, the visitors appeared completely rejuvenated and they grabbed a second equaliser four minutes into the second half. The lilywhites’ Jamie Doran hit a ferocious strike from the edge of the box straight at the keeper. Such was the power of the shot that Knight could only palm it away straight to the feet of Penwright, who rolled the ball into the back of the net from point blank range to add to his earlier assist.
MacPherson’s timely introduction had the home side playing a much higher tempo and it was not long before he made his mark, putting his side back in front for the third time. In the 61st minute, Smith played a low cross into the box from the inside left channel which went straight to the feet of Duncan, who had his back to goal. He then laid the ball off to MacPherson by chipping it into his path and MacPherson hit an unstoppable 16 yard volley into the back of the net, giving Campbell no chance.
Four minutes later, the Can-Cans doubled their advantage with MacPherson having an instrumental role to play in the goal. He picked up the ball 30 yards out and played a pinpoint through ball in behind the lilywhites right back down the inside left channel to Duncan. Duncan then rolled his 15 yard effort under the body of the on-rushing Campbell into the back of the net.
Things got worse for the visitors when they went down to 10 men eight minutes from time when Clachnacuddin striker Martin Callum picked up a second booking for throwing the ball away.
Minutes later, the lilywhites’ Sean Fitzpatrick let fly with an audacious 35 yard effort which flew well wide of Stuart Knight’s goal.
With two minutes of normal time remaining, the home side profited from their extra man by scoring a fifth goal. Can Cans’ Scott Moore rounded Campbell before firing a cross back into the six yard box straight to the feet of Lee Fraser, who completed the simple task of knocking the ball into the empty net from point-blank range.
Full Time: Forres Mechanics-5 Clachnacuddin-2
Post Match Reaction
Forres Mechanics manager Charlie Rowley: “It was a nervy game coming into it because we are semi-established in the top half of the league and we had the chasing pack behind us, so I thought it was imperative for us to return to winning ways after our disappointing result on Saturday.”
Clachnacuddin manager Ian Polworth: “We were second best in all parts of the pitch tonight. The desire of the boys disappointed me the most, we just weren’t up to scratch and Forres deserved the victory. Although we got back into the game twice, we never deserved to be in the game. I don’t know how Forres were not out of sight at half time. If it wasn’t for our keeper making some good saves and some poor finishing from Forres, there would have been no chance of a comeback.”