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Wed 22nd Apr - Rothes 0 Fort William 4

Fort William travelled to sunny Mackessack Park for what was the only SHFL game of the evening. 

This was Rothes’ last game of a turbulent season and they were rooted to the bottom with 11 points to show for their efforts.  

A win would take them level on points with Strathspey, but with their goal difference being 21 worse off only a massive miracle score would stop The Speysiders finishing the season bottom of the pile.  

Fort on the other hand would be guaranteed finishing no lower than 14th spot with a win, in what has been a great season for the Claggan Park side. Victory would see them sit in 13th position with three games still to play. All the remaining matches for the Fort are at home, starting with Cove on Saturday.  

On-loan pairing Kenny Mair (Turiff United) and Andrew Howard (Forres Mechanics) had been recalled and with Callum Mcintosh and Brett Mitchell unavailable it left Rothes with just 14 players, one being a trialist. Fort William had a strong side although listed a few trialists themselves. 

The last meeting between the two clubs was two Wednesdays ago. It was a thriller at Claggan Park with the teams sharing the spoils with a dramatic 4-4 draw. Both sides had a two-goal cushion in the match but neither could hold on to get the three points.  

The first chance of this game fell to one of the Fort William trialists, with Ross Macrae meeting a clearance from a corner on the edge of the box, but his shot was high over Khalid Al-Samarraie’s crossbar. 

Nathan Wilson then forced the ball past two defenders but found his shot blocked and was soon crowded out from a rebound by recovering Fort defenders in the 18th minute. 

The on-loan Inverness City man had another opportunity from the edge of the area but it was too central to the goalkeeper, who made a save. 

The breakthrough came in the 33rd minute and it was a beauty of a strike from Fort trialist, John McLeod. The ball fell to him from a corner about 20 yards out and he made no mistake in powering it into the bottom corner of the Rothes net.  

The last good opportunity of the half again fell to McLeod, whose quick shot on the turn was saved well by Al-Samarraie. 

The start of the second half saw both teams try shots from distance, with not much to trouble either goalkeeper, until Al-Samarraie clawed a Macrae header away from his top left corner in the 57th minute. 

Rothes were struggling to retain possession and were losing the ball too often going forward. A decent run and cross from Wilson, after he beat the offside trap, was the only opening of note. But there were no takers in the middle. 

In the 67th minute McLeod netted his second of the game and it was another cracker. The striker took one touch and hit a shot from the edge of the area into the bottom left corner of the goal. 

McLeod then completed a hat-trick from the penalty spot with 10 minutes remaining. A good run by Andreas Broomfield ended with him being tripped trying to skip into the box from the left wing. The penalty was beautifully powered into the top right corner of the goal by McLeod and it all but secured the points for the Fort. 

The gloss was put on the away side's win right at the end as Callum Maclean scored with a header after getting on the end of a corner from Barna Tot. It ended a near perfect night for the Fort men who were rarely troubled at the back, Rothes clearly missing the four players who had played so well in losing 2-0 against champions Brora just four days previously.  

The lack of firepower up top was evident for The Speysiders but with Craig McMillan bound for Mackessack Park next season, co-Managers Paul Lamberton and Willie Duncan will be hoping that will change.  

Rothes will be happy the season is now over for them and they can look to start rebuilding a team for next term, which will be the co-managers first full season in charge of the club. They will be looking to bring in some new recruits in the summer to put their own stamp on things and try to improve results on the park. 

Fort William will go into their last three games with some confidence after controlling the game at Rothes and will look to keep 13th place. Only Keith, who play Wick Academy at Kynoch Park on Saturday can stop Fort from achieving that goal. It is the Lochaber club's best season since 1995/6 where they recorded a total of 26 points, which they can beat this year with one more win.

League Table

Rank Teams Played Points Current form
1 Cove Rangers 22 62 WWWWW
2 Fraserburgh 24 55 WDWWD
3 Inverurie Locos 25 54 LWDWW
4 Formartine United 25 52 WWLWW
5 Forres Mechanics 24 45 WWLWL
6 Buckie Thistle 26 43 DWLDL
7 Brora Rangers 21 41 WLDLL
8 Rothes 25 40 LLWWW
9 Huntly 26 39 LLLDL
10 Deveronvale 25 35 LWLLW
11 Nairn County 23 35 WDWWL
12 Clachnacuddin 26 33 WDDLW
13 Wick Academy 20 27 DWWWD
14 Turriff United 22 24 LLLLL
15 Lossiemouth 26 14 WLLWL
16 Keith 27 11 LLLLL
17 Strathspey Thistle 24 10 LDWLW
18 Fort William 21 2 LLLLD

Recent Results

21-02-2018 20:00 - SHFL Week 29
Keith 0 : 2 Deveronvale
Clachnacuddin 3 : 2 Brora Rangers
Nairn County 2 : 4 Rothes
Formartine United 4 : 1 Forres Mechanics
Huntly 1 : 7 Inverurie Locos
Buckie Thistle 1 : 2 Strathspey Thistle
20-02-2018 20:00 - MM Aberdeenshire Shield Final
Banks O' Dee 2 : 5 Cove Rangers
17-02-2018 15:00 - SHFL Week 29
Keith 0 : 5 Cove Rangers
Lossiemouth 4 : 6 Rothes
Formartine United 3 : 2 Brora Rangers
Nairn County 1 : 0 Strathspey Thistle
Forres Mechanics 3 : 0 Deveronvale
Wick Academy 1 : 1 Huntly
Fraserburgh 2 : 2 Buckie Thistle
Inverurie Locos 3 : 0 Clachnacuddin
10-02-2018 15:00 - Scottish Cup Fifth Round
Cove Rangers 1 : 3 Falkirk
Kilmarnock 4 : 0 Brora Rangers
10-02-2018 15:00 - Breedon Highland League Cup First Round
Buckie Thistle 0 : 3 Keith

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