INVERURIE Locos came first footing to Mosset Park on the back of three successive league wins which had elevated them to fifth in the table. League leaders Forres Mechanics were looking to respond after only their second league defeat of the season at Nairn and in the end they were to grind out a 2-0 victory to remain two points clear of second placed Cove Rangers.
Forres started first with a deep free kick from Simon Allan met by Kyle Scott but his looping header from twelve yards out dipped over the crossbar. Locos responded from a set piece of their own four minutes later as a short corner from John Maitland eventually found the head of Kenny Coull but the co- manager’s effort went narrowly wide.
The pressure from the visitors almost paid dividends in the 24th minute as a similar combination saw another Maitland corner met by the head of Coull. On this occasion the striker’s header cannoned off of the back post and spun to safety to the relief of the home team.
Forres almost opened the scoring in the 35th minute when a swift counter attack saw Ryan Green flick the ball out left to Scott Moore. Moore took a touch and struck a half volley on target which was palmed out by Andy Reid. From the resulting corner, a deep delivery by Simon Allan saw Nathan Sharp head narrowly over the bar.
Forres were not to be denied though and on the 39th minute they went in front. Inverurie Locos had restricted Forres to very few set pieces and a cheap foul on Kyle Scott by Craig Ross 40 yards from goal saw Simon Allan float another long ball in to the area. Exactly half an hour after his first effort, a similar looping header from Kyle Scott dropped in at the back post.
Forres have not lost a league game this season in which they have opened the scoring but Inverurie were far from downbeat. Locos have made 10 trips to Mosset Park on league duty since their arrival in 2001 and had headed east on no fewer than seven occasions with maximum points.
The visiting fans were becoming increasingly frustrated at their team’s inability to penetrate a resilient home defence with a Locos forward being caught offside no fewer than nine times.
Stuart Knight was called into action on the 73rd minute as he met a 30 yard piledriver from Adams as the Red and Blacks tried everything they could to break through the solid home backline.
As Forres chased a decisive second goal, Rowley sent on Kevin Duguid and Matthew Davidson in place of Lee Fraser and Scott Moore. And with four minutes remaining Kevin Duguid linked up with Whyte before waltzing into the penalty area and drilling the ball under the advancing Reid to secure the victory for Forres.
Forres Mechanics: Knight, G Fraser, Allan, Grant, Sharp, MacPherson, Whyte, Moore(Duguid 81), L Fraser(Davidson 83), K Scott, Green(McNab 63)
Subs: Tweedie, Main
Inverurie Locos: Reid, Park, McLean, Begg, Adams, Broadhurst, Ross, Gordon, Coull, Low (Gauld 68), Maitland
Subs: S Scott, Thomson, Watson, Bell
A bitterly disappointed co-boss Scott Buchan said, “It was very frustrating as I felt we dominated the whole match. Their defending has rewarded them, but we hit the post, a great header from Kenny Coull, had various other shots on target. But they were throwing bodies at the ball to block things
“We just lacked that bit of luck that would have turned it our way. But it was not to be our day. Their goal on the other hand was a bit orthodox, a very powerful header from their player (Kyle Scott)
“In the second half we were chasing the game but I’m delighted with how our players performed. The pitch was in great condition and that made it very suitable for us being able to play our normal game.”
Next up is the big local derby on Saturday, when Locos welcome neighbours Formartine United to Harlaw Park, looking for revenge after their defeat in September. Kick off is at 3pm.