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Forres Mechanics 2-1 Deveronvale
Scorers: Harris 20, Lee Fraser 22, 61
Vale's bogey ground Mossat Park came back to bite once more as they tasted league defeat for the first time this season. Gary Harris' twenty-minute opener may have been slightly against the run of play but Lee Fraser's equaliser two minutes later had enough rub of the green to balance things out.
The second forty-five which the visitors controlled for long spells should have seen them take at least a point but the big moments in the encounter went against Steve Dolan's side and the forced withdrawal of injured skipper Scott Fraser proved to be vital when Lee Fraser netted a header four minutes after his marker had left the field and it proved to be the winner.
Steven Fraser was declared fit to face his old team as Steve Dolan took his side to Forres looking for a third league win on the trot. Chris Blackhall was eligible to play despite his red card in midweek but could only make the bench while Steven Davidson made his full debut and Gary Harris returned to the starting lineup after feeling the effects of an injury picked up at Nairn last weekend meant he had missed the cup tie loss to Cove on Wednesday evening.
Forres won the toss and elected to play with the strong westerly breeze at their backs for the opening half and a quick break upfield by the Can-Cans early on saw Craig McGovern get the better of Ross Aitken in a fifty-fifty but fortunately for the Vale defence the end result saw the number eleven fire narrowly over the top of James Blanchard's goal.
Liam Baxter also fired a set-piece over the top from a decent position and Graham Fraser did likewise as the homeside started the brighter going long and high at every opportunity to put their hosts under pressure whilst using the tall frame of Lee Fraser to hold things up and cause mayhem in and around the Vale penalty area.
Vale's first opportunity of the encounter came on the quarter-hour in the shape of a set-piece which was well worked but Graeme Watt failed to find the target from the narrowest of angles.
A nice move from the Banffers five minutes later though saw them steal into the lead, Graeme Watt's low ball from the left was laid-off by Steven Davidson into the path of Gary HARRIS and the number ten drilled the ball into the opposite corner of the net past a helpless Stuart Knight.
Forres equalised two minutes later when ex-Forres defender Steven Fraser failed to clear the ball ahead of former team-mate Lee Fraser and although the Vale number six tried to make amends his attempted block only aided the latter's strike at goal as it looped over the head of James Blanchard and into the back of the net.
Scott Moore volleyed high and wide following a couple of flag-kicks which caused some moments of concern for the Banffers before former Nairn midfielder John Cameron came agonisingly close with a stooped header off Scott Graham's inviting centre which bounced a foot or so wide.
Scott Fraser cleared a back-post and certain second for the homeside five minutes from the interval following another dangerous flag-kick while at the opposite end a double stop prevented the visitors grabbing the initiative. Firstly Graeme Grant popped up on the line to thwart Scott Fraser while as the loose ball was headed back towards to top corner by the Vale skipper Stuart Knight produced a stunning one-handed save to prevent the Banff side from going in at the break a goal to the good. HT
The visitors started the second half on the ascendancy with Graeme Watt having an effort blocked before Lukas Krobot should have done better when he headed narrowly wide with a free header off Kevin Souter's ball to the back post.
Craig Cowie's deflected effort bounced agonisingly past Stuart Knight's left-hand post as the keeper lay on the grass before a big moment in the game saw Scott Fraser being forced out of the match with an injury, Chris Blackhall replacing the unlucky captain.
Things went from bad to worse for Steve Dolan when his side found themselves behind totally against the run of play, Lee Fraser out jumping the Vale defence and planting a rather weak header into the bottom corner of which keeper James Blanchard seemed to watch in slow motion as it nestled in the net without making any kind of effort to stop it.
Craig McGowan very nearly increased the Can Cans advantage with a super turn to get away from his marker but he send his shot from 18-yards straight down the throat of James Blanchard with the goal gaping.
The Banffers kept the momentum going as they chased the equaliser but came up against a stubborn and well-dressed home defence who threw themselves into every challenge whilst making crucial interceptions at vital moments as their visitors threw caution to the stiff wind.
Graeme Watt was denied a deserved equaliser in the dying seconds by yet another super stop from Stuart Knight, the keeper throwing himself high to his left to turn Watty's well-struck effort around for a fruitless corner kick.
Sponsors man of the match Lee Fraser failed to convert an injury time penalty award and complete his hat-trick when Blanchy saved the big striker's poor effort after Chris Blackhall had upended Craig McGowan in the box with a lacklustre attempt to challenge the midfielder.
Vale: Blanchard, Krobot, Aitken, Begg, *54 Scott Fraser (Blackhall 57), Steven Fraser, *40 Cowie (Duguid 80), Souter, Davidson (Forbes 75), Harris, Watt
Subs: Keith, Ross, Manson, Pennet (gk)
Forres: Knight, *66 Grant, G Fraser, *45 Moore, L Fraser, *47 Baxter (*70 Finlayson 69), *83 McGovern, Khutssishvii, Graham (Hutcheson 88), *51 Cameron (McLean 85), Soane
Subs: Allan, MacIver, Paterson
Manager: Charlie Rowley
Referee: Alan Proctor
Vale Stats:
Efforts On: 4
Efforts Off: 5
Woodwork: 0
Corners: 8
Offside: 3
Overhead Conditions: Stiff Westerly Breeze
Playing Surface: Very Soft
Temp at KO: 17 Deg C
Last Season: 2-1 Lost
Reporter: Neil Montgomery
Reported LastEdited: 13-Aug-2016
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