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Fort William 1-2 Deveronvale
Scorers: Maclean 35, Forbes 47, Ross 86
Steve Dolan's unlucky run of injuries continued as his side travelled to Lochaber with just twelve fit players available but picked up a morale-boosting victory ahead of their Aberdeenshire Shield tussle with Inverurie Locos on Wednesday evening although yet another injury, this time to Scott Begg leaves the Vale boss with another headache ahead of the cup tie.
In this proverbial game of two halves Colin Maclean opened the scoring ten minutes from the interval with a close-range finish but Liam Forbes had the visitors back on level terms minutes after the restart also from close distance.
Vale's equaliser changed the pattern of the game and it was no surprise they went on to pick up all three points although they did leave until the final five minutes to carve out the winner, Nathan Ross producing the goods with a fine solo effort which was well worth the long journey for the Valley faithful.
Following a long-term injury Zander Jack was forced straight back into Dippy's side as Paul Sutherland and Ross Aitken joined the long casualty list of Vale players while Steven Davidson was converted into a centre-back for this bottom of the league battle.
Fort, who started the better, had a second minute chance when Daniel Highet latched onto Liam Forbes' clearance on the edge of the 18-yard box and sent a fierce rising strike over the top which was followed by Glen Fell's ambitious effort which also cleared James Blanchard's cross bar.
Sean Keith sent in a couple of dangerous set-pieces into the Fort danger area but found no takers as the visitors slowly settled into the match following the long trip westwards and to the enforced changes to their line-up, especially at the back.
Colin Maclean wasted a decent opportunity when he sent a free-kick wide from a dangerous position after Bradley Manson had fouled the lively Glen Fell centrally 22-yards from goal before Scott Davidson did likewise from a similar scenario.
Dane Ballard saw a header come back off the face of the cross bar although it wouldn't have counted as the flag happy stand-side official had already called offside against the number nine, the seventh time the Lino had raised his flag during the opening half hour of the encounter.
Fort took the lead with ten minutes of the half remaining, Bradley Manson's block from deep inside his own penalty box fell kindly to Colin Maclean who's side-footer from 6-yards bounced off the foot of the post before rolling over the line as Vale's makeshift defence failed miserably to deal with the run into their danger area by Glen Fell. HT
The Banffers got off to the perfect start to the second period when they hauled themselves level within two minutes.
Sean Keith won a corner on the left and although his initial ball into the centre was cleared the second delivery was headed or more like shouldered into the net by Liam FORBES for his first of the season.
Five minutes later and Fort keeper David Harrison did really well soon after to turn Sean Keith's clever low ball around the post for a corner and from the resultant flag-kick Liam Forbes was only a foot high from putting the visitors into the lead with another headed attempt.
Another two Keith corners were close affairs for the Lochaber side, both being headed at goal by 'Slug' Forbes who was denied by a possible hand on the first occasion which was hotly contested by the Vale management but referee Billy Baxter wasn't agreeable to their claims for a penalty.
Midway through the second half saw Zander Jack's lovely ball to the back post headed goalwards by Nathan Ross only for Davie Harrison to somehow turn the ball to safety with his legs while at the opposite end another mazy run from Glen Fell had the travelling defence at sixes and sevens although the dangerous number seven was replaced thereafter which was perhaps a blessing.
The game started to open up as it entered the final quarter and substitute Iain MacLennan had an effort saved by James Blanchard and as Vale broke upfield Nathan Ross got the better of centre half Richard Tawse but couldn't beat Davie Harrison as the keeper dived to his left to deny the young Banffers striker once more.
With eight minutes remaining Vale's unlucky run of injuries struck once more when Scott Begg pulled up with a calf injury and had to be replaced by assistant manager Mark Chisholm as the Banffer's only other experienced substitute Liam Archibald had already replaced Bradley Manson. 
However Dippy's boys weren't for lying down and Nathan Ross was denied once again by the Fort custodian as he dived to his left to turn the ball around the post for a corner which was headed firmly over the top by Liam Forbes off yet another Sean Keith decent delivery.
With four minutes remaining a great run and finish from Nathan ROSS saw the Banffers deservedly win the match, the young striker thoroughly justifying his selection and goal after coming so close to finding the net during a pretty much one-sided second half.
Vale: Blanchard, Dunbar, Jack, Begg (*90 Chisholm 82), Davidson, Forbes, Ross, *61 Manson (Archibald 78), Ballard, Noble, Keith
Subs: Dolan, Aitken, Strath, Brodie, Mackie (gk) 
Fort: Harrison, Stark, Broomfield, Moffat, Tawse, Highet (Chisholm 59), Fell (Munro 70), Lingard, *75 Maclean, Davidson, Foggo (MacLennan 70)
Subs: Munro, McRobert, Macrae, Taylor
Manager:  Alastair Ewen
Referee: Billy Baxter
Vale Stats:
Efforts On: 6
Efforts Off: 10
Woodwork: 0
Corners: 11
Offside: 10
Overhead Conditions: Sunny & Calm
Playing Surface: OK
Temp at KO: 14 deg C
Last Season: 2-1
Reporter: Neil Montgomery
Reported LastEdited: 23-Oct-2016
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