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THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM
 
 Deveronvale 0-2 Forres Mechanics
 
Scorers: L Fraser 9, Allan 50 (pen)
 
A glorious March afternoon greeted the players and the decent crowd who spilled into Princess Royal Park to witness an end of the season tussle which the visitors narrowly won, in the main due to taking their chances and showing experience when it mattered most especially keeper Stuart Knight who kept a clean sheet with a couple of super second half stops.
 
Lee Fraser stroked home the opener after nine minutes when Andrew MacRae set-up the huge striker and Simon Allan did likewise five minutes after the restart when he converted a soft penalty awarded when MacRae was upended in the 18-yard box by Steven Davidson.
 
Vale were far from full strength for the visit of Charlie Rowley's high-flying experienced side given that they without the services of Zander Jack, Liam Forbes, Scott Fraser, Graeme Watt, Dan Smith and Nathan Ross but were able to name an unchanged side to the one who lost narrowly at Formartine last weekend which was something of a pleasant change for Steve Dolan and his management,
 
Lee Fraser side-footed home within ten minutes of kick-off, Andrew MacRae getting the better of Steven Davidson in a fifty-fifty challenge 30-yards from goal before driving towards the bye-line and cutting back to the waiting Fraser who placed the ball into the corner of net under the legs on the offside Stuart Soane and beyond Grant Pennet.
 
Dane Ballard sent a weak effort straight at Stuart Knight after former Rothes striker James McLaren had volleyed narrowly wide following a partially cleared corner kick as the Vale responded well to losing the early counter.
 
Good work from Cammy Murray on the left then created a great chance for the Banff side to pull themselves level but James McLaren at the back post could only find the side netting while a couple of further flag-kicks from the homeside came to nothing.
 
A great save at the feet of Andy MacRae by Grant Pennet prevented the Can Cans doubling their advantage, the keeper getting the better of the on loan Caley Thistle striker as he raced away from the flat Vale defence at pace.
 
Minutes from the break saw Chris Blackhall limp off immediately after picking up a harsh yellow card, the midfielder being replaced by Ross Aitken before Lee Fraser hit the cross-bar from a near-post corner kick. HT
 
As the second half got underway a couple of Paul Sutherland corners came to nothing for Steve Dolan's side before a moment of indecision from the officials at the opposite end saw Forres stretch their lead.
The stand-side official incorrectly flagged for offside but his flag wasn't acknowledged or was play waved on by referee Ben Dempster and Andrew MacRae took full advantage of the lack of clarity as he raced away from the Vale defence which left Steven Davidson forced into upending the striker as he bore down on goal although he may have actually got a foot to the ball first.
 
Regardless a penalty was awarded and Simon Allan blasted high into the net to make the points pretty much safe for Charlie Rowley's side and kill the game as a contest.
 
Vale kept fighting though and Grant Noble tested Stuart Knight with a set-piece which the Forres keeper grasped under his crossbar before Paul Sutherland saw his fierce rising strike tipped over the top by the Can Can custodian.
 
It just wasn't the Banffer's day as Grant Noble was then denied by John Cameron, the substitute clearing the earlier's strike off the line before Knight pulled off a stunning save to turn Dane Ballard's close-range header over the top.
 
Martin Groat was cautioned twice in the space of four minutes and was subsequently sent off for the visitors but they were home and dry by the time they went down to ten men and in fact almost made it three when Andrew MacRae saw his strike fumbled by Grant Pennet although the keeper made up for it with a brave stop at the feet of Scott Moore.
 
Vale: Pennet, Dunbar, Willox, *41 Blackhall (Aitken 44), *69 Krobot, *50 Davidson, Sutherland, Noble, Ballard (cpt), McLaren, *53 Murray
Subs: Aitken, Souter, Buxton, Chisholm, Mackie (gk)
 
Can Cans: Knight, Allan (Cameron 67), Grant, G Fraser, *82 *86 Groat, MacRae, *66 L Fraser, McGovern, Stuart (Moore 67), MacPherson,*58 Soane
Subs: Brown, J Brown (gk)
Manager: Charlie Rowley
 
Referee: Ben Dempster
 
Vale Stats:
Efforts On: 5
Efforts Off: 5
Woodwork: 0
Corners: 16
Offside: 
Overhead Conditions: Sunny & Warm
Playing Surface: Ok
Temp at KO: 16 deg C
Last Season: 0-3
 
Reporter: Neil Montgomery
Reported LastEdited: 26-Mar-2017
This Match Report is copyright of deveronvale.co.uk IPR rights apply. No plagiarising please