An assured performance saw Lossiemouth romp to victory over champions Buckie Thistle at a soaking Victoria Park. Martin McMullan and Zander Sutherland scored in the opening six minutes but man of the match Nikki Smith lobbed Kevin Main from thirty yards out to win the game for the Gowlacticos.
Lossie were without the services of Ricky Wardrop and the recently released Craig Morrison, and started the game with Nikki Smith up front on his own supported by a strong midfield. Buckie went into the game without a win since the beginning of September, but welcomed Mark Chisholm into the line-up for his home debut.
The game was only five minutes old when Lossie opened the scoring. Darren McConnachie thumped a goalkick downfield, and the head of a Buckie player knocked the ball into the path of Martin MCMULLAN who raced through on goal before rifling the ball past Kevin Main from inside the area.
Buckie were level immediately. Zander SUTHERLAND cut inside from the stand side touchline and from 25 yards out curled a superb shot into the bottom corner of the net, giving McConnachie no chance.
Sutherland was involved in the next chance for the hosts, setting up Jamie Shewan for a strike but McConnachie was down quickly to save. Shewan should have closer with his next chance, taking possession of a curling ball on the edge of the box before shanking his shot out of the ground.
Just before the half hour Lossie were ahead for a second time, aided by a calamitous error from the Buckie defence. Lewis Mackinnon made a mess of a pass to Mark Chisholm and Nikki SMITH took possession thirty yards out before lobbing the helpless Main with a deluxe finish.
Lossie could have added to their lead before the interval when Liam Archibald crossed for Colin Charlesworth, but the hard working midfielders header went over the bar.
Half time – Buckie Thistle 1-2 Lossiemouth
While Lossie looked totally at ease throughout the game, Buckie became more and more frustrated as the game went on. Zander Sutherland let the travelling support get to him prior to his substitution on the hour, and Michael Morrison offered a one-fingered reply to a critique of his performance thus far to the crowd in the enclosure.
With the home fans baying for blood, Buckie upped their game as they chased a second equaliser, but a series of long range efforts failed to trouble the Lossie defence. When they managed to get closer to goal, Buckie were undone by a lack of accuracy, and Lewis Mackinnon heading over from three yards did nothing to calm the nerves of the supporters.
The final minutes saw chances for both sides. A spell of Buckie pressure culminated with Andy Low sending a headed effort wide of goal when he should really have hit the target. At the other end, the more pessimistic Buckie fans seen heading home with time to spare would have moved even faster towards the exits had Nikki Smith finished a one on one chance, but the Lossie man screwed his shot just wide of Mains far post.
The win leaves Lossie five points off the top of the table, but the Coasters can keep up with the leaders with wins over Brora Rangers and Fort William at the Bernagow in the coming weeks.
Full time – Buckie Thistle 1-2 Lossiemouth
Lossiemouth – Darren McConnachie; Tony Ross, Sam Milton, Bryan Bell, Kevin Flett, Garry Macdonald (JJ Urquhart, 55), Colin Charlesworth, Martin McMullan, Nikki Smith, Kevin Grant (Stephen McKenzie, 90), Liam Archibald (Ross Archibald, 74); Unused subs – Jamie Bagley, Ricky Wardrop
Buckie Thistle – Kevin Main: Neil Davidson, Jamie Shewan, Mark Chisholm, Lewis Mackinnon, Michael Morrison, Graeme Stewart, David MacRae (Chris Angus, 58), Martin Charlesworth, Zander Sutherland (Stephen Bruce, 58), Andy Low; Unused subs – Shawn Scott, Craig Macmillan, Robert Duncan