Lossiemouth and Forres Mechanics played out a feisty draw at a windy Grant Park, with both sides taking advantage of the howling gale and dominating a half of the game each. Stuart Soane headed Forres into a first half lead, but moments after the break Jordan McBain levelled for Lossie, who tried to find a second goal but had to settle for a point.
The leagues most inbred fixture commenced with ex-Can Can Ryan Green in the Lossie line-up, while Ross Archibald returned to fitness and a place on the bench for Forres.
From kick-off, the weather was a major influence on the game and Forres threatened to make the most of it, pressing Lossie back and forcing a number of early corners as Lossie struggled to clear their lines.
The opening goal came on 18 minutes, and started from an enclosure side free kick. The dead ball was curled into the area where it met a perfectly timed diving header from Stuart SOANE and sailed past Watson.
Forres continued to push Lossie back, forcing a number of corners and keeping Errol Watson busy but rarely looking as threatening as last week when Cove were dismantled at Mosset Park.
A bizarre incident late in the half saw Lossie first awarded a penalty before the referee changed his mind. Ryan Farquhar steamed into the box before being felled by Stuart Knight. Referee Mark Stewart stopped play and pointed to the spot, only to then consult with his linesman and change his mind. To prevent any arguments, Stewart then offered Knight an uncontested drop ball and the keeper launched it downfield from his hands before anyone could ask for an explanation.
Half time – Lossiemouth 0-1 Forres Mechanics
Within minutes of the restart Lossie were level. Jordan MCBAIN took up possession inside the penalty area and curled a shot out past Knight and back in at the far post to square the game, as composed a finish as you’ll see all season at Grant Park.
The remainder of the second half failed to hit the heights of the opening minutes, and a procession of bookings and substitutes broke the game up to the point where all rhythm was lost. Ross Archibald made a return to the Forres side from the bench and, despite an injury scare shortly after taking to the field, saw out the rest of the game.
Lossie almost stole all three points in the closing minutes when Greig Watson attempted to lob Knight from well outside the penalty area. The ball had Knight beaten but dropped a foot or so wide of the goal frame, and the sides called it a draw.
The point moves Lossie closer to Keith who were thumped 9-0 at Brora this afternoon and visit Grant Park in a fortnight, while Forres continue to linger in mid-table all the time looking over their shoulder as teams reel them in.
Full time – Lossiemouth 1-1 Forres Mechanics
Lossiemouth – Errol Watson, Scott Wilson, Scott Dunn, Chris Ross, Grant Mitchell, Greig Watson, Ryan Farquhar (Scott Miller, 73), Liam Archibald, Jordan McBain, Ryan Green (Callum Dunbar, 82), Willie Mathers, (Darren Bailey, 68)
Forres Mechanics – Stuart Knight, Simon Allan, Paul Smith, Graeme Grant, Graham Fraser, Ryan Mackintosh (Kris Duncan, 66), Stuart Soane, Scott Moore (Duncan Jones, 81), Lee Fraser, Kyle Scott, Craig McGovern (Ross Archibald, 81)