A season defining performance saw Lossiemouth overcome local minnows Forres Mechanics to record their biggest win of the season. Goals from Ross Archibald, Steven Ellis, Nikki Smith and Scott Matheson, combined with a penalty save from Darren McConnachie, made a mockery of the Can Cans title aspirations and gave Lossie the chance to reach fifty points for the season.
Ricky Wardrop started for Lossie against his old club while former Can Cans Tony Ross and Scott Matheson were sat in the Lossie dugout, and Colin Charlesworth returned from injury to occupy the bench. Forres went into the game five points off top with five games to play, and had former Coasters Simon Allan in the starting line-up and Steve Dunn riding the pine pony.
Forres looked like they meant business in the opening stages, thumping the ball high and long and pressing Lossie back to the edge of their box to defend a series of corners. Any big side would have taken advantage of at least one of the half dozen set pieces attempted in the first twenty minutes but Forres ended their spell of pressure without a shot on target.
With their first attack Lossie made Forres pay for their lack of sharpness in front of goal, and did it with a simple three man move. Darren McConnachies long kick from goal was taken down by Nikki Smith in midfield and played through to Ross ARCHIBALD, who raced clear of a stationary defence before rifling the ball past a helpless Knight. The youngsters first goal came against Forres and his latest was welcomed just as warmly by the home support.
Encouraged by a sizeable travelling support, Forres looked for a leveller. Simon Allan came close when he rattled the crossbar with a free kick, but was off target with an effort from the edge of the penalty area which sailed past the upright.
With the first half drawing to a close, Lossie grabbed a second goal. Nikki Smith was again involved, drawing a save from Knight inside the area. The loose ball was pounced upon by Ross Archibald who saw his shot blocked by Knight, but Steven ELLIS was on hand to knock the ball over the line amid a penalty area of full of despairing Forres players.
Half time – Lossiemouth 2 Forres Mechanics 0
Lossie emerged for the second half some minutes ahead of their struggling opposition, but whatever tactical masterplan the Mechanics management kept everyone waiting for went to waste as their players continued with the same clumsy long ball style seen in the first half. Lossie had the ball in the net early in the half but a very, very tight offside decision saw Ross Archibalds second goal of the afternoon ruled out.
The Coasters could smell blood, and the hardworking Nikki SMITH bagged a goal of his own to finish the game with almost half an hour left to play. Sent through on goal by a clinical Ellis pass, Smith curled the ball beyond Knight and the relief at scoring after some fruitless weeks was evident in the youngsters celebration with his team mates.
Forres had played three quarters of the game without a clear shot at goal, but referee Graham Beaton offered the visitors a route back into the game when he awarded them a penalty after Lee Fraser was felled in the box. The visitors performance was summed up by Kyle Scotts spot kick – tame, slow, and straight down the middle. Darren McConnachie was already on the ground waiting for the ball by the time it reached him, the save allowing Lossie to keep another clean sheet at home.
With that miss, the visitors were finished. All that remained was for Lossie to turn a good afternoon into a great one, and Scott MATHESONS last minute strike ensured Forres were well and truly thumped. Matheson was wise to a ball over the top and raced onto it through a tired defence before slipping it past Knight and in at the far post. Despite conceding four, the keeper had done little wrong during the game and was entitled to ask questions of his teammates who between them hadn’t managed a single shot at goal from open play.
The home support roared for a fifth in the remaining seconds but the kindly referee blew for time and put a visibly broken Forres out of their misery, ending a fine afternoon for a Lossie side who had shown their near neighbours just how the game should be played.
Full time – Lossiemouth 4 Forres Mechanics 0
Lossiemouth – Darren McConnachie; Steven Sim, Sam Milton, Bryan Bell, Kevin Flett, Steven Ellis, Ricky Wardrop, JJ Urquhart, Ross Archibald (Tony Ross), Nikki Smith (Scott Matheson), Liam Archibald (Jamie Bagley)
Forres Mechanics – Stuart Knight; Bruce Milne (Graeme Grant), Archie McPhee, Graeme Fraser, Nathan Sharp, Ross MacPherson, Kevin Duguid (Charlie Brown), Simon Allan (Scott Moore), Lee Fraser, Kyle Scott, Ryan Green