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Fort William 3, Rothes 4
After tough week of playing three games in seven days in the Highland League, Fort William are unfortunate to still be without points this season despite some encouraging performances. Last Wednesday night, August 2, the Lochaber outfit faced a new look Rothes side bolstered by a summer of big spending.
Rothes took the lead early on, however, after a poor start from the Fort as goals from Craig Cormack and Kris Duncan put the Speysiders 2-0 up after just 11 minutes. Just as Rothes began to take a hold on the match, Fort William’s new signing John Treasurer made the most of a mix-up in the Rothes defence to make it 2-1.
Rothes reasserted their two-goal lead just three minutes later, however, with Steven Fraser getting on the scoresheet. With five minutes to go in the first half, Fort attacker Daniel Highet had to be substituted after suffering a hamstring injury, with Jack Lingard taking his place.
Just before the half-time whistle, Michael Ellis curled in an excellent shot on goal which nestled into the bottom corner, making it 3-2 and restoring some hope for the home side.
Spurred on by that strike, Fort William began to dominate play at the start of the second half. This pressure was eventually rewarded as John Treasurer, who would later limp off with an injury, got his second of the match on 61 minutes after a slick attacking move from the Fort William forward line. Kieran Lopez hitting the bar and Michael Ellis striking the post twice, Fort William were unlucky not to take the lead.
A killer blow was finally dealt, however, as Kris Duncan regained the lead for Rothes with a strike on 88 minutes. The Fort players continued to press but a fourth goal eluded them.
Reflecting on the performance as a whole, Fort William co-manager, Ali Smith, said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted with the second half performance. We’re disappointed to concede three goals in the first half and we were fighting against that for the rest of the game. Our style of football in the second half was really impressive and the work rate of the players was excellent. Hopefully Daniel and John’s injuries aren’t too serious.’
Cove Rangers 8, Fort William 0
Despite two encouraging performances against Keith and Rothes, the Fort were brought back down to earth with a thumping defeat at the hands of title challengers Cove Rangers on Saturday.
The Fort knew they were in for a tough afternoon right from the kick-off as an in-form Cove Rangers dominated play. Although Jamie Masson opened the scoring for the Aberdeen club after just nine minutes, Fort William competed well with the league front-runners but the quality of the Cove players began to show and unfortunately a Fort William capitulation late in the first-half saw Cove go into the half-time break 5-0 up.
The Fort management switched formation to a 4-5-1 to try to ease the pressure on the defence but this meant chances were harder to come by for the Lochaber men. Andrew Martin was penalised for a mistimed tackle in the box giving Mitch Megginson the chance to score from the spot and secure his hat-trick. Ryan Strachan and Daniel Park rounded off the scoring for Cove as they strutted to an 8-0 victory.
Co-manager Ali Smith commented: ‘It’s very disappointing to lose eight goals to anyone but we have to admit that Cove are having a fantastic season. That’s the best Cove team I have seen and must be title favourites after scoring 21 goals in their first three games.
‘On a more positive note, I thought Martin MacKinnon put in a great performance in goals for us, despite the scoreline, and we’re grateful to him for that.
‘The attitude of all the boys has been fantastic and it’s been a big ask for the players to have three games in one week.’
Fort William’s league campaign will face Brora Rangers at Claggan Park this Saturday in a 3pm kick-off.