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Fort William 5 – 2 Nairn County
North of Scotland Cup
After 840 days, 73 games and more than 300 goals conceded, Fort William FC have finally won a match.
Claggan Park erupted in rapturous applause when the final whistle blew last Wednesday night (July 31) as players, management and supporters rejoiced in what was a monumental victory for the Highland League club.
Just one day after the BBC Scotland documentary The Fort aired across the country, telling the remarkable story of the club’s survival last summer and the following tumultuous season, the Lochaber side made a real statement of intent for the season ahead with a resounding 5-2 victory over Nairn County in the North of Scotland Cup.
Bolstered by nine new signings from the Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s development squad, hopes are high that the Fort can make amends for last season’s disastrous campaign which saw them finish bottom of the league with -7 points and without a win. And last night’s victory will have sent shockwaves around the Highland League.
The evening started brightly for the Fort who established an early two-goal lead through an own goal and new signing Jack Brown with a 30-yard effort.
Nairn managed to get a goal back soon after but, luckily for the home side, goalkeeper Martin MacKinnon was in fine form, making a string of important saves and, crucially, stopping a decisive penalty.
The lead was eventually squandered, however, and the teams went in level at the break.
Buoyed by Russell MacMorran’s words of encouragement at half-time, the Fort came out in the second half with real intent and restored the lead through Roddy Kennedy.
Showing no sign of nerves, the Claggan side were content to be in front as they continued to push for a bigger lead. And less than 10 minutes later, they got a fourth through Harry Nicolson to put them two ahead.
Rather than cave under pressure, the Fort seemed to revel in their lead and still went after more goals. The match was suitably capped off with a fifth goal through Donald Morrison, sparking joyous scenes on and off the pitch.
Eventually the full-time whistle blew, confirming a historic victory for the team.
Manager MacMorran said that the importance of the win should not be underestimated.
‘The crowd that came and the support we had was phenomenal. People in the town are getting behind us and it’s great to see. We’ve also now got this new-found global support base on the back of the documentary and the win.
‘The great thing is the new lads certainly enjoyed it and had not experienced anything like that before. So that’s got them wanting more.
‘It ended up being a comfortable win. We had luck but you need that in football. We’re an unknown now and people don’t know how to set up against us. It will just continue to get better. The goal of finishing off the bottom of the league table remains the same.’