Forres Mechanics clinched the 2011-2012 Highland League championship with an unfortunate own goal from Ryan Christie enough to give the Can Cans all three points, sparking wild celebrations among the home team and their supporters.
There was nothing pretty about the first half of this game with neither team looking a threat to the other.
With 14 minutes on the clock there had not been a single shot on or off target but the Mechanics were a goal up.
Forres midfielder Neil Whyte hooked the ball forward from the halfway line, looking to lifting it over the Broch defence.
It was cut out by Ryan Christie who, 40 yards out and facing his own goal took a touch before pinging a half volley back to Paul Leask.
It was immediately obvious that the pace on the ball was going to cause the keeper problems on the skiddy surface and, as he adjusted to try and take a touch that would not bounce 15 yards off him, he simply failed to get his foot on it and it zipped off the surface and found the centre of the net.
As the half progressed, Fraserburgh were becoming increasingly dominant as Forres were unable to get a hold of the ball, but it was the Mechanics who very nearly doubled their advantage on the stroke of half time.
A corner from Simon Allan was met by the head of Nathan Sharp 5 yards out but Paul Leask did brilliantly to react and tip the ball over the bar. It was to be Forres’ only effort on target of the entire game.
In the 56th minute probably the Broch’s best chance of the game fell to Mark Cowie. The ball had went back and fore across the box before Robert Morrice laid it back to the number 7 who looked to place a shot in the bottom corner from 10 yards out, however Zak Conway inadvertently blocked the effort with his legs and the ball was cleared.
Forres’ only real chance of the second half came when Kyle Scott lifted the ball over the Broch defence on the inside left channel with Willie Barron racing through from just inside the visitors half with Ryan Christie in hot pursuit but the striker’s shot across the face of goal trundled a foot wide.
Things seemed to be going Forres’ way in the 75th minute when a ball in behind Marc Dickson saw a footrace between him and Willie Barron which the striker was winning until a clash of legs saw him tumble in front of the defender.
It was 40 yards from goal and Leask was racing off his line making it a tough call for the referee, who opted for a red card.
Despite this, Fraserburgh were still on top as Forres seemed to accept having three free players in the defensive third as they repelled the Broch’s efforts to create an opening.
The only save that Knight was forced to make came in the 77th minute when Steven Davidson rose well to head goal-wards, but in the end the diligent Can Cans defence held out and the home support rose as one to hail their heroes as the final whistle blew.
As of Wednesday morning, Fraserburgh are now sixth in the Highland League table, with just one game to go for Kris Hunter’s men.
Speaking after the game, Hunter said that he wants his team to be winning the title next season, having easily been the better team against the champions at the weekend.
Next up for Fraserburgh is a trip to Clachnacuddin to close the season.
The Fraserburgh FC supporters club will be running a bus to game away to Inverness Clachnacuddin this Saturday, May 12, which will leave the harbour office at 11am.