Broch and Forres secure 1-1 draw at Mosset Park

Pre-season training for the Highland League has begun.
Pre-season training for the Highland League has begun.

The Can-Cans began their league campaign with a stern test against Aberdeenshire outfit Fraserburgh at Mosset Park.

Broch had finished four places and nine points above their opponents last season and therefore would have been confident of a positive result.

However the home side had reason to be cheerful as well having beaten fierce rivals Nairn County in the first round of the North of Scotland Cup on Tuesday night.

The away side started the match firmly on the front foot as they pressurised the Forres back four and left them camped in their own half, unable to give themselves any rest-bite by clearing the danger. However for all of this pressure, Broch were unable to fashion any clear-cut chances.

On ten minutes, Forres had a serious penalty shout which was controversially not awarded by referee Graham Fraser. A corner from the left hand side taken by Scott Moore appears to blatantly strike the outstretched arm of a Broch defender, but despite the protestations of the home support, nothing was given.

Seven minutes later, Forres’ Paul Smith was fortunate not to slice the ball into the back of his own net - with an attempted clearance from fourteen yards - as keeper Mark Bowden gets down to save.

Midway through the first half, the home side had their first half-chance. After some neat play down the right wing to get in behind the Fraserburgh defence, Ross Archibald takes the ball to the byline before firing the ball into the path of Andrew Fraser, who comes sliding in to try and prod the ball home from a few yards. However his effort is blocked by a Broch defender.

Ross Archibald had some more joy down the right wing to help create another opening four minutes later. After sprinting clear of his marker, he played the ball square to Paul Smith who - twenty five yards out - dinked a fantastic ball into space behind the Fraserburgh back-four. However two Forres attackers got in each other’s way and the chance was gone.

Just after the half-hour mark, the away side gained control again and were able to knock the ball around, relatively unchallenged by their opponents, and they were able to pick their moments when to attack and when to just contain possession.

Graham Johnston had Fraserburgh’s final good chance of the first half seven minutes before the end, but unfortunately for him, his first-time shot from thirteen yards - after the ball had been crossed to him from the right wing by PA Bruce - was easily blocked.

Half Time: Forres Mechanics - 0 Fraserburgh - 0

It was the home side who had the first good chance of the second half only a few minutes after the restart. Centre-back Kyle Scott lumped the ball forward from the halfway line and it fell kindly at the feet of Andrew Fraser twenty yards out. Fraser then played a neat lofted ball into the path of teammate Ross Archibald who was eighteen yards from goal. The former Lossiemouth player took one touch before blazing the ball wildly over Scott Cowe’s crossbar.

PA Bruce was thwarted by Mark Bowden nine minutes into the second half after the keeper - playing his first league game for the Can-Cans - sprung himself well to palm Bruce’s fifteen yard effort round his left hand post for a corner.

Graham Johnston tried to catch Mark Bowden out at his near post with 25 minutes to play when Bowden punched the ball straight back to him after he took a corner from the left hand side. However the Forres keeper was easily able to gather the effort.

The travelling fans erupted on seventy one minutes after Broch took a thoroughly deserved lead in spectacular style when the team’s right-back Courtney Cooper picked up the ball thirty five yards from goal on the right wing and then he thrashed an unstoppable bullet of a shot into the top left hand corner of the net.

Kyle Scott wasted a good chance with quarter of an hour left when he failed to connect properly with his effort from a few yards out and the ball flew harmlessly over the bar. With twelve minutes to go, Fraserburgh winger Scott Barber was twice denied by Mark Bowden from point-blank range, keeping alive his team’s chances of getting back into the game.

Ross Archibald struck a ferocious shot from twenty five yards out with eighty four minutes on the clock - after he received the ball from Scott Moore on the left wing - and he forced Scott Cowe into a superb acrobatic save, so that he could maintain his side’s lead.

The Can-Cans finally got their reward for all of their hard endeavours when- in the ninety first minute- Ross MacPherson beat Scott Cowe to the ball to head it over him over ten yards out - after substitute Simon Allan had floated a high ball into the box from the right wing - giving the home side an opening day point.