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Moray welfare football champions FC Fochabers strike late to defeat Ugie while Aberlour Villa end Hopeman’s unbeaten league run

By Craig Christie

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Champions FC Fochabers needed a last minute Evan Smith goal to return them to the top of the Moray welfare league on Tuesday.

Fochabers' Jordan Clark (right) scored twice to keep his team on course for the Moray welfare title. Picture: Beth Taylor.
Fochabers' Jordan Clark (right) scored twice to keep his team on course for the Moray welfare title. Picture: Beth Taylor.

The short trip to Keith to take on Ugie proved to be a tough test for the reigning champs but they managed to squeeze out a 3-2 win.

With Aberlour Villa ending Hopeman’s unbeaten start on the same night, both winning sides climbed above leaders Buckie Rovers in the table, but the coast side have a game in hand.

Fochabers knew they were in for a game when Ugie gave as good as they got in a goalless first half where chances were at a premium.

Ugie then set up a possible upset by taking the lead when good build up play led to a defence-splitting pass to send Cammy Thomson through on goal and beat the Fochabers keeper for the opener.

It took Fochabers just a couple of minutes to level, Jordan Clark hammering a 25-yard free kick into the roof of the home net.

Clark, who is set to leave Fochabers soon and join junior side Islavale, edged his team in front with his second goal after the home side failed to clear their line.

The visitors looked to wind the clock down but Ugie kept plugging away and were rewarded when John Geddes responded to a fine save by the keeper by bundling home an equaliser.

Play went from end to end but the final say came from Fochabers, with a superb cross into the danger area being crashed home by Smith for the winner.

Aberlour Villa, with 11 wins from their previous 12 outings in all competitions, saw their title credentials put to the test by a Hopeman side defending an unbeaten league record.

Home keeper Kyle Rowe had to save a deflected Barry Grant effort early on, while Aberlour grew into the contest with efforts by Kelvin Main and Barry Grant going close.

Grant then struck from long distance and Rowe parried but Gary Morrison reacted to tap-in a deserved Villa opener.

It became 2-0 on 16 minutes when the same two players combined for Grant to cross the ball over and Morrison to smash in his second of the game and 12th of the season.

At the other end, Burr was put through by a Stewart McLaren pass but fired inches over from the edge of the box. McLaren then crashed a curling effort off the face of the bar from wide on the right.

Villa keeper Shaun Robertson did well to keep out a low Matthew Herley strike before half time.

Hopeman made half time changes and player boss Danny Gresham moved from defence to midfield to give his team more of a presence.

The match was still in the balance, with Morrison heading just over from a chance to complete his hat-trick.

Grant then beat the offside trap and headed past keeper Rowe but the ball drifted just past.

Hopeman hit back with McLaren firing just past and Robertson denying sub Connor Taylor-Fraser. The Villa keeper thwarted another home substitute, Liam Petrie with a terrific save as time eventually ran out on Hopeman’s challenge and their undefeated league run was over.

The teams meet again this weekend in the Scottish Welfare Cup.

Thunderton posted a 6-1 victory away to Rothes A on Tuesday.

Strikes by Steve Shand (2), Scott Anderson, Shaun Ingram, Russell Geddes and Scott Ross did the business for the Elgin visitors with Kayden Davies on target for the Speysiders.

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