FORRES Mechanics need their big players to start pulling their weight and maintaining 90-minute performances, says manager Charlie Rowley.
A four-game Cans’ sequence without a win has frustrated the Mosset Park boss, and this weekend’s trip to rampant Highland League leaders Brora will not fill Mechanics’ followers with confidence that the run will end soon.
However, Rowley believes if key players rise to the occasion and the team play to their capabilities for a whole match, they can shock their big-spending Sutherland opponents on Saturday.
The manager was dismayed by a second-half Forres collapse at home to Fraserburgh last week, causing a 1-0 interval lead to crumble into a 3-1 defeat.
He said the performance was a reverse of the previous Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Buckie, when his team sparkled after a poor first-half show.
“At half-time I couldn’t see anything other than a Forres victory,” Rowley said. “The only disappointment was we didn’t capitalise on five great chances, and I mean really good chances, we had to put us even further ahead.
“It ended up costing us. I can put up with defeats when we play in the right manner. But we didn’t get anywhere near the tempo or quality of our first-half performance, and that was a major disappointment.”
Rowley pointed to under-performing players as a factor in Mechanics’ sticky spell, which came on the back of an impressive run of eight wins in nine outings.
And although an away game at star-studded Brora might have been the last thing Forres needed right now, their manager believes it can bring the best out of his side once more.
“It’s a game we’ll relish, and so we should. When the players we’ve got at our disposal play to their capabilities, we’re more than a match for anyone in this league. That’s the message I’ll send across to them.
“If we can get a group performance we should be all the better for it, and we’d have an opportunity to beat Brora.
“Fraserburgh have shown latterly that it can be done. They beat them, and we should have been able to finish Fraserburgh off on Saturday.
“We’re more than capable of doing it, it’s just whether we can fulfil our potential for 90 minutes in a game that’s a concern for me just now.
“We need some of the bigger players to start performing, rather than just flitting in and out of games. If I can get that, it will help drag the so-called less experienced ones along to get us to where we want to be, which is more successful than where we are just now.
“If we can get them showing a bit more belief in their ability and continuing to strive to be successful, we’ll be better off for it. But it’s just not happening just now.
Cans could not have hooped for a better start against Fraserburgh, going in front after just two minutes through defender Graham Fraser’s strike.
Rowley said both Kris Duncan and Simon Allan squandered one-on-one chances, Kyle Scott missed from close range when it looked easier to score, and a Stuart Soane effort looked netbound until it struck the unsuspecting Fraserburgh keeper in the face and spun to safety.
Broch had also shown plenty attacking endeavour which paid dividends against a lacklustre Forres in the second half.
They levelled within five minutes of the restart and a Steven Fraser own goal put the visitors ahead on 79 minutes.
With Mechanics pushing for a late leveller, the Buchan side pounced on the break and when keeper Stuart Knight dallied too long on a Graeme Grant passback he was dispossessed by a Fraserburgh forward, who then scored.
The experienced Grant misses this weekend’s Brora match as he is at a friend’s wedding, but Craig McGovern should return from injury and Soane is expected to shake off a knock and play.