With no games for four weeks for both teams, Saturday’s game was going to be tough and with both teams being so close at the bottom of the League it was also a vital one to win although Maud do have five games in hand on their opponents.
There was a very strong wind at kick off with Maud having the benefit of it behind them.
Zander Davidson, also returning from a longer layoff, looked in the mood and after only two minutes he took the defenders on down the left and sent a low cross to the near post where John Willox was stretching to get to the ball but it was blocked and cleared by the Forres defence.
After ten minutes Maud should have scored, winning a free kick on their right, it was hit to the far post but Roy Noble and Willox contrived to get in each others way to head the ball home and the chance went begging.
A minute later Forres were ahead, Beck seemed to get down the left wing and onto to the goal line too easily, the Maud defence seemed to back off allowing him to lay a simple ball across the 6 yard line to Fraser who also had an easy job to tap the ball into the net.
The lead didn’t last long, however, as three minutes later, Maud were level after Noble’s persistence in the penalty area saw him lay the ball onto Luke Barbour who scored his fifth league goal of the season.
After 18 minutes, Mike Rae won the ball in the middle and laid a great ball off to Willox running into the Forres area, he tried to lob the oncoming Bremner in the Forres goal but the keeper managed to fingertip the ball over the bar for a corner. Over the following 15 minutes Maud had a couple of chances to put the Forres goal under threat from free kicks in great positions but they failed to test Bremner on each occasion.
Just after half and hour a mistake by Joe Barbour in the Maud goal nearly saw Forres take the lead when he misjudged a high ball that he fumbled onto the bar but the defence managed to hack the ball away to safety.
Seven minutes before the break Maud did finally take the lead when a chest high ball to Noble in the ‘D’ saw him turn the defender and hit a low shot past Bremner and into the net.
The second half saw the wind die down and after 55 minutes Luke Barbour took the ball from deep and ran at the Forres defence. As he approached the edge of the box he decided to play the ball wide to James Duguid instead of taking the shot himself but the defence regrouped and the danger was cleared.
Just after the hour mark Forres should have equalised when, after taking the ball into the box from the right wing, Daley was fouled and a penalty awarded. Daley took the spot kick but blazed it high over the bar.
It was a sign of things to come though as Forres were now in the ascendancy and were making runs down their right that was a worrying sign for Maud.
However Maud almost increased their lead a minute later when Luke Barbour hit a cross to the far post where Willox met it with his head but it was cleared off the line. That miss proved costly minutes later. Forres won a throw in on their right, it was easily played to Daley who had time and space to cross into the Maud box where Ross had the easiest of headers to pick his spot past Joe Barbour for the equaliser.
Even though there were plenty of Maud defenders, nobody was marking Ross and it was very bad defending that resulted in losing another goal.
Maud were struggling to get back into the game at this point as Forres’s confidence grew and looked far more likely to score. Their third goal arrived eight minutes from time when yet another simple ball into the Maud penalty area on the right was not dealt with and Beck had the easiest of chances to score unchallenged.
Maud played fairly well in the first half but their lack of penetration and reluctance to test the Forres goal with a strong wind behind them proved costly.
Once Forres equalised there was only one team going to win. Maud’s confidence during the game was rock bottom for some reason and this result means they are now in a relegation dogfight that they are going to have to deal with or they could find themselves playing First Division junior football next season.
Next week Maud have a Superleague game at home to Banchory St Ternan with a 1.30pm kick off.
MAUD J. Barbour, Massie, Arthur, K.Simpson,Rae, L. Barbour, MacDonald, A. Davidson, Duguid, Willox, Noble Subs; Leslie, Fraser, Gatt, B.Davidson, M.Simpson