Fort William, UK's 'worst football team', end 73-game winless streak with emphatic victory

The UK's "worst professional football team" has finally ended their long-running winless streak in emphatic fashion.
A general view of Fort William FC's Claggan Park home, in the shadow of Ben NevisA general view of Fort William FC's Claggan Park home, in the shadow of Ben Nevis
A general view of Fort William FC's Claggan Park home, in the shadow of Ben Nevis

Fort William FC, who compete in the Highland League, hadn’t won in 73 matches - a run stretching back more than 700 days - when they welcomed Nairn County to Claggan Park, in the shadows of Ben Nevis, for a North of Scotland Cup clash on Wednesday night.

Ahead of kick-off last night, The Fort's last league win was a 4-1 victory over Strathspey Thistle in April 2017, although they did record cup victories over Invergordon in the same month, Rothes in May 2017 and Elgin City in August 2017, all in North of Scotland Cup ties.

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Earlier this summer, Scottish Championship side Inverness Caledonian Thistle loaned nine players to the club, six of whom started last night's match.

An own goal from Nairn gave The Fort the lead after just nine minutes, and two minutes later Caley Jags loanee Jack Brown doubled their advantage with a 30-yard effort.

Nairn reduced the deficit five minutes later thanks to Callum MacLean's goal, and were handed a golden opportunity to square things up on 22 minutes when referee Mat Northcroft awarded a penalty to the visitors.

However, Martin MacKinnon pulled off one of many fines saves to deny Nairn's Adam Naismith from the spot. Fort William looked as though they would hold on until the interval but Dylan Mackenzie struck on the stroke of half time to ensure the teams went in to the break level.

With around 20 minutes remaining, a Roddy Kennedy goal put The Fort back in front and with ten minutes left to play, Donald Morrison put the home side further ahead.

Russell MacMorran and Mark Rydings' team weren't done there, however, and Harry Nicolson put the gloss on an historic win right at the death to put Fort William 5-2 up.

A statement from Fort William after the match read: "A great night at Claggan Park tonight. An unbelievable feeling.

"We would like to thank everyone who came along to Claggan Park tonight, and we would like to thank everyone online, around the world who have celebrated with us. Your support doesn’t go unnoticed. Thank you."

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Numerous clubs sent messages of congratulations to The Fort, with Stirling Albion writing: "Congratulations guys, enjoy your night!" and Scottish Premiership side Livingston adding: "Congratulations on breaking the duck and enjoy the night."

The Fort now face a trip to Moray side Rothes in the next round, scheduled for Wednesday August 21 at Mackessack Park.

The Fort finished dead last on minus seven points last term, after having nine deducted for fielding an ineligible player on three occasions, along with a £150 fine. They played 34 matches, winning none, drawing two and losing 32. They scored 21 goals but conceded 245. Nairn, by comparison, finished in eleventh place with 13 wins and three draws, giving them 42 points.

The season before last, the Fort William board gave the team the option to voluntarily drop down to junior football, which the players rejected.

The Fort's next fixture is a Highland League match at home to Inverurie Loco Works, on Saturday August 3.

Fort William: Martin MacKinnon; Alexander James, Harry Nicolson, Ryan Fyffe, John Treasurer, Jack Brown, Scott Hunter, Robert Nevison, Roddy Kennedy, Jordan Andrew, Donald Morrison. Subs: Ross Gunn, Ronan Cameron, Greg Miller, Jordan Morrison, Brandon Lopez, Kieran Chalmers, Ryan Henderson.

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