Locos fell to defeat to Brechin City at Glebe Park as their Highland League Cup run came to an end. A Grady McGrath penalty 10 minutes from time sealed the victory after Liam Duell had put the hosts ahead early in the second half. A visit to Glebe Park is never easy and Locos cause wasn’t helped by the unavailability of several key players. Those who were on the pitch also had to deal with stifling heat.
It was City who had the first sight of goal, but Fraser MacLeod could only shoot tamely at Zack Ellis after a scramble in the Locos box. Myles Gaffney, seeking his first goal after two impressive displays since his arrival at Harlaw Park, then saw his shot from the edge of the area deflected narrowly wide before the Hedgemen crafted a golden opportunity for Duell, who was unable to get his shot on target as Ellis closed him down. The home side were seeing a lot of the ball but play was mostly confined to the middle of the park as Locos sought to contain them.
Seven minutes from the break, Brechin again spurned a good chance to open the scoring, Grady McGrath putting his effort over the bar. As the half-time whistle approached, a speculative Blair Smith effort from the corner of the penalty area almost caught out Lenny Wilson in the home goal, but the ball drifted over the crossbar.
Brechin were very much on the front foot in the early stages of the second half and got their reward after 52 minutes. MacLeod’s ball across the box was missed by McGrath but Duell was on hand to prod home from six yards. Locos had to chase the game now but, having got themselves in front, Brechin were able to keep them at arms length, and the Railwaymen couldn’t force Wilson into action.
With a little over 10 minutes remaining, most inside Glebe Park were expecting a penalty when the ball appeared to hit Calum Dingwall’s hand. The referee gave the Locos man the benefit the doubt, however. He may have had that in his mind a minute later when he was quick to point to the spot when MacLeod went down. McGrath stepped up to secure his team’s passage to the semi-final and end Locos interest in the competition in which the were finalists last season.
The Railwaymen acquitted themselves well, but in a game in which Andy Low would have expected the hosts to see most of the ball, he will be disappointed that when his charges did get forward they couldn’t find the cutting edge to hurt the Highland League champions. Attention now turns to Station Park on Saturday where Locos will be looking to pick up their first Highland League win of the season against Nairn County.