A thumping Robert Ward penalty was enough to see Locos through to the next round of the Aberdeenshire Cup at Ian Mair Park. The late spot kick was met with relief as much as anything by the Railwaymen who had handed the initiative to the hosts in the second half.
Richard Hastings made three changes to the side who beat Clachnacuddin in their previous game. With Nathan Meres set for a spell on the sidelines after the concussion he suffered during that game, and Jay Halliday unavailable, Matthew Petermann and Fergus Alberts came into the starting line up. Sam Burnett also came in as Calum Dingwall dropped to the bench. There was a place alongside him for youngster Ethan Duncalf.
The game started in cagey fashion as the two teams sized each other up. This first real opportunity fell to the hosts. Guilherme Barbarosa – a threat all evening for the Blue and White Hoops – reached a forward pass before the onrushing Andy Reid and poked the ball goalwards, but Logan Johnstone was on hand to clear. Petermann then did well down the right before teeing up Garry Wood but he dragged his shot wide on the bobbly surface.
Petermann was involved again a few minutes later as Locos took the lead. The youngster, making just his second start for the club, squared for Burnett on the edge of the area who worked the ball onto his left foot before drilling a low shot past the dive of former Loco Morgan Cook.
Locos settled into a good rhythm after the goal. Alberts hit a powerful volley that was well blocked before finding the net from a Ward cross only to seethe offside flag raised. Other than shots from Craig Peter and Kyle Douglas that were both well off target, the threat from the hosts diminished as the half went on.
Goalscorer Burnett, who had hobbled of with an ankle injury a few minutes before the interval, was replaced by Dingwall for the second half. It was Dyce though, who started the half quickest and began to apply some pressure on Reid’s goal. Their endeavour bore fruit after 53 minutes as Mark Souter was penalised for a clumsy challenge and Sam Robertson duly dispatched the penalty.
Locos were being pushed back as Dyce continued to carry the greater threat, with a fantastic save required from Reid to keep out a fierce Dean McDonald drive that was destined for the top corner.
Gradually Locos reasserted themselves as an attacking force though. Having been unable to make anything of a couple of free kicks in dangerous positions, they had a strong penalty shout of their own when Robertson was caught following a lunging clearance from a home defender. The referee -who was proving equally unpopular with both teams – saw no offence but was quick to award a spot kick 10 minutes later. As the outstanding Petermann drove into the box and was met by a defender, both teams appealed for handball. The decision went Locos way and WARD made no mistake to restore the lead.
The home side threw everything at Locos in an attempt to force an equaliser in the closing stages but were unable to craft a second goal. This was a hard fought victory for Locos and sets up a quarter final encounter at Highland League champions Fraserburgh next month.