The season ended for Locos with defeat against Formartine United at North Lodge Park. A late Julian Wade strike sealed the win after a Jamie Michie free kick had given Locos the lead.
The hosts knew that defeat could see them drop out of the top four and, while there was little riding on the outcome for Locos, there was no lack of commitment from either team. Wade was in the thick of the action early, hooking off target with his back to goal before putting an effort over the bar under pressure from Mark Souter shortly afterwards. Andy Reid was then called upon to keep out a powerful downward header at the far post.
Locos began to grow into the game, making good use of the flanks but without really troubling Ewen Macdonald in the United goal. Five minutes before the break Reid was again needed, pulling off a fantastic save from another header from a corner.
Goalless at half-time and a bit more quality was needed in the box if we were to see goals at either end in the second half. Substitute Sam Burnett brought a routine save from Macdonald and Robert Ward put a low shot wide before Michie opened the scoring as the midway point of the half approached. His free kick from 20 yards out kept low, going in off the inside of the left upright, sparking joyous celebrations from the Chuff Chuff’s behind the goal for the final time.
Formartine had an opportunity to hit back immediately with a free kick of their own but Daniel Park couldn’t hit the target. They didn’t have to wait much longer to get back on level terms though. As Logan Johnstone rose for a ball under pressure, the ball appeared to flick off his arm. Despite Johnstone’s protests, the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty and Paul Campbell slotted home from twelve yards.
The game had now become quite open with neither team looking like they wanted to settle for a point. Ward hit a shot over the crossbar while at the other end Wade, who had been a threat throughout, was finding space behind the Locos defence. On one such occasion, he evaded a couple of tackles before shooting low to settle the game.
As the season comes to an end, Locos will reflect on a campaign that has been disappointing in large parts. Frustration has been the key word for much of the season but there have been signs of improvement in recent months. Fans may not mourn the passing of this season but will soon be full of optimism and itching for the new season to arrive, such is the nature of football.
Formartine United: Macdonald, Crawford (Park), S Smith, Thomas, McLean, Norris, Wade, Rodger, Campbell (Spink), Gallagher, Lisle (Mykyta) Unused Subs: Hanratty, Combe, Lynch, Watson
Locos: A Reid, T Reid, Dingwall, Souter, Johnstone, Ward, S Robertson, J Smith (Anderson), Wilson (Burnett), Michie, Meres Unused Subs: Halliday, B Smith, Gill, L Robertson, Farquhar