There was disappointment for Locos as defeat following an epic penalty shootout saw Highland League champions Fraserburgh progress to the semi-final of the Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup. Kieran Simpson scored the decisive 26th spot kick to end a largely exemplary display of penalty taking.
The Broch might have felt a little hard done by had they not prevailed after a second half which saw them lay siege to Andy Reid’s goal in search of a winner, as Locos struggled to create much going forward after the break. Scott Barbour cancelled out Robert Ward’s first half opener five minutes after the break but Locos defended resolutely despite struggling to retain the ball further up the pitch to earn a bit of respite. Reid saved superbly from Aidan Combe and substitute Paul Campbell fired narrowly wide but otherwise The Railwaymen used strength in numbers to protect their keeper.
At half time the outlook was more positive for Locos. Going into the game on the back of a subdued performance at the weekend, there was a return to the side for Nathan Meres following the concussion he suffered on the opening day of the season. Jay Halliday also returned to the starting line-up as Taylor Thain was handed his first start by Richie Hastings. After a frenetic start that saw Reid make an excellent stop to deny Ryan Sargent and his opposite number save from Robert Ward, the game settled down. Fraserburgh had the lions share of the chances, and were getting a lot of balls into the box but couldn’t make the most of them. Sargent did get the ball in the net but was adjudged to have fouled Greg Mitchell in the process.
At the other end, Ward and Garry Wood were causing the home defence problems when Locos did get forward, and it was that combination that put Locos in front in the 37th minute with a goal that the hosts won’t want to be reminded of. Simpson sent a pass back to Joe Barbour that had too much height and power. The keeper could only chest the ball down and Wood, who had spotted the opportunity, squared to Ward for the simplest of finishes.
The reaction of Fraserburgh after the break was no more than could be expected from a team who aren’t in the habit of losing and the equaliser soon came. After a slightly unfortunate deflected clearance fell to Sargent. His shot was saved but the prolific BARBOUR was on hand to fire home the loose ball. It was largely one way traffic from that point as Broch again peppered the box with dangerous deliveries but Locos stood up well. That pressure meant fewer opportunities to attack though, and other than a Calum Dingwall free kick that drifted just wide, the visitors were limited to speculative efforts at goal.
Both teams felt they should have had a penalty in the 90 minutes but had to wait until after the final whistle to get their chance from the spot. The quality of the kicks was as high as the tension but it was the home team who eventually came out on top.