Locos withstood late pressure from Fraserburgh to secure a win that sees them progress to the second round of the GPH Builders Merchants Highland League Cup. Sean Butcher’s close range strike shortly after the hour mark set up a tense finale after Locos had got themselves two up early in the second half. For all their pressure, the home team couldn’t breach a determined defence who held on for their second victory at Bellslea Park this season.
Locos started well, seeing plenty of the ball in the final third with Nathan Meres firing wide before Garry Wood had a goal ruled out for offside. It was 20 minutes before either keeper was called into action, Joe Barbour making a routine save from a low Robert Ward effort.
The game was open and entertaining and Meres gave Locos the lead just before the half hour. Sam Burnett released Meres down the inside left channel and he made no mistake with the finish low to Barbour’s right.
A couple of minutes later, Ward found himself in a similar position but with a less favourable angle and he skewed his shot wide. The visiting fans were loving Locos attacking endeavour and probably felt their team could have been more than just one goal to the good at the break. Meanwhile, Fraserburgh were struggling to create clear opportunities, their best coming late in the half when Kieron Simpson met a Scott Barbour free kick but couldn’t direct his header on target.
The hosts could – and perhaps should – have equalised a couple of minutes into the second half as Ryan Sargent somehow put the ball over the bar from just a few yards out having got on the end of a dangerous cross from the right.
Fraserburgh were made to rue that miss as Locos extended their lead almost immediately from the penalty spot. A ball into the Fraserburgh box wasn’t dealt with and as Wood tried to get to the loose ball, he was clumsily upended and the referee awarded the spot kick without hesitation. Wood took the penalty himself, calmly placing the ball inside the left post.
At 2-0 Locos were looking comfortable but Fraserburgh haven’t had the success they have of late by throwing in the towel and it was inevitable that they would apply some pressure. With 27 minutes remaining Butcher poked home a low cross from the right with Locos insistent that there had been an offside. The goal stood though and Fraserburgh sensed an opportunity to rattle Locos.
They certainly threw everything at the Railwaymen but were met by a resilient back line. They had opportunities, notably another close range effort over the bar, this time from Barbour, and a Jamie Beagrie free kick that couldn’t beat Andy Reid, but Locos held out for the well-deserved victory.
Locos will visit Turriff United in the second round on 3rd December but next up is more cup action as they face Huntly at Harlaw Park on Wednesday evening in the quarter final of the Morrison Motors Aberdeenshire Shield.
Fraserburgh: J Barbour, Hay, Simpson, Young, Beagrie, S Barbour, Watt (Campbell), Buchan, Butcher, Sargent (Wood), Aitken Unused Subs: Davidson, West, Kelly, Laird, Inglis
Locos: A Reid, T Reid, Mitchell, Dingwall, Souter, Johnstone, Ward, Wood, Burnett (Michie), Meres (Alberts), Robertson (Gill) Unused Subs: Thain, Petermann, Farquhar