Aidan Wilson’s goal early in the second half was enough to consign Locos to defeat from a performance that they would feel merited at least a point. Despite seeing plenty of the ball in dangerous areas of the park, the Railwaymen were once again left to rue a lack of the cutting edge needed to turn that pressure into goals.
Playing at Harlaw Park for the first time in six weeks, Locos would have been hoping for some home comforts against a team they beat last month. That Highland League Cup victory has been the best performance this season and Locos looked to recreate that in the early stages. Calum Dingwall met a corner first time but fired over while Charlie McDonald and Wilson were also high at the other end. Glen Donald then got his head onto a Liam Morrison corner but could only head straight at Sean McCarthy in the Rothes goal, before Mark Souter hit a strike from distance that was again dealt with by McCarthy.
After another wayward Wilson effort, Lloyd Robertson came close to opening the scoring. Souter worked his way into the penalty area on the left and his ball across the box was met by Robertson but McCarthy was well placed to keep it out. Locos probably felt they had done enough to be ahead at the break, which added to the disappointment around Harlaw Park when the Speysiders took the lead a couple of minutes after the restart. Locos couldn’t clear their lines following a corner and when the ball came back into the box Greg Morrison got a shot away that Zack Ellis could only parry with Wilson on hand to pounce.
Jay Halliday had an immediate opportunity to get back on level terms, latching on to a Dingwall ball over the top of the visiting defence but the angle was tight and McCarthy comfortably saved. Lloyd Robertson was next to threaten, showing good footwork to get into the penalty area but couldn’t get enough behind his shot to beat McCarthy. Brother Sam then attempted to lob the keeper but the ball landed on the roof of the net. Locos were well on top as they pushed for a leveller, although it wasn’t one way traffic as Ben Johnstone and Fraser Robertson fired off target.
The Railwaymen kept going in the search of the goal few would have begrudged them but for all their effort they were still struggling to test McCarthy. The Rothes stopper needed two attempts to gather a Logan Johnstone drive and a Dingwall effort was deflected narrowly wide but it just wasn’t to be for the Locos. It’s fair to say they had the better of the game in every aspect other than putting the ball into the back of the net. The visitors defended well and took their chance when it came but Locos woes in front of goal will be top of interim boss Jamie Watt’s priorities as he prepares for the difficult midweek trip to Brechin City before Strathspey Thistle visit Harlaw Park next Saturday.