Dean Donaldson’s first game in the Locos dugout ended in defeat to Banks o’ Dee. Having taken a first half lead, the visitors were reduced to 10 men on the brink of half-time as former Railwayman Garry Wood was shown a second yellow card. Locos couldn’t break down Dee’s stubborn defence though, and conceded a second in added time.
Donaldson, who was confirmed as new boss just a day before this rescheduled match, didn’t have a full squad to pick from due the the hasty rearrangement and with Myles Gaffney and Sam Burnett both still out with injury. The game started in swirling wind and rain and took a while to get going. The first effort on goal came from Tam Reid, whose header from a Paul Coutts corner was cleared off the line. Liam Morrison tried his luck from outside the penalty area but Daniel Hoban was able to comfortably deal with the effort, before Sam Robertson put just wide from close range.
10 minutes from the break, Dee took the lead during another downpour. Lachie MacLeod latched onto Morrison’s under hit pass back before rounding Zack Ellis and slotting home. Ellis was then called into action to save from visiting skipper Kane Winton before Wood was dismissed. Having been earlier booked for simulation, Wood went down following a challenge with Coutts in the penalty area. Few saw much in the incident but the referee produced a second yellow card, perhaps for simulation once more or possibly a foul. Whatever the reason, it meant Locos would have an extra man for the whole of the second half.
They couldn’t take advantage though as, despite seeing a lot of the ball, they were unable to ask many questions of the visiting defence. In fact, it was at the other end a second goal nearly came with 20 minutes remaining as Ellis diverted substitute Dayshonne Golding’s effort onto the post. Nathan Meres did force Hoban into a good save and Callum Duncan and Calum Dingwall were both narrowly off target as Locos pressed for a leveller. With the game in stoppage time Golding sealed the victory. Locos were caught in possession as they sent numbers up field in an effort to salvage a point. Ramsay Davidson surged forward and his ball across the box found Golding who finished from close range.
Not for the first time this season, Locos paid the price for struggling to create clear opportunities and will be disappointed to concede two preventable goals. Nobody will be expecting an immediate turnaround at Harlaw Park but Donaldson will be hoping that time on the training ground can lead to improved results on the pitch, starting with the difficult Aberdeenshire Shield quarter-final against Buckie Thistle on Wednesday.