Locos fell to defeat to Buckie Thistle at Harlaw Park but fans saw a very different performance to the one that saw them heavily beaten by the same opposition in their last home fixture. Locos took the game to the Jags and Stuart Knight was the first of the goalkeepers to be tested when he saved well from a Logan Johnstone shot before gathering Greg Mitchell’s follow up effort. Mitchell then got on the end of a clever Nathan Meres ball but fired into the side netting from a tight angle.
At the other end, a back three that included Paul Coutts in the absence of Mark Souter through illness, had been largely untroubled. Thistle’s ruthlessness in attack was on display though, as they took the lead with their first real opportunity midway through the first half. A long ball forward was flicked on by Josh Peters for Scott Adams who took a touch before firing low past Zack Ellis.
The goal lifted the visitors and they began to offer more of an attacking threat, notably when Coutts headed off the line following a corner. The Railwaymen continued to make a good game of it though, and could count themselves a little unfortunate to go into the break a goal down.
Meres, a constant threat to the visiting defence, presented Myles Gaffney with an opportunity to equalise a couple of minutes into the second half but the loanee couldn’t direct his header on target. With Locos still playing well but unable to trouble Knight, Buckie pressed for a second goal as the half wore on, with Ellis starting to get busier. Having saved excellently to deny Jack MacIver he then tipped a free kick over the bar. The young keeper was unable to prevent the second goal from the ensuing corner though as Daryll McHardy headed home MacIver’s delivery.
That second goal effectively killed the game and Ellis again had to be sharp to prevent Lyall Keir adding to the it. Locos rallied though, finishing the game strongly, but were unable to grab the goal that would have been just reward for their efforts. When the referee turned down two strong penalty appeals in the final moments, the opportunity to get on the scoresheet was gone.
Thistle are a very good team but were made to work hard for these points. Locos looked a different team to the one that struggled to get close to Buckie in the Aberdeenshire Shield just a few weeks ago. Following that quarter final Dean Donaldson had more than two weeks without a game to work with his players. In the last two fixtures that work has been evident and the gaffer will now be looking to turn performances into the results that will see the Railwaymen climb the Highland League table. He’ll be hoping that starts next week at Kynoch Park as Locos travel to Keith.