Locos progress in the Morrison Motors Aberdeenshire Shield came to an end on a wet and miserable night at Harlaw Park. Visiting goalkeeper Fraser Hobday made saves from Garry Wood, Jamie Michie, Taylor Thain and Logan Johnstone late on as the Railwaymen, who had also hit the woodwork twice earlier in the second half, pushed for an equaliser following Brodie Allen’s headed goal 14 minutes from time.
Manager Richie Hastings started with the same team that had been so impressive against Fraserburgh on Saturday and they looked confident in the opening stages, although few chances came at either end. Hobday saved a low Lloyd Robertson shot and Robbie Foster fired narrowly wide for Huntly from outside the box.
Foster gave the visitors the lead shortly after the half hour mark with a goal that had an element of good fortune about it. He created a bit of space for himself and hit a good shot that struck the post, possibly off the glove of Andy Reid. The ball then hit the back of the unfortunate keeper and crept over the line. One of the Harlaw Park floodlights had gone out at this stage and Locos, who had largely dominated possession and territory, needed to find a spark. Calum Dingwall had a good opportunity to hit back immediately but his effort was well saved by Hobday.
By the end of the half, the light had been reinstated and Locos were level. Shortly after Robertson had poked wide, a Dingwall free kick found Robert Ward whose bicycle kick went just inside the left post in almost the last action of the half.
With heavy rain and strong wind, conditions weren’t easy and the opening 15 minutes of the second half lacked quality as both teams struggled to retain possession before the game opened up. Ward was unable to finish an excellent team move, slicing wide from 12 yards and Hobday saved from Wood. Reid tipped a fierce Gavin Elphinstone shot over before Locos struck the woodwork twice. Wood’s drive cannoned back of the crossbar, perhaps again diverted by the fingertips of Hobday, and the ball then fell to Michie whose low shot came back off the base of the post.
Just a couple of minutes later, Allen netted what proved to be the winner when he got on the end of a Cameron Blacklock free kick before Reid. His header looped high in the air before dropping just inside the post. The rest of the game was played out in Huntly’s defensive third as Locos looked to get back on level terms for a second time but the visiting defence stood firm with numerous important blocks and a string of good saves from Hobday, notably from a spectacular overhead kick from Michie.
The frustrations were clear at the final whistle as Locos missed that cutting edge while Huntly made the most of the chances they created. It’s back to Highland League action on Saturday with a first visit in the competition to Spain Park.
Locos: A Reid, T Reid, Mitchell, Dingwall, Souter, Johnstone, Ward, Wood, Burnett (Michie), Meres (Alberts), Robertson (Thain) Unused Subs: Petermann, Gill, Smith, Farquhar
Huntly: Hobday, Connelly, Thoirs, Sewell, Dalling, Still, Blacklock, Lamb, Foster (Elphinstone), Hunter (Allen), Murray (Grant) Unused Subs: Morris, Storrier