Josh Peters scored a hat-trick as Locos were well beaten by Buckie Thistle in the Morrison Motors (Turriff) Aberdeenshire Shield quarter final. Going in three down at half-time, Locos rallied at the start of the second half, getting on the scoresheet through Paul Coutts but couldn’t add to their tally before Peters completed his treble and Jack Murray added a fifth.
Dean Donaldson made a few changes to both personnel and formation for this tie. Mark Souter and Logan Johnstone came back in after missing Saturday’s fixture, forming a back three alongside Glen Donald with Liam Morrison and Tam Reid operating as wing-backs.
It was Thistle that made the early running though, showing why they are once again Highland League title contenders, and took the lead with 16 minutes on the clock. Locos couldn’t clear a low ball into the box and Peters fired home from ten yards with his left foot. Locos worked hard to get back into the game with Liam Morrison firing off target following a good move. The second goal of the game went the way of the visitors and Peters again though, the striker turning sharply in the box before shooting low across Zack Ellis and inside the far post.
Given Locos current struggles in front of goal, it was difficult to see a way back into the game and conceding a third goal 5 minutes from half time made the prosect even less likely. Peters latched onto a lose ball after Glen Donald slipped and fed Jack MacIver, who curled beyond Ellis.
Locos reverted to a back four for the second half and gradually got a foothold in the game and scored with a little under half an hour remaining. Cole Anderson got to a ball in the box shortly before fellow substitute Ryan Fyffe with the Buckie man tripping him. The referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty and Coutts stepped up to coolly finish from the spot for his first goal for the club. The goal gave Locos an extra spring in their step and there was a belief that a second goal could make things interesting.
It wasn’t to be though, with Peters capitalising on an error to bag his third and ensure there would be no memorable comeback. Jack Murray added a fifth in injury time, finishing from close range following a corner. This was always going to be a difficult game against a very good Thistle team who progress to the semi final. For Donaldson, attention will now turn to working with his players to improve league form and climb the table, starting with the visit Lossiemouth on Saturday.