Locos first home game in over a month ended in frustration as they let a two goal lead slip against Brora Rangers.
Goals from Cole Anderson and Nathan Meres left the Railwaymen in a strong position after an opening 45 minutes in which they played some of their best football of the season. It was inevitable that a team with the attacking strength of Brora would come back strongly and a share of the spoils was probably a fair reflection of an entertaining game.
The two teams exchanged blows in the early stages. Anderson and Jordan Macrae had both headed off target before Logan Ross saved comfortably from Greg Mitchell and James Wallace curled a shot wide of the post.
Locos began to get the upper hand though and took the lead on 20 minutes. A quick move down the right saw Calum Dingwall find Anderson who lashed home.
The men in Fire and Coal continued to impress with a high energy performance both in and out of possession. Ross kept out Dingwall’s free kick before the lead was doubled with an excellent goal from the impressive Meres. Receiving the ball with his back to goal on the left of the area, he turned sharply before shooting past Ross and in at the far post.
The Brora forward line, usually so threatening, had been quiet but the Sutherland side were presented with a golden opportunity to get back into the game from the penalty spot when Mitchell was adjudged to have fouled Macrae. Macrae stepped up to take the spot kick but put it high and wide, to the relief of most of those inside Harlaw Park. Despite the miss, the penalty gave the Cattachs a lift and they played out the last few minutes of the first half strongly.
Brora took that momentum into the second half as they looked to get back into the game. After Dale Gillespie had gone close, they got the goal they craved when Tom Kelly’s cross shot was poked home by Max Ewan.
Sam Robertson nearly restored Locos two goal lead immediately, Ross getting down low to turn his effort away. The visitors had their tails up though, and began to exert some pressure, although Locos maintained a threat on the break. The leveller arrived 20 minutes from time, Macrae rising highest to head home Alex Coopers cross from the left.
Both teams felt they could win the game and, despite Brora’s possession, it was Locos who had the best chances through Myles Gaffney. Having been denied by a tight offside decision, he was released by fellow substitute Dem Yunus but thwarted by Ross who was out quickly to block. Gaffney was through on goal again in stoppage time but couldn’t hit the target.
This was a thoroughly absorbing contest and while both teams will feel they could have taken maximum points, they will probably accept a point as fair. Dean Donaldson was certainly frustrated that his team couldn’t hold on to their advantage but will have been delighted with the first half performance in particular.
Locos travel to high-flying Banks o’ Dee next week, followed by a midweek Aberdeenshire Cup tie with Dyce at Harlaw Park.