It was a frustrating afternoon in the sun at Harlaw Park as these two teams, with such a long history in the Junior game, began their Highland League rivalry with a game of few chances that leaves both unbeaten at this early stage of the season.
Locos lost another player to injury during the cup victory at Dyce in midweek, Sam Burnett being replaced by Calum Dingwall in an otherwise unchanged line-up.
The opening quarter of an hour was played largely in the middle third of the pitch with neither goalkeeper being called into action. On 17 minutes though, visiting stopper Ross Salmon was beaten as Locos crafted a wonderful opener. Garry Wood controlled the ball well before finding Matthew Petermann on the right. His perfect cross was met by the soaring Fergus Alberts who opened his account for the Railwaymen with an emphatic header.
If the home fans hoped the goal would lead to greater attacking threat, they were disappointed. Instead, it triggered an exchange of half chances. Andy Reid was on hand to turn an effort behind, before Salmon was able to make a routine save from a well struck Dingwall shot. Back at the other end, Reid was unable to gather a free kick into the box and the loose ball was poked just wide as the Harlaw faithful feared the worst. As the half drew to a close, Marc Young brought the ball down following a corner but could only lift his shot onto the roof of the net.
Banks O’ Dee came out of the blocks quickly in the second half and were able to pin Locos back as they sought a leveller. Reid had to be alert to block following a quick break forward, before saving superbly from Mark Gilmour to preserve his team’s lead shortly before the hour mark. The equaliser came a few minutes later though, as Magnus Watson rifled a low shot across the box and into the bottom left corner of the net.
The momentum was very much with the visitors now and they certainly applied some pressure. Reid was well protected by his defence though, notably through an excellent recovery by Mark Souter to prevent the lively Gilmour getting a shot at goal. When the defence was breached, Reid was quick to spot the danger. Locos finished the game strongly with a succession of corners and free kicks but were unable to beat Salmon, who did well to keep out a couple of dangerous Dingwall set pieces.
Both teams will feel they could have won this one, so a point apiece was probably a fair reflection of a game in which both sides enjoyed dominant spells, without creating many clear cut opportunities. Locos travel to Mackessack Park next week for what is always a tough fixture against Rothes.