A first half goal by Grady McGrath condemned Locos to defeat at Harlaw Park and maintained the visitors’ 100% start to the Highland League season. McGrath latched on to a long clearance before beating Andy Reid. Brechin, who haven’t dropped a point in the league since February, were denied a second by Reid and could have rued those missed opportunities as Locos threatened late on. It wasn’t to be though, and the wait for a home win continues.
The game started at a good pace with both teams showing positive intent but neither could threaten the goalkeeper in the early stages, the closest being a well struck shot from a central position that was brilliantly blocked by Mark Souter to protect Reid. The league leaders did begin to show a bit more control as the half progressed and came close to taking the lead just before the half hour mark. Logan Johnstone lost out to Fraser Macleod and his cut back was directed towards goal by McGrath with the effort beating the dive of Reid but hitting the outside of the post.
McGrath did have his goal a few minutes later. Locos were attacking down the left but when the Hedgemen regain possession, the ball was quickly played forward. McGrath reached the ball first and finished calmly from the edge of the penalty area as Reid advanced. It could have been two just a couple of minutes later as a corner from the left reached Nathan Cooney at the back post but he headed narrowly wide.
Locos created their best chance of the half shortly before the break as a ball from the right found Jay Halliday 10 yards out but his first time shot was well blocked.
Brechin started the second half in determined fashion as they looked to put the game to bed. Reid saved superbly from a fierce Arnott drive that was swerving all over the place, before getting down well to save from Macleod. City continued to threaten but Locos came into the game in the final half hour and were finally able to apply some pressure. Garry Wood did excellent to control a difficult ball and drive forward before squaring to substitute Taylor Thain, but he could only slice wide. Calum Dingwall then struck a volley from the edge of the box but it was a comfortable save for Leonard Wilson in the visitors’ goal.
Momentum was now with the home team and a Dingwall free kick was cleared before Locos worked it out to Tam Reid on the left. His excellent cross just evaded Souter but was met by Wood who could only poke wide. Marc Scott missed a Golden Opportunity to kill the game as a mix up saw him one-on-one with Reid. His effort beat the Locos stopper but drifted wide with the away fans poised to celebrate. The second goal wasn’t needed though as Locos just couldn’t find the breakthrough.
This was certainly an improved performance by Locos but Richie Hastings -and the fans – will be concerned about the lack of a cutting edge. This game marked the start of a busy month of league and cup action for the Railwaymen and they will be looking to improve in the final third, starting with trip to Nairn in midweek.
Locos: A Reid, T Reid, Mitchell, Dingwall, Souter, Johnstone (Alberts), Ward, Wood, Halliday, Gill, Robertson (Thain) Unused Subs: Michie, Farquhar
Brechin City: Wilson, Bain, McHattie, Cooney, Scott, McGrath (Loudon), Arnott, MacLeod, McDonald (Inglis), Northcott, Spark Unused Subs: Thompson, Cruickshank, McInnes, Easton