Locos lost heavily to title challengers Buckie Thistle in a game that Richard Hastings and his players will want to forget as they finished the game with 10 men following Taylor Thain’s red card. An improved second half display couldn’t gloss over a performance that fell well short of what was needed against a team who suffered defeat for the first time in 30 Highland League games last weekend.
The visitors made their intentions clear early on, testing Andy Reid within the first 30 seconds. Locos first foray forward saw Garry Wood in a promising position but Lewis McKinnon was able to take the sting out of his shot. Sam Pugh was then able to carry the ball to the edge of the Locos box before playing in Kyle MaCleod who slipped past Reid for the lead. Reid then saved well from Macaskill, turning his low shot behind for a corner before Locos thought they had equalised. Skipper Greg Mitchell made a surging run forward before releasing Jay Halliday down the right. His low cross was finished well by Nathan Meres only to be ruled out by the offside flag.
Reid was again the saviour as he first saved low to his right before clawing away superbly from the corner that followed. The danger still hadn’t passed though, and a shot came in that hit the crossbar as the Jags looked to extend their advantage. The second goal did come just after the half hour mark. There was question marks over a throw in awarded to Thistle but little doubt about the outcome as the throw made it’s way to Josh Peters 20 yards from goal who finished brilliantly beyond Reid.
The Locos number 1 was getting busier and busier, making a string of saves. He was beaten a third time 6 minutes before the interval as Cohen Ramsey ran across the edge of the penalty area from the left before firing low inside the post. The half -time whistle couldn’t come quickly enough fo rLocos who were struggling to cope with the attacking strength of thev isitors.
Hasting made changes for the second half, Taylor Thain replacing Fergus Alberts with Halliday moving into a more advanced role. It was Buckie who continued to threaten the next goal though, Peters clipping the top of the cross bar. Balint Demus then reacted well to prevent a dangerous ball being deflected in by his own defender before the fourth goal came. Locos struggled to deal with a long throw into the box and, after some brave defending, Sam Urquhart finished acrobatically.
With the result long decided, Locos were finally able to apply a bit of pressure, although the opportunities that fell to Thain, Halliday and Wood were no more than half chances and they couldn’t trouble Demus. The afternoon was summed up as Thain was dismissed for a foul on McAskill. It was unfortunate for the midfielder who had no option but to make the challenge which the referee deemed to be a denial of a goalscoring opportunity.
It doesn’t get any easier for Locos who follow this fixture against last year’s runners-up with a trip to champions Fraserburgh – a daunting double-header that every team seems to have been blessed with this season.