Three goals inside the opening 20 minutes helped Locos cruise to victory with a superb attacking display against Rothes. The hosts tangerine shirts were the only bright spot of their afternoon, as they played most of the second half with 10 players after goalkeeper Sean McCarthy was dismissed.
The Speysiders started positively, with the majority of the first five minutes played in the Locos half. However, the first opportunity The Railwaymen got to attack saw them take the lead. Calum Dingwall’s corner from the left was met by Garry Wood at the near post to head his first competitive goal for the club after 7 minutes. From that point on Locos dominated.
After Andy Reid had reacted well to keep out a deflected Gregg Main shot, Robert Ward tested McCarthy from the edge of the penalty area. McCarthy dealt with the effort but barely a minute later the winger picked up his third goal of the season. Released down the left, Ward cut inside and let fly. The keeper appeared to get his fingertips to the ball but couldn’t prevent Locos doubling their lead with just 15 minutes on the clock.
The game seemed all but done and dusted in the 19th minute when Matthew Petermann applied the finishing touch to a devastating break led by Lloyd Robertson. It was a cool finish from the youngster as the ball was fed invitingly into his path. Locos continued to threaten, McCarthy saving well from Petermann before Ward found Robertson in the area but the midfielder was unable to keep his shot down.
At the other end, Reid was being well protected by his defenders. Other than a fairly routine save from a Steven Mackay free kick, he was untroubled until shortly before the break when he was unable to keep hold of a corner. To the goalkeeper’s relief, home skipper Bruce Milne was only able to lift his shot onto the roof of the net.
If a Rothes comeback seemed improbable at the start of the second half, it started to look impossible 6 minutes after the restart as they went down to10 men. Quick thinking by Andy Reid sent an enticing ball for Ward to chase. As McCarthy came to meet him, the ball bounced over the keeper who, despite being well out of the area, stuck out a hand to stop it and the red card that followed was inevitable.
A fourth goal seemed just as inevitable, and it came shortly before the hour mark. Fergus Alberts received the ball on the penalty spot, laying off for Dingwall who calmly slotted the ball past replacement keeper Iain Mackenzie. It was one way traffic now and Wood thought he had his second of the afternoon only to be flagged offside. Richard Hastings then gave a debut to Taylor Thain, who joined the club this week.
Wood had another golden opportunity to add to the scoring but saw his penalty crash back off the crossbar after Ward had been tripped by Ryan McRitchie. Locos weren’t to be denied a fifth goal though, as Logan Johnstone rose majestically at the back post to head Wood’s delivery back across Mackenzie and into the bottom corner to cap a wonderful afternoon for the visitors at Mackessack Park.
This was a comprehensive victory and Hastings will be absolutely delighted by the performance of his players. Locos attacked in numbers with pace and intent, and with no shortage of options were simply too much for Rothes to handle. The fans will be looking for more of the same as Forres Mechanics visit Harlaw Park next week.