Locos were left to rue a missed penalty as a late Robert McLean header secured all three points for Wick Academy at Harmsworth Park. It was a game of few chances but having dominated for large spells, Locos will feel that their performance merited at least a point.
The first half was played in bright sunshine but, though both teams displayed plenty of endeavour, there was little for fans of either to get excited about in front of goal. Sam Robertson and Nathan Meres had put efforts off target for Locos but neither keeper had really been tested before Zack Ellis was called upon to save from Richard Macadie’s drive in the the 33rd minute. From the resultant corner kick, the ball was played across goal for Marc Macgregor to finish from close range with the Locos defence looking for an offside flag. A Greg Mitchell shot brought a routine save from Graeme Williamson as the Scorries took their slender lead into the break.
The second half continued in much the same vein with Locos, employing Dean Donaldson’s preferred 3-5-2 formation, seeing plenty of the ball but missing something in the final third. The pressure did eventually pay off as Jamie Michie’s free kick was perfectly flighted for Tam Reid who ghosted in to volley home.
The momentum was with Locos and with 7 minutes remaining it felt like, if there were to be a winner, it would come from the men in fire and coal. They continued to press and were presented with a golden opportunity when the referee award a spot kick. Few in the ground had seen it, but the official indicated that there had been a pull on a Locos as shirt as a free kick was delivered into the box. Myles Gaffney stepped up but Williamson went the right way and got two strong hands to the ball to deny the on-loan striker a first Locos goal.
There was more woe to come for Locos as, three minutes into added time, McLean got his head to a corner as he challenged Zack Ellis on the line. The nature of this defeat will hurt Locos but they will look for the positives as Donaldson continues shape his team. The fixtures don’t get any easier as we welcome Buckie Thistle back to Harlaw Park on Saturday just a few after the Jags knocked the Railwaymen out of the Aberdeenshire Shield.