ON a day that saw a six game Highland League card produce a feast of 27 goals, the famine came at the early kick off at Harlaw Park between Inverurie Locos and Fraserburgh.
The Locos’ Spring Ball was held later in the day but this game never “sprung” properly into action and ended with a dire refereeing performance being the main talking point, two harsh red cards and a clear penalty being turned down.
Locos had stand in goalkeeper Daniel Bell to thank early on when he positioned himself well to save from Allan Hale who had hit a shot from close range perfectly, coming down from the bounce.
The respective Number 11’s were next to feature. Scott Barbour curled a free kick round the post while Marc Young lost his balance and shot over as he followed the path of a long diagonal Jamie Michie free kick. Next Zac Conway squandered a great headed chance from only a few yards out
It was a more determined home side appearing after half-time. Ryan Broadhurst powered a header from a Neil Gauld corner onto the crossbar, and then at the other end the in form centre half played it cool to deprive Sc ott Barbour lining up to pull the trigger. Bell then made another great save from Hale.
However, the referee who had frustrated both sides excelled himself in the closing minutes. Mr Ross controversially sent off Bryan Hay for a foul on Gauld with the ball running out of play, after having a long consultation with his stand-side assistant before demanding the defender leave the park.
An even worse decision was to follow. Deep into injury time he denied a stonewall penalty when Scott Begg was clearly brought down in the visitors’ box. Instead he flashed a second yellow card at the former Brora Rangers player for diving.
Inverurie Locos: Bell, Michie, Scott, Begg, Park, Broadhurst, Ross (Adams 90), McLean, Strachan (Coull 80), Low (Gauld 18), Young
Subs: Buchan, Gray
Fraserburgh: Dunbar, Hay, Morrice (Davidson 67), Dickson, Cooper, D Cowie, Conway, West, Hale, Johnston, Barbour
Subs: Main, Bremner, Ramsay, Leask
Referee: D Ross
After the match Locos Co Manager Scott Buchan said, “I’d rather concentrate on the game and I think a draw was a fair result. Fraserburgh had the better of the first half, we had the better of the second, without either side really testing the goalies
“We maybe lacked a little bit in the final third at times. In the first half our work-rate wasn’t where we wanted it to be, in the second half it was
“Ryan Broadhurst had a great game, but he should score, it’s a free header, open goal, the keeper has been taken out of the equation by the quality of the cross four or five yards out. His overall game was excellent. I thought the defence did really well. Daniel Bell did really well in goals, some great saves.
“It’s a pity people are trying to focus on the ref but I don’t think he had a good game
“We had seven or eight out, it will be like that to the end of the season, it’s a slant. Good players missing, good players playing. In the close season we’ll have two or three quality players coming in to complement that
“Andy Low was unfortunate, he’s got injured, we felt it could be a day for him, Craig Ross has also got injured. Scott Begg’s punishment will probably be the start of next season rather than the end of this one. I thought it was a really harsh second booking.
“A penalty all day long, the guy gets caught on the wrong side and fumbles in to him. Silly challenge. A sending off the wrong decision“
After the final home game of the season on Wednesday night against Clach and a final swansong for the old stand, it’s two away games to complete the season against lowly opposition
Firstly, on Saturday bottom dogs Fort William are the hosts in a 3pm kick-off, while next Wednesday, May 9, fourth bottom Rothes are the opponents at Mackessack Park with an 8pm kick off.