Champions Brora

Andy Hunters late strike is saved by the Brora Keeper
Andy Hunters late strike is saved by the Brora Keeper

Scorers:

Zander Sutherland 86

Inverurie Locos went into this big League clash with the champions Brora Rangers on a real high after comfortably beating Turriff Utd at the Haughs in the MMT Aberdeenshire Shield on Wednesday night. Martin Bavidge, captain Neil McLean with a penalty and substitute Colin Charlesworth got the goals. An own goal in injury time by Ryan Broadhurst the only setback of the night other than the injury that ruled out Greg Mitchell

So if they could beat last season’s second placed team, could they beat the flag flyers? To do so they would be achieving success without the presence of McLean, ruled out by suspension

The Cattachs could have been two or three ahead very early, Scott Mathieson saving an Andrew Greig right foot shot, tipping a Grant Munro header on to his crossbar and following up with another clever save

Andy Hunter posed the first Red and Black threat in five minutes, cutting inside from his left wing position but was crowded out. Then Bavidge fed the ball on to fellow midweek scorer Charlesworth who looked to have been held back, but ref Graham Beaton only gave a corner

The visitors were ambitiously looking for a penalty when Zander Sutherland’s amateur dramatics after a Mark Souter challenge failed to convince Beaton. But the man in themiddle and his standside linesman were badly at fault in 14minutes. Midfielder Martin MacLean brandished an elbow in the face of Marc Young but got off with a yellow.

The end to end action continued with Bavidge raced to the bye lineand squared back only to see the ball cleared for a corner and at the other end player boss Richard Brittain tried along range effort but Scott Mathieson was well placed to clutch

It should have been 1-0 Locos in 33 minutes, Bavidge evading his markers and going one on one with Joe Malin, but to the disappointment of the home support, he just missed the target

Next up it was Joe McCabe just failing to get his head on the end of a high flighted free kick from John Maitland and then it was Charlesworth accelerating right away from the Brora defence and sending his right foot shot narrowly wide

Half time came and the felling around the ground was this had been a great first half showing by the home side, coping with the man in the middle flashing yellow cards. And the next one was also a certain red not given. Newly introduced sub Gavin Morrison went in studs up on Charlesworth, the winger lucky to have escaped without serious injury

Midfielder Young went on arun in 66minutes, his cross from the left headed over fora corner and with both sides probing well for the opener, visiting right back John Pickles just failed to get the final touch on Greig’s curled ball over the home defence

Malin at the other end defied Hunter after a perfect Charlesworth cross from the right, Young again having done the donkey work

But as the game headed for a goalless conclusion it was Zander Sutherland popping up with an overhead kick finish from the centre of the box from another outstanding Greig delivery

A real travesty of justice. The 5-0 win for the Sutherland side still lives fresh in the memory on their wayto previous League success. This game was like chalk and cheese. Not one player in the starting line up marked less than 7 outof 10. Every one player in each department stood up to their battles and a draw is the least they deserved.

Inverurie Locos: Mathieson, Jeffrey, Maitland, Begg, Souter, Broadhurst, Hunter, Young, McCabe ( Laing 85), Bavidge ( Selfridge 82), Charlesworth Subs: Leyden, Forsyth, Robertson, Ross, McCaffrey

Brora Rangers: Malin, Pickles, Macdonald, Munro, Houston, Gillespie, Graham ( Morrison 46), Maclean, Sutherland, Brittain ( Mackay 74), Greig

Subs : Martin, Kettlewell, Grant, Porritt,

Referee: G Beaton

Locos co boss Scott Buchan said:“We’ve had defeats this season here at Harlaw Park that have been pretty diabolical performances. You’llget beaten in games of football. If there is a good manner of defeat, get beat trying. We certainly did that in this game

We created lots of opportunities and credit to Brora for keeping a clean sheet, they had their goalkeeper to thank for that. But they created a lot too and could have been two up inside five minutes

Once we got to grips with the early pressure our forwards caused Brora problems. It was a really good game of Highland League football, two teams going for it. Bav was excellent as were McCabe, Charlesworth and Hunter. I’m just gutted for our players, they were unlucky to lose the game

We all have our opinions on the challenges but the first one was indeed an elbow the second was studs up. It was reckless but no complaints from us as going a man down can galvanise a team. I am all for keeping 11 on Michaele park if possible, I actually enjoyed the game

The guys who came in on Wednesday and made an impression showed they want to be backing the team. We have more to come but just didn’t quite make it in this game

n This Saturday 7th Nov Locos travel to Inverness to face Clach kick off 3.00

Two new fixtures have been added to the schedule. On Wed 11th Locos travel toplay Fraserburgh in the League, kick off 8.00. Then on Wed 18th Locos entertain Fort William, also an 8.00 start