Brox outfox Locos to dash cup dreams
by Billy Thomson
THIS Scottish Cup tie will be remembered as a squandered opportunity for Inverurie Locos to claim a lucrative 4th Round berth.
A home meeting with Broxburn Athletic, whilst never going to be easy, did offer the Railwaymen an amazing opportunity to progress.
The Albyn Park side brought a sizeable support north in a Harlaw attendance in excess of 1100.
Kick-off was delayed for four minutes whilst three flares, thrown by Broxburn fans, were cleared from the park.
Nerves were getting the better of the players with the opening phase scrappy, Locos in particular toiling to get their trademark speedy passing game up and running.
Broxburn had Chris Townsley volleying well wide and a Nicholas Locke flick doing likewise, before Locos came alive with a Ryan Stott shot on target and having Connor Wallace paw the ball away unconvincingly.
Locke was involved again and this time his effort was far closer to being the opener.
If Athletic were the stronger for the first half of the first half, Locos were to go on and be on top through to half time.
Jonny Smith had a shot held, Andy Hunter shot wide and Mark Souter had a firmly hit drive deflected through to the goalie.
Calum Dingwall likes a long range special, and his sweetly struck effort deflected just wide. Broxburn were awarded a free-kick 20 yards from goal but Jack Beesley shot into the arms of Reid, then a early Gauld cross caused problems for the visitors.
Stott, Dingwall and Hunter all had half-chances just ahead of the break but Wallace wasn’t stretched at all and 45 minutes that lacked quality saw a stalemate.
Inverurie looked set to be awarded a kick from the penalty mark at the start of the second half, an outstretched Brox arm clearly diverting the path of the ball.
The referee had an above average performance overall and observers were left to think that perhaps he simply was without the view of the incident that was afforded to those on the sidelines.
A massive let off for the visitors nonetheless.
Gauld shot inches wide next as Locos desperately looked for that critical opener.
Dingwall shot high and Stott had a free-kick saved before Brox looked certain to net.
Alex Miller dinked the ball seemingly home but Ryan Broadhurst acrobatically hooked clear from below the bar.
Broxburn had been boosted by Chris Angus being unable to start this tie but appeared for Gauld with 18 minutes left.
Sub Ross Nimmo darted forward and had Andy Reid diving well to save, as Angus got a shot away that Wallace dived to smother.
The keeper then saved a Dingwall hit with Angus unable to get the rebound off the deck, allowing Wallace to block again.
An Angus header looked set to nestle in the Brox net but alas not.
In a match bereft of quality, Miller broke the mould by unleashing the ball high into the net on 83 minutes, sparking wild scenes at the Railway End with the travelling fans aware that a single goal was going to be good enough.
A Broadhurst header went wide as a late aerial bombardment was repelled without too much fuss.
Ifs, buts and maybes can be used in retrospectly examining any match, and indeed materially changing your uncle into your auntie, but Inverurie’s disappointment was heightened by knowing that anything like the intensity and tempo of the second half in Round One, the 90 minutes of Round Two, or the away league games at Bellslea or North Lodge would have seen the side through for sure.
None of that matters one jot to Broxburn who took full advantage to book an unlikely pass and an away tie at Premiership St Mirren.