Fraserburgh 2 - Inverurie Locos 1
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The Railwaymen’s wait to have the famous old Aberdeenshire Cup reside in the Harlaw boardroom goes on and on.
Winning only four of fifteen previous ties against the Broch, across all competitions, was an ominous reminder of the task in hand.
Looking back to Matchday seventeen from last season did offer some hope though, that 3-2 league win at this ground being a high point of the still embryonic Andy Low tenure.
Ryan Broadhurst was in for the injured Andy Watt, Sam Burnett moved to the bench to make room for the returning Nathan Meres.
Locos only had four outfield players on the bench.
By Broch standards it was reasonably mild come kick off time.
This atmospheric ground, so often the home of loud acerbic coastal wit, was sadly quiet here, as the homesters were attacking the Hospitality Suite End.
Locos could have started fresher and sharper in the previous tie against Turriff and sluggishness at the commencement of both halves were unfortunately to see defeat in this one.
There was little anyone could do about a Barbour deflected cross that struck the Locos post right from the off but the Fraserburgh opener was all too easy.
A seemingly obvious Locos throw was remarkably given to the home side but Inverurie still should have prevented the resultant opener.
Lewis Duncan, the best player afield until his later dismissal, had acres of space to play in Paul YOUNG who slid the ball home.
Appeals for offside were unsuccessful. The Railwaymen were struggling to combat the energy and aggression of the Broch, with a succession of home fouls stifling any Locos attempts to play their free flowing football.
Locos won a way back into the tie when Shanks was far too quick for keeper Leask, being fouled for a clear penalty.
Andy Hunter's spot kick wasn't well struck at all and easily saved.
Shanks was then yellowed for his first transgression of the day.
The same Locos player was then tripped again, the lack of any card causing coach Davidson to mention that old consistency chestnut and earn himself a scolding for his trouble.
Inverurie just couldn't get going and Barbour was close to reaching a Campbell cross before Young shot wide from close in. Calum Dingwall shot over and good play from Hunter saw his cross evade Michie in the middle.
Nathan Meres was felled off the ball and the absence of the free kick being given was a little too much for some of the players, assistant manager Park being the fall guy for the situation, picking up a yellow as the players and staff left the park at half time.
The second half started just like the first, with a goal for the homesters.
COWIE netting from under the bar.
Campbell had a shot charged down before another break in play as Neil McLean became the latest to get a talking to from the referee.
Davidson was pulling the strings in this tie, albeit without due pressure and closing down from opponents, and next he struck the post.
McLean was yellowed next as the tariff for cautions again had heads being scratched on the Locos bench.
Barbour drove the ball wide.
Duncan was issued with a straight red, his challenge was never intended to hurt anyone but his studs being raised made it an instant call for the referee with the modern take on the laws.
Inverurie struck soon after.
One assumes Kieran Shanks will net some tap-ins for the Locos at some stage, but in the meanwhile the teenage terror is specializing in sublime finishes.
His touch and finish high into the net was of a quality seldom seen in ninety minutes of this tie.
Fourteen minutes and stoppages to force penalties.
The dangerous Barbour shot wide of the posts again before skipper McLean was ever so close to being able to gather the ball and head into the penalty box.
A Hunter cross was too deep for Gordon before the same player had a shot blocked by dogged defending.
Broadhurst was cautioned with the last piece of action being a forlorn appeal for keeper Leask having carried a caught corner back over his own line.
FT 2-1 to Fraserburgh.
Not a pleasing tie on the eye, thirty one fouls and stacks of stoppages but the Broch head to the semi-finals and deservedly so.
Disappointment for Inverurie again in a big cup-tie.
However it needs to be remembered that that was only their second competitive match in eight and a half months and the focus now moves to the start of the league campaign on Saturday.