Huntly 1, Brora Rangers 0
Brora Rangers suffered an unexpected setback at Christie Park last night when they went down 1-0 to a physical and hard working Huntly side.
Huntly scored the only goal of the match when the unfortunate James Ross deflected a shot from Charlesworth which looked to be going wide and passed the stranded Malin and into his own goal.
In truth Brora did not deserve to get beaten, but they lacked any presence up front and the Huntly defence easily took care of any Brora threat, with the visitors’ best chances coming from the numerous free kicks and corners which they had.
Brora started the brighter and Sutherland had two good chances within the first five minutes, but the finishing was poor, something that was to become indicative of the Brora game. Charlesworth nearly opened the scoring in eight minutes for the home side after turning Ross well, but shooting wide of the far post.
Nicolson had a superb struck shot well held by the home keeper and immediately thereafter it was Malin who came to the Cattachs’ rescue blocking a strike from Michael Ewan.
The match quickly developed into a physical challenge and Huntly certainly bullied the Brora midfield and forwards, and referee Blair Fraser was kept busy with his yellow cards.
Brora continued to press, and their corner count was already into double figures after just 25 minutes. From one deep corner Duff was unlucky with his header which flew over the bar.
Huntly were not without their chances as the game ebbed and flowed from one end to the other. It was Malin again who kept out Charlesworth, Still and Wyness with a string of great saves.
Brora should have taken the lead in 42 minutes when a Greig cross found an unmarked Kyle Macleod six yards out but his weak header was directed straight into the arms of John Farquhar.
Ross Tokely unusually made changes at half time with Graham and Maclean replacing Nicolson and Sutherland. As in the first period, Brora started the brighter after the break, and should have taken the lead but weak finishing from Greig saw the chance wasted.
In 60 minutes Huntly took the lead after Brora lost the ball in midfield and the home side broke forward. With Duff beaten in the tackle Charlesworth took a speculative shot across the goal which cannoned into the net via the unlucky James Ross.
Craig Gunn replaced Brindle for the last 22 minutes and Brora continued to press forward without any penetrating moves, as the Huntly defence grew in confidence and composure. James Ross and Martin Maclean both had good efforts blocked by the goalkeeper and Steven Mackay had several headers just wide.
Huntly were mounting a fine rearguard defence, as Brora poured forward in search of an equaliser and Brora saw a Mackay header cleared off the line as the watch ran down.
Huntly will be delighted with their stalwart performance, both in defence and in the chances they created. They out-fought Brora and wanted it more.
For all their dominance Brora created very few if any clear chances with the forwards seemingly unable to control and play the ball. A draw would perhaps have been a more equitable outcome, but in truth Brora never looked like scoring.
This was a disappointing result for Brora, who once again passed muster at the back but lacked any edge up front.