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 Brora unlucky to exit Petrofac Training Cup at first hurdle

Brora Rangers will feel hard done by to have exited the Petrofac Cup at Dudgeon Park this afternoon to a solitary strike by big Alloa striker Geoff Mitchell shortly after half time.

The goal galvanised Brora who came back strongly and were agonisingly close to equalising on several occasions but the leveller wouldn’t come.

Brora started with 3 centre backs and the opening exchanges were mainly neat passing in midfield with little direct threat to either goal.

The first corner of the match came on 20 minutes. Alloa played it short and Brora keeper Joe Malin denied Colin Hamilton, pushing his point bank header over the bar. 

The nearest Brora came before half time was when a corner was cleared to Ally MacDonald but he shot over.

The second half had more goalmouth action than the first period and Alloa made the breakthrough in the 49th minute when Dale Gillespie slipped and lost possession in midfield. Alloa were on to it in a flash and their main striker Geoff Mitchell controlled a through ball and held off a challenge before shooting left footed into the net.

Brora then pressed forward with greater urgency and had Alloa on the back foot, restricting them to breaks from defence. Brora should have levelled on 57 minutes. Martin MacLean was perfectly set up by Steven MacKay for a tap-in but he got little clean contact with the ball. A few minutes later a stinging low drive from Steven MacKay was well held by Wasps keeper Davie Crawford at his near post.

Alloa were dangerous on the break and wide man Edward Ferns had a run and shot that Joe Malin turned aside. With 20 minutes to go Brora brought on pacey winger Andrew Greig for Scott Graham and with Zander Sutherland troubling Alloa on the right flank and the Alloa defence had their work cut out to deal with the stream of crosses from both wings. Keeper Davie held a drive from Sander Sutherland and a minute later he brilliantly parried another drive from Steven MacKay that was heading into the postage stamp corner of the net.

By far the most controversial incident came 5 minutes from the end when Zander Sutherland was taken down on the edge of the box by the last defender. Amazingly neither the referee nor the linesman saw any offence and played on.

Brora player manager Ritchie Britain saw it like most of the rest of the ground. ‘It was as clear as day – Zander was clipped and the defender was the last man, so it should have been a free kick and red card’  However he added, ‘we had a strong 90 minutes with good composure on the ball and we were much better (than them) in the second half. That’s 3 games we’ve had against league opposition and we’re showing good progress which will hold us in good stead for the tough league campaign to come.’

Wasps manager Danny Lennon said, ‘I’d like to compliment Brora, we’ve had them watched and know they are a good side. They competed for every ball and we knew we’d have to deal with a lot of balls into the box – their wingers made it difficult for us. It was an even game and a hard fought win. We’ve done a lot of pre-season preparation in the Highlands and are making steady progress. We’ve hand -picked our squad for balance and the players are hungry to succeed and stay in the Championship.’

Reporter: Eddie Macrae  

Attendance: 265 Referee: Matt Northcroft

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Press and Journal Highland League 2016-17

Rank Teams Played GD Points
1 Buckie Thistle 34 94 82
2 Cove Rangers 34 79 82
3 Brora Rangers 34 80 81
4 Formartine United 34 35 73
5 Fraserburgh 34 29 63
6 Forres Mechanics 34 21 58
7 Turriff United 34 14 58
8 Wick Academy 34 23 53
9 Inverurie Locos 34 18 50
10 Keith 34 -14 47
11 Clachnacuddin 34 -24 41
12 Lossiemouth 34 -18 38
13 Nairn County 34 -17 34
14 Huntly 34 -43 34
15 Deveronvale 34 -24 30
16 Rothes 34 -69 26
17 Fort William 34 -92 11
18 Strathspey Thistle 34 -92 9

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