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Mark Cowie delighted as Fraserburgh secure Highland League Cup final berth

The Broch beat Brechin City 2-1 at Glebe Park in the semi-final of the competition

Ryan Sargent of Fraserburgh celebrates scoring against Brechin.
Ryan Sargent celebrates scoring for Fraserburgh against Brechin City in the Highland League Cup. Pictures by Kath Flannery/DCT Media

Mark Cowie was thrilled after Fraserburgh secured their place in the GPH Builders Merchants Highland League Cup final.

The Broch haven’t won the competition since 2006 but defeated Brechin City, who finished with 10 men, 2-1 at Glebe Park in Saturday’s semi-final.

Fraserburgh will face either Brora Rangers or Keith in the showpiece at Inverurie’s Harlaw Park on October 14.

During Cowie’s eight years in charge at Bellslea his side have won the Breedon Highland League, four Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cups and three Morrison Motors (Turriff) Aberdeenshire Shield.

However, the Highland League Cup has eluded them, with a loss in the 2018 final the closest Fraserburgh have come to winning it in that period.

Cowie said: “It’s the big cup because it’s everyone in the league and we’ve done well to get where we are.

“Whether it’s Brora or Keith it will be a tough game. We maybe haven’t been consistent enough in the last three or four games.

“But if we turn up we can cause problems, it will be a difficult final, but you’re there to win it and we’ll give it our best shot.”

Ryan Sargent, right, of Fraserburgh is thwarted by Brechin goalkeeper Lenny Wilson
Ryan Sargent, right, of Fraserburgh is thwarted by Brechin goalkeeper Lenny Wilson.

Reflecting on the win against Brechin, Cowie added: “I’m delighted and over the piece I think we deserved it.

“The sending off makes it a bit easier but even up to then I thought we were the better side.

“Our shape was tremendous and without the ball we plugged the gaps we know Brechin can exploit and our front two cause problems when they’re on it.

“In the first half, we could have done more going forward, but without the ball we were excellent.

“In the second half, we found holes and with more composure we could have scored more.

“Cup games are all about results and we’ve managed to get ourselves into a final again.”

Watt breaks the deadlock

The opening exchanges were cagey, but then in the 37th minute the Broch took the lead.

Logan Watt dispossessed Fraser MacLeod in midfield, with some in the home ranks looking for a free-kick, and found Greg Buchan who then passed to Scott Barbour on the left flank.

Ryan Cowie made a run beyond Barbour and when Cowie got the ball he picked out Watt with a low cross which he fired into the left corner from 12 yards.

Shortly before the interval Greg Buchan volleyed off target from 20 yards.

Fraserburgh's Logan Watt scoring a goal against Brechin
Fraserburgh’s Logan Watt, centre, scores their opener against Brechin.

Five minutes into the second half Brechin were dealt a setback when they were reduced to 10 men.

Ryan Sargent latched onto Euan Spark’s wayward header before going down under pressure from Spark at the edge of the box.

Referee Filippo Mazzoni ruled it was a foul and that Sargent had been denied a clear goalscoring opportunity and thus showed Spark a red card.

Despite their numerical disadvantage the Hedgemen levelled in the 55th minute when a short corner routine saw Hamish Thomson’s shot blocked, but the loose ball broke for MacLeod and his strike was deflected beyond Joe Barbour into the left corner.

Fraserburgh's Fraser MacLeod scoring a goal against Fraserburgh
Brechin’s Fraser MacLeod, number 11, scores against Fraserburgh.

Shortly after MacLeod played Grady McGrath in down the right, but the usually clinical striker couldn’t hit the target with a clear sight of goal.

Just after the hour mark Fraserburgh regained the lead when Watt won the ball in midfield and picked out Sargent, who took a superb first touch before firing into the bottom right corner from the edge of the box.

Inside the final quarter of an hour Sargent scored again from a Watt cross, but the flag was up for offside.

Fraserburgh stood firm as Brechin tried to put on some pressure in the closing stages and sub Connor Wood could have put the seal on victory in stoppage time, but fired wide when clean through.

Kirk’s complaints

Brechin boss Andy Kirk said: “I’m disappointed with the result and probably more disappointed with the referee.

“There’s two major decisions he gets wrong in my view. It’s a free-kick in the middle of the pitch (in the build up to the first goal) the player (Watt) comes through the back (of MacLeod).

“(For the sending off) I think Euan’s in front and it’s shoulder to shoulder and I don’t think the referee sees it.

“When he’s running towards it he’s thinking he’ll blow but doesn’t know what to give and is looking at the linesman.

Logan Watt in action against Brechin
Logan Watt, left, of Fraserburgh gets away from Brechin’s Seth Patrick.

“There’s no point in trying to speak to him, he’ll have seen it a different way and that will be his explanation.”

Kirk added “I thought the front two (McGrath and Liam Duell) were very poor.

“They didn’t work hard enough, they didn’t run in behind enough, they didn’t hold the ball up well enough.

“If you’re going to win games you need your strikers to be at it so I’m disappointed with that aspect.”


Brechin City (3-5-2) – Wilson 7, Spark 5, Thomson 6, McHattie 7 (Cruickshank 67); Moreland 6, Ferguson 6, Patrick 6, MacLeod 7, Murray 6; McGrath 6 (Heenan 86), Duell 6 (Scott 56).
Subs not used – McArthur, Loudon, White, Kirk, McCabe.
Fraserburgh (5-3-2) – J Barbour 7, Davidson 7, Hay 7, Simpson 8, Beagrie 8, Cowie 7; Watt 8 (Aitken 80), Young 8, Buchan 8; S Barbour 7 (Butcher 80), Sargent 8 (Wood 87).
Subs not used – West, Bolton, Laird, Flinn.
Referee – Filippo Mazzoni 6.
Man of the match – Kieran Simpson.

Accident leads to postponements

Meanwhile, the other semi-final between Brora Rangers and Keith at Dudgeon Park was postponed after a traffic accident on the A9 between Golspie and Brora stopped the Maroons reaching the ground.

The same incident meant Wick Academy were unable to travel to Grantown-on-Spey to play Strathspey Thistle in the Breedon Highland League at Seafield Park.