INVERURIE Locos finished their season with a fluorish, two goals in each half giving them a convincing win over a youthful Clachnacuddin side. But the main talking points of this game were the sendings off in separate incidents of Locos keeper Andy Reid and Clach right back Neil MacDonald early in the second half
In warm conditions, albeit breezy at Harlaw Park, Locos, missing suspended Clark Bain and Craig Ross but with Neil McLean back in team, took the game to their opponents. Nicky Gordon got to the right bye line in nine minutes cutting back for teenage centre forward Scott McIntosh. The No 9 directed his header well but David Harrison dived at full length to turn it round for a corner.
In 18 minutes Locos were one up and it was a personal disaster for David Harrison. Ryan Broadhurst flighted a dangerous free kick from just inside his own half, the keeper shouted for it but dropped the ball. Scott McIntosh in true poacher tucked away the rebound.
Harrison appeared to have lost a bit of confidence, as he kicked away a Jamie Michie cross when normally he may have used his hands but nothing came of the corner.
It was 2-0 in 32 minutes and what a goal. Kieran Adams strolled up from the back to head a Neil McLean flag kick onto the centre of the crossbar and when the ball rolled out Adam Maitland absolutely hammered it low to Harrison’s left leaving him well beaten.
The Lilywhites missed a gilt edged chance in 40 minutes. For once in the game the Locos defence was caught lacking in concentration, Ian Penwright was left free on the right and squared to Mark Dougall. One-on-one with Andy Reid the former Fort William, Forres and Rothes player fluffed his kick.
The game faced a potential turning point four minutes after the restart. The dangerous Stuart Leslie ran in behind the home defence, Andy Reid came out and had the situation seemingly covered but caught the No 8. A last man challenge under the laws of the game and he had to face a red card.
For the second time this season centre back Jamie McKinnon came off the bench to replace Reid and became an instant hero diving to his right to save Leslie’s well hit spot kick.
Five minutes later Neil MacDonald also went for an early shower. This decision from ref Shaw was equally debatable, he caught Nicky Gordon racing down the left, a yellow should have sufficed, but off went the traffic policeman.
A minute later Locos right back Jamie Michie struck an effort onto the bar but just before the hour it was 3-0. Back fully fit, Neil Gauld was goal provider releasing Adam Maitland with a reverse pass which the No 10 swept beyond the reach of Harrison who went to ground too early.
Neil McLean made it 4-0 in 71 minutes, another cracker, this time the former Scottish Semi Pro captain striking a sweet left footer that raised just off the ground but flew past the Clach No 1 like a rocket into the corner.
Brian MacLeod and Neil Gibb combined well to set up sub Kyle MacLean to ghost in from the left with ten minutes left. The sub’s hard hit left foot shot was saved well by McKinnon who used the post to good effect to keep the ball out. Then youngster Gordon Hooker fired into the side net as hopes of reducing the leeway were foiled.
Deep into injury time Jamie Michie was lucky to only see yellow for a last man challenge on Chris Ross, it was not worthy of a sending off but in relation to the previous deemed indiscretions, it could have been 9 v 10 for the closing seconds.
Locos: Reid, Michie, J Maitland, Vigurs, Adams, Broadhurst, Gordon, McLean, McIntosh (McKinnon 49), A Maitland (Maitland 72), Gauld (Neish 79).
Subs: Craib, Coull
Clach: Harrison, MacDonald, Smith, Gibb, Scott Davidson, Dougal (Scott Roderick Davidson 82), Macleod, Leslie, Penwright (Hooker 74), Ross, McLeod ( MacLean 61)
Subs: Clark, Maclennan
Referee: T Shaw
Locos co-boss Kenny Coull said about the performance after the game: “It was very professional, I have nothing to complain about, good all round. Obviously disappointing to lose Andy Reid being sent off, a poor decision. Their guy didn’t deserve to be sent off either. Adam Maitland scored two great goals but he’s away travelling for six months. His energy over the past six months has been a massive bonus
“Neil McLean and Patrick Vigurs were the main players for us, hopefully Pat will come back with confidence as well. We’ve finished very well, but February and March killed us off, a lot of it our own undoing.”