INVERURIE Locos are starting to resurrect their title race credentials after a hard working display brought them rightful desserts against the current League champions Buckie Thistle. The game was a game played at a cracking pace in much cooler conditions than were experienced in the previous couple of days.
The game started at breakneck pace, Nicky Gordon getting the knock on to his left where John Maitland struck a sweet volley just over the crossbar with only 20 seconds on the clock. Two minutes later the visitors responded. Paul Napier flighted a ball in from the right, Gary Clark fed on but Martin Charlesworth was off balance at the near post and failed to connect.
Then Charlesworth got in between Kieran Adams and Andy Reid, rounding the home keeper but Neil McLean got back to clear with the ball about to roll over the line. The Jags had put their stamp on the game, but only when attacking. Locos had a narrow escape when Simon Scott’s headed back pass following Napier’s ball through the centre saw the ex-Motherwell custodian stretching back to push out for a corner
Mark Chisholm was making his debut and he came forward to try his luck along with Charlesworth, both players swiping at their shots from close range and the spell of pressure continued, Reid and McLean combining to crowd out Charlesworth
Locos gradually re-asserted themselves, John Maitland in sparkling form on the left giving Chris Angus a torrid time, Steven Park on the end of one of his crosses, his effort going inches over the upright.
On the half hour it was 1-0 Locos. Clark Bain fed on to Craig Ross going nowhere in the box only for former team mate Mo Morrison to up-end him, and Nicky Gordon confidently sent Kevin Main the wrong way from the resulting penalty.
Chisholm had been the first half’s only booking but he almost made it a scoring debut, Andy Reid making a great acrobatic save to tip over his netbound header
Locos were getting their passes going to good effect, Tommy Wilson squaring to Craig Ross whose swerving effort traveled wide of Main’s crossbar. Miss of the game was in 63 minutes. Mo Morrison headed a cross from Paul Napier across goal, but Craig MacMillan, two minutes after entering the fray, fluffed his header from a couple of yards out
The result of this lucky escape was that the Locos grew in confidence. Nicky Gordon’s non stop running took him down the left, he looked up and crossed to the head of Clark Bain, who nodded home from seven yards, his first headed goal for the club
Bain brought out an impressive low save from Main after he linked up with Ross while on the other side, Neil McLean, starting a game at last, broke up play racing through but finishing weakly.
The fight was out of the Jags, there was to be no magic fightback like recently at Turriff and it was Maitland on the right foot seeing Kevin Main stopping him making it 3-0 with a fine low save.
Inverurie Locos: Reid, Park, McLean, Wilson (Begg 85), Adams, Scott, Young, Bain, Ross, Gordon (Gauld 88), Maitland
Subs: Michie, Coull, Graham
Booked: Wilson (73)
Buckie Thistle: Main, Shewan, Angus, Chisholm, MacKinnon, Morrison, Napier (Brown 71), MacRae, Charlesworth (MacMillan 61), Sutherland, Clark (Stewart 61)
Subs: Scott, Duncan
Booked: Chisholm(26), Shewan (90), Brown (90)
Locos co boss Scott Buchan was delighted with the outcome, “We’re delighted for the boys, it’s just rewards for their hard work. We’ve had a few knocks while not playing badly. Today we got our rewards. The second half was good for us, the first half was a clean sheet. Realistically though if the Buckie players had their shooting boots on it would’ve been a different story. It became more of an aerial onslaught than anything else.
“We try to get it up the park as quick as we can, when it breaks down we get back as a unit. They’re a good side, they’re Champions, obviously they’ll create chances.
“We deserved it, some of the players looked out on their feet but that’s what it’s about. We put on two subs, you knock in your pan and we’ll make changes when we need it.
“It’s paid off but we have to move on. No point in beating Champions then dropping points in your next game”
Bain a-head of the game
The Buckie script was set for a dream debut for Mark Chisholm making his fisrt Locos start after several years of loyal service to arch local rivals Deveronvale. Instead it was one of his former Home Nations colleagues who stole the limelight with the second goal which went a long way towards killing the game off.
Former Peterhead and Cove Rangers midfield dynamo Clark Bain scored midway through the second half half, Locos Nicky Gordon went flying away down the left, crossing perfectly to the near post to the head of Bain beating Kevin Main all ends up
The irony of the goal is that Bain believes that his fourth goal of the season could be the first with his head in his career, “It’s certainly my first with the head for Locos and come to think of it I cannot think of another in my career. But no matter how they go in, it’s just good to get the three points. It’s always good beating the League Champions, they’ll be up there at the end of the season. Everyone raises their game against Champions, we have to do it every week every game.
“Buckie are a really good team, they’ll create a lot of chances. They have big strong guys. I thought we coped well. We were pretty solid at the back, give the defence credit
“We’ve been playing pretty well of late and it’s good to get a rub of the green in this game. The guys are buzzing, playing well last three or four weeks, working hard in training and it paid off”
This Saturday Locos are back on their travels, away to lowly Brora Rangers, struggling to repeat their form of last season and coming off a heavy defeat by new League leaders Nairn County. Kick off is at 3pm.