INVERURIE Locos slumped to a third league defeat this season so far, their first one away from home Gary Harris got the hat-trick which saw Turriff Utd through 3-0, although the game was not quite as one-sided as the scoreline may suggest.
Indeed Locos started the game brightly with some good play down the flanks and a lot of balls into the box. The closest they came in the early stages was when Nicky Gordon’s cross found the head of John Maitland whose effort was well saved by Stephen Coutts.
At the other end, Daniel Bell was made to work with a speculative effort from Donald Fraser, with the Locos keeper tipping the ball round far post to thwart Fraser’s excellent effort.
Turriff took the lead when they were awarded a free-kick, after Stephen Gauld had been pulled down by Kieron Adams. Gary HARRIS stepped up and curled the ball round the wall beyond the dive of Bell from 25 yards.
It was soon to be two, as Lewis Davidson lofted the ball over a stationary defence, giving Gary HARRIS time to get the ball under control and convert into the net.
Turriff were cruising and they nearly made it 3-0 when ex-Loco Dave McKenzie headed towards goal, but he was denied by Bell.
Locos were looking to get back into the game and fired numerous balls into box but very little was going their way, and they couldn’t force a change in the scoreline before half-time.
Just a minute into the second-half Harris had a golden chance for his hat-trick when he went clean through, one-on-one with the keeper, but his shot went past the far post.
Locos then laid siege in a desperate attempt to grab a lifeline. Coutts was forced into a couple of good stops, while Neil McLean and Clark Bain both had shots that went wide.
However, nothing was to deny Turriff and Harris their third just after the hour mark. A quick turn of pace from the impressive Gauld down the left resulted in him playing the ball across the face of goal, where Gary HARRIS was on his own to seal his hat-trick.
Nevertheless, desperate defending kept Turriff’s clean sheet in the end, with Locos denied consolation when Coutts kept out Adams’ downward header in the final minute.
Turriff Utd: Coutts, G Davidson, Bowden, Anderson, Simpson, L Davidson, Fraser (Lidgertwood 67), McKenzie, Harris, Gray (Muirhead 39), S Gauld
Subs: Campbell, Allan, Chalmers
Inverurie Locos: Bell, Michie McLean, Bain, Adams, Broadhurst, Strachan, Stewart (Begg 64), Bagshaw (McKay 64), Maitland, Gordon (N Gauld 54)
Subs: Souter, Young
Locos co-boss Kenny Coull, exasperated after such an impressive midweek win over junior neighbours Colony Park, said: “It’s not good enough. Not even achieving the basics in defending and that’s so frustrating, giving goals away and making the job of winning games so much harder.
“We were very impressive in the eight goal win over Colony and we told them that before the game as we believed it would be an inspiration to them. In the first twenty minutes we started well but a silly foul has given a free kick away. Put away well by Gary Harris it all led on from there.
“We gave Turriff Utd too much space to work in, all we can do in this situation is buckle down to our task, Scott Buchan and myself as co-managers and the players on the park
“Teams losing at the top of the table is no real consolation to us because we have a lot to do to get near to that position. Improvements have to be made. ”
This Saturday is a crucial six-pointer of a home game against Rothes. With the William Hill Scottish Cup home tie with Huntly the week after, nothing less than a comprehensive win will do if this season is to get off the ground. Kick off at Harlaw Park is at 3pm.