Locos in fine form to reach cup final

Andy Hunter
Andy Hunter

Inverurie Locos will face Fraserburgh in the final of the Aberdeenshire Cup after defeating Banks o’ Dee 4-1 at Harlaw Park on Wednesday night.

Fraserburgh recorded a 2-0 win over Cove Rangers at Bellslea. The final will take place on Saturday, October 10 at Christie Park, Huntly

After the miserable display against Wick Academy this was a real tonic of a win for Locos and against a side playing at the top of their game in the SuperLeague. The opener came in only four minutes, Neil McLean’s free kick flicked home by young Joe McCabe.

At the other end, Scott Mathieson made a vital save to foil Jamie Lennox after the visitors won a corner on the left while the pressure was back on the Spain Park team when McLean’s low left foot effort was clutched by ex-Locos keeper Michael Smith.

It could’ve been 2-0 when Andy Hunter met a cross perfectly with his head but Smith made a great acrobatic save.

This was shaping up to be a fine night for Locos, McLean sending winger Colin Charlesworth away on the left but the No 11’s effort after good holding off with his shoulder was weak.

Mathieson was keeping himself sharp and made a good catch to foil Max Alexander’s free kick attempt at goal. Next up it was Mark Young feeding the ball on to Hunter, the striker’s thunderbolt not far off the mark.

Two minutes from half-time a penalty awarded in bizarre circumstances. Ross Anderson had his shirt pulled in the box but despite there being no penalty claims, the spot kick was awarded. Hunter converted the penalty high to Smith’s right and it was 2-0 at the interval.

A minute into the second half it was 3-0, substitute Bruce Drybrough slipping on the ball allowing Hunter to rob him and send it into the corner of the net.

Dee had actually come out buzzing after the break, Mathieson having to make another good save. And so it was no surprise when they reduced the leeway, Alexander’s free kick cross from the right headed home by Jamie Lennox.

The Aberdeen team were now making a game of it, another ex-Loco Ross Forsyth ghosting in on the blind side of home defenders and forcing Mathieson to push the ball into the air before completing the save.

However, the game was effectively over as a contest in 68 minutes, Charlesworth advancing to the right byeline and crossing low for David Ross to tap home from close range.

Charlesworth was again the supplier when releasing the ball left to Hunter whose hopes of completing his hat-trick were foiled by Smith blocking with his body.

Late on substitute Martin Laing got in a firm shot which flew just past Smith’s left post.

Locos co-manager Scott Buchan said: “Winning was what it was all about, performance was irrelevant. Getting to a cup final and getting the boost from that. We’ve had a lot of disappointments with injuries, it gives us all a boost and something to look forward to.

“We got the goal early, it settles everyone down, it lets you go on and then get the penalty as well as a goal early second half.

There was pushing and pulling for the penalty, it happens all the time, we’ll take it.

“I was really impressed with Banks o’ Dee. We’ve played some of the top Highland League teams, I would say they’ve played as much football as any of those, they zipped the ball about quickly.”

Teams:

Locos: Mathieson, Mitchell, Maitland, Young (Keir 80), Anderson, Broadhurst, Ross (Laing 75), McLean (Souter 84), Hunter, McCabe, Charlesworth Substitutes: Crisp, Adams, Coull.

Banks O’Dee: Smith, Forsyth, Millsom, Hampton, Robertson, K Winton (Dryburgh 8), Alexander, Steven (Paterson 73), McCall, Lennox (Harold 80), Phillipson Subs: J Winton, Buchanan, Duguid.

Referee: S Leslie