INVERURIE Locos started off 2011 with a bang, destroying the challenge of their Gordon rivals Huntly and showing no signs of rustiness after a six week enforced weather break.
Now sitting second equal in the table, the side who came into the League ten years ago are well placed for a serious title tilt, now boasting the best goal difference.
Referee Steve MacDonald had passed this game fit to go after a late inspection but the extremely sodden surface was always going to be difficult to master with the bounce going to be uncomfortable
Clark Bain was first to get a low shot on target in after seven minutes while a few minutes later another former Peterhead player was to the fore, Stuart Soane trying an extremely audacious 35 yard acute angle shot which came off the underside of the bar with Andy Reid retreating.
Adam Maitland was a surprise starter in a Locos line up without captain Tommy Wilson (offshore) and Neil McLean (suspended) and the wide player collected a pass inside the box but on the turn saw his shot clutched by Ross Bremner. Maitland was again to the fore heading just over the crossbar after a short spell of head tennis in the home box. Craig Ross went off on a run on the 20 minute mark and tried a chip on the counter attack as the pace of the game increased. At the other end, Soane had sent Ross McKenzie away, John Maitland blocking Russell Guild’s shot as the midfielder went to pull the trigger.
Three minutes later the Locos went in front. An initial ball towards goal was punched out by Bremner, then Kevin Neish fired against the crossbar, but in the ensuing goalmouth scramble, it was Steven Park who knocked the ball home from close range with the home defenders vainly claiming obstruction by Adam Maitland on Bremner
One minute after collecting a caution Patrick Vigurs matched Soane’s earlier long ranger, this time Ross Bremner having to arch his body backwards to push the ball away from goal.
Locos secured a vital two goal advantage in 38 minutes. John Maitland crossed from the left for his cousin Adam Maitland at the back post. The No 11 controlled the ball perfectly, slipping his effort just inside Bremner’s right corner.
The second half took a while to ignite but again it was Locos to the fore, John Maitland again causing havoc with his deliveries, with Kevin Neish heading over the top
Out of nothing Huntly were right back in it in 62 minutes with a well taken goal. Ross McKenzie crossed from deep, Ritchie Taylor laid it to his left and Colin Robertson rifled his shot into the roof of the net. Robertson could have brought the scores level soon after but this time was inches away from hitting the target from Guild’s lay off. In 66 minutes, it was 3-1 Locos. Neil Gauld, trying to recover after taking a clip on the ribs, made a partial run before releasing to Craig Ross. The No 7 found the target with a low right footer watched by a motionless Bremner.
But six minutes on and Huntly had the chance to leeway reduce again. Steven Park was extremely unfortunate to be hit on the hand by a McKenzie shot.
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