IT was the worst possible last home outing of the season for Inverurie Locos as Cove Rangers went out and made it a twelve goal League aggregate win over them this season with a 5-0 win. A game that both sides were supposed to be approaching with huge desire, one whose players were looking to secure League Cup Final places, the other needing to keep the heat on title favourites Formartine United. Only one team turned up!
Cove had the first chance in the third minute when Jamie Lennox’s cross from the right deflected off the head of Neil McLean on to the crossbar and out for the corner. From the flag kick, Eric Watson headed over.
At the other end it was clear this was going to be a tough day for keepers, Stuart McKenzie letting a wind assisted ball rear up and he was forced to tip it onto the upright
However a classy Jamie Lennox hat trick in the space of fourteen first half minutes killed this game off as a contest. The opener was of simple construction. Connor Scully was left in space at the back post but slipped as he lined up to shoot. However LENNOX latched on to the ball and clipped it past Andy Reid and into the net.
Any nerves were settled for the title challengers and with news of Forres being ahead at Formartine, a second goal followed. Gordon Forsyth was robbed of possession, the ball was pounced on by LENNOX who could not believe his luck as he calmly rounded Reid and rolled into the empty net.
Despite a huge Hospitality attendance boosting the support for the home team, there was no spark about Locos play, ex Loco Ryan Stott firing an effort off an advertising board behind the goal. The hat trick was complete with two thirds of the game to go. Ryan Stott worked his way towards the left bye line and with an off balance Neil McLean unable to clear the ball, LENNOX tapped the ball into the empty net
Still there was no response, so in stepped young Connor SCULLY to net with a well struck volley from the edge of the box.
Such was the one sidedness of this fixture the nearest the home side came to scoring was after half time when a Neil Gauld cross skiffed the top of the crossbar. Co-managers Buchan and Coull had replaced Clark Bain and Forsyth with Scott Begg and Jack Strachan at half time, then Andy Low with Nicky Gordon. Strachan went close with one of his side’s only two shots on target while a Gordon header was saved. At the other end the ever dangerous Martin Johnston narrowly missed the target with a header
Within a minute of coming on for hat trick hero Lennox, Robbie HENDERSON latched on to a through ball, left with the ball on a plate to place the ball past a painfully exposed Reid. The closing stages were all about Locos restoring some pride, Neil Gauld aiming for his 30th goal with a shot on the turn but finding McKenzie alert
Inverurie Loco Works: Reid, Souter, Forsyth (Strachan 45), Bain (Begg 46), Adams, McLean, Ross, Low (Gordon 62), Gauld, McKay, Maitland
Subs: Park, Gray
Cove Rangers: McKenzie, Yule, Lawrie, Beagrie, Redford, Watson, Lennox (Henderson 69), McBain, Johnston, Stott (Leyden, 65), Scully (Singer 83)
Subs: Perry, Capstick
Referee: M McNab
A bewildered co boss Scott Buchan said of the day’s performance, “As a group our players looked like they lacked a bit of interest and that is alarming ahead of a Cup Final. You never want to be beaten but there is getting beaten and the manner of it, Kenny and myself were very unhappy with the manner of defeat. Players didn’t listen to what we asked them to do from the start.
“It was very evident Cove had something to play for but so did we. On the day we were not good enough. Cove by a mile were the better team. By some distance Cove are the best team in this League, and going by the standard they’ve set in defeating ourselves, I don’t know why they’re not romping away with the title. Credit obviously to Formartine Utd however. It is no disgrace getting beaten by a better team and Cove are a better team than we are. Nobody can argue about that”