SATURDAY saw the start of a spell of really massive games for Inverurie Locos as they looked to extend their ten game unbeaten run this season.
But it was not to be as a Nairn County side that won at Harlaw Park on the opening day last season, dished out severe medicine to an under par home side, winning 4-2.
The absence of David Ross and Dean Donaldson as well as suspended Neil Gauld, didn’t appear to matter as straight from the kick off took just 21 seconds to break the deadlock. A hesitant clearance from the Nairn defence caused confusion. And as keeper Callum Donaldson rushed off his line, the ball to fall perfectly for Martin BAVIDGE to hook the ball over the opposition players from the edge of the box into the now empty net.
Nairn responded in style and it was their dangerman who did the business. Conor GETHINS, lined up a dangerous free kick just off centre of the Locos goal, and perfectly curled it lifting the ball over the wall and past Andy Reid vainly diving full length to his right.
Turning from scorer to provider, Gethins’ well timed pass through the inside right channel put the visitors in the lead, Gethins created the space to feed Stuart LESLIE as he advanced into the box. Leslie opted for power over finesse as her powered the ball through Andy Reid, with the keeper perhaps feeling he could have done better
The lethal Nairn attack weren’t forced to work hard for their third goal of the match. Instead, they were gifted the opportunity after Inverurie poorly defended the second phase of a corner after a weak clearance. Former Locos favourite Michael Morrison flighted the ball back in from the left, Sean WEBB directing a low header in off the far left post.
The match should then have been settled minutes later as Robbie Duncanson forced a close range save from Andy Reid, the first time the ball hadn’t gone in the net from a meaningful Nairn effort.
Locos hit their best spell in the game, and shortly before half time, captain Neil McLean floated forward from his right back position and linked up well with Scott Begg, before Begg spread the ball out wide John Maitland. Maitland picked the perfect cross to find Martin BAVIDGE in the box for the towering striker to power a looping header into the corner and reduce the deficit to just one.
Early in the second half, the ever inconsistent Martin Kerrigan failed badly by refusing a stonewall penalty when Scott Begg was clearly pushed off the ball in the box
If Locos hoped the goal would spark a second half resurgence they were far mistaken. The influence of Conor Gethins proved too strong as Nairn took firm control of the match. Daniel Moore raced through a packed Locos midfield and out on the left flank. From his inch perfect cross, GETHINS took a step back from his marker to get the space to angle the ball into the net.
A disastrous day was capped as hothead defender Ross Anderson saw red after two successive bookings within four minutes, failing miserably to keep his temper under control, the winding up of the player by the Wee County fans impossible for him not to respond to
Inevitably Gethins to complete a well deserved hat trick, which he duly bagged in the 89th minute. Once again, Nairn looked deadly on the counter attack as they moved swiftly up the pitch. Andy Reid made the decision to act as sweeper and squeeze the defence, but with the ball at his feel, this only allowed Conor GETHINS to take advantage of the opportunity to chip the ball from the corner of the box over the scrambling Reid.
Inverurie Locos: Reid, McLean, Forsyth, Begg (Young 67 ), Adams, Anderson, Low (Coull 67), Souter, Hunter (Mitchell 34), Bavidge, Maitland. Subs: Park, Mathieson
Nairn County: Donaldson, A Naismith, MacPhee, Morrison, Webb, Mackintosh, Gregg Main, Leslie (RNaismith 88), Gethins, Duncanson (Cameron 70), Moore (Neill 86). Subs: Kerr, Maccallum.
Referee: M Kerrigan
Locos co-boss Scott Buchan had no complaints. He said: “We were beaten by the better team on the day. You hope to build from such an early goal, but we didn’t. We gave Nairn too much respect and were nowhere near them all over the park.
“They have very good players and were very sharp in their one and two touch passing. But it’s one defeat in eleven, we will regroup at training and start again.”
This Saturday Inverurie Locos head to Victoria Park to meet Buckie Thistle who have defeated Keith as well as Wigton and Bladnoch in the Scottish Cup in the past fortnight.
A performance like Saturday’s is unthinkable ahead of the mouth watering Scottish Cup tie away to Formartine United. Kick-off is at 3pm