INVERURIE Locos sit proudly joint top of the Highland League after their second successive away win of the season left Deveronvale completely deflated.
The win was even more admirable as it was achieved with the team finishing with nine men after two key defenders were ordered off and another suffered a serious injury.
With Neil McLean free of suspension, the veteran midfielder was the architect of the visitors’ opening goal after only four minutes. The Vale defence was all at seas as McLean’s ball into the box came all the way through to Scott BEGG and the former Brora man cleverly sent the ball high past Darren McConnachie.
Vale missed a gilt edged chance in 23 minutes when Ross Anderson fouled Graeme Rodger inside the box. But birthday boy Scott Fraser failed to get the celebrations going when he blasted his spot kick well wide.
It was rather a hot headed encounter after the break with Kieran Adams sent off after a needless challenge on John Urquhart on 53 minutes but it was not to deter the visitors.
In 60 minutes they went two up when Dean DONALDSON netted his second goal of the season, heading home Gordon Forsyth’s free kick. Within a minute Martin CHARLESWORTH swivelled and beat Andy Reid with an unstoppable shot.
The task was made even tougher when Steven Park was sent off for a fierce challenge on Rodger outside the box. It was an unenviable statistic for “Parkie”, being red carded at the same ground in successive games, having been sent off at the end of the League Cup Final.
Another downside of the win was recent signing Greg Mitchell falling awkwardly and having to be carried off on a stretcher with what would appear to be ligament damage.
But the determined nine men held on to record their 200th win in Highland League football and they can look forward to this Saturday’s home local derby with Turriff United with a lot of excitement. Kick off is at 3pm.
Deveronvale: McConnachie, Rae, Simpson, Henry, Fraser, Rodger, C Charlesworth, Urquhart, M Charlesworth, Duguid, Watt
Subs: Duncan, Rennie, Scott, Cowie, Kevin Adams
Inverurie Locos: Reid, Mitchell (Park 36), Forsyth, Begg, Kieran Adams, Anderson, McLean, Low, Gauld, Bavidge, Donaldson
Subs: Young, Hunter, Souter, Mathieson
Referee: M Pirie
After the match co boss Scott Buchan said: “I cannot be happier or prouder of the team, they dug in to get the result because it was backs to the wall stuff for the latter stages.
“A couple of refereeing decisions were poor. I am not denying Kieran did something but their player retaliated with both hands and was only booked.
“We won at Princess Royal Park with only ten men last year so maybe the omens were with us.”
• The Locos once again have strong competition provided to Andy Reid for the goalkeeping position at the club following the signing of former Inverness Caley Thistle youth team keeper Scott Mathieson.
The 19 year old is based in Fordyce and is signed on a six month contract. He has been on the bench in 22 SPL games and has been on standby at every Premier League ground.
Mathieson played for the Red and Blacks for part of the game against Aberdeen FC Under 20’s in pre-season and was in the squad for the opening fixture away at Strathspey Thistle.
The player was on ICT’s books as a youth team player initially before becoming full time for the past two seasons.
The Locos have also announced the capture of their former forward David Ross following his release by Peterhead. The former Don left Harlaw Park six and a half years ago and has joined the Red and Blacks on a 12 month contract.
David left professional football to focus on his long term career goals, graduating with a First Class BA (Hons) Degree in Management from Robert Gordon University in July last year.
Chairman Eddie Innes commented, “We are delighted to welcome Davie back to the football club and his signing continues a hectic summer of transfer business at Harlaw Park”.