IT was a huge relief for Inverurie Locos to get back into action after the latest weather intervention although it was a long trek on Saturday (February 2) to face the impressive league leaders Wick Academy. At the end of the day it was a case of what might have been . Nicky Gordon’s sending off after only 16 minutes made it an uphill struggle and sub Gary Weir’s second half strike proved to be enough to see off an impressive Locos side that dominated spells of the game.
The game started with Richard Macadie signalling the home teams attacking intentions with an early shot, but it flew high over the crossbar, and it was Locos who looked the liveliest early on.
Wick broke through the visiting defence in the 15th minute when Lukasz Geruzel flicked the ball through to Sam Mackay but Andy Reid came out to smother the ball at his feet, winning the one-on-one battle.
A minute later Gary Manson and Nicky Gordon had a debate that ended with Gordon being alleged to have kicked the left back and being shown the red card for his troubles.
Despite that the Locos were a whisker away from taking the lead minutes later when Craig Ross delivered a great ball across the face of goal but Andy Low just couldn’t make the contact.
Wick appeared to be set to take control of the game though and Lukasz Geruzel should have had them ahead from a Davie Allan cross but the big striker failed to take advantage from six yards out.
However Locos continued to attack. Craig Ross fired just wide from 18 yards and the visitors went on to dominate the majority of the half, but there was a let off right on the stroke of half time when a Lukasz Geruzel header crashed off the crossbar.
It was the striker’s last action of the game as he was replaced at the break by Gary Weir, who was to go on and prove to be the match winner. With 63 minutes on the clock the centre forward collected the ball from Stevie Cunningham and produced a sublime chip from 20 yards out, The ball floated over Andy Reid and into the back of the net
Davie Allan had a great chance to make it 2-0 moments later but he failed to beat Andy Reid from six yards out. As the pitch cut up more and more the tension grew as the ten men of Locos gave everything they had in order to find a leveller.
However despite a gutsy display and some impressive work from Neil McLean in particular there was to be no way through a Wick defence that completed its fifth shut out in the last six games
For Locos it was a case of having come a lot closer than many teams at Harmsworth this term. Nine out of nine for the homesters puts them in a great position but with no leeway to rest on their laurels.
Wick Academy: Gray, M Steven, Manson, Farquhar, G Steven, Shearer, Mackay (Pickles 80), Cunningham, Geruzel (Weir 46), Macadie, D Allan (R Allan 67)
Subs: Sinclair, More
Inverurie Locos: Reid, Young, Maitland, Bain, Adams, McLean, Ross, Begg (Souter 76), Gauld (McKay 67), Low (Strachan 76), Gordon
Subs: Bagshaw, Gray
Referee: G Elder
After the match Loco Works Co Manager Scott Buchan said, “It was a decent enough game on a pitch I felt was unplayable in patches, but they did a great job to get the game on. The first twenty minutes was end to end and we gave as good as we got.
“The sending off of Steven Park at Deveronvale worked in our favour as it gave us a drive to hold out then go and win the game. On this occasion losing Nicky Gordon after only 16 minutes didn’t work for us.
“With ten players this time it was a great performance but we couldn’t get enough possession. We couldn’t get enough players up to support Neil Gauld. Wick are a good side side but we contained them.
“Our guys were superb, they kept trying, we had half chances in decent positions, some of our crosses let us down. I was delighted with them, it was not our day though but they gave it everything”
This Saturday, weather permitting, its back to local derby time with Huntly the visitors to Harlaw Park on a massive high after their crushing 7-0 victory over Rothes.
A minutes silence will be observed prior to the game for long serving Locos stalwart Andy Anderson who sadly passed away soon after New Year. It is the first home game since Andy’s death and members of his family will be guests of honour