INVERURIE Locos followed up their excellent win over Brora Rangers with a very disciplined performance to edge out Deveronvale in an afternoon where the play was largely dictated by the strong wind and wintry conditions. The match was settled midway through the second half by a deflected effort from Locos striker Nicky Gordon, which sent the travelling supporter’s home happy.
The match started with a quick tempo, with Deveronvale taking the game to Locos and the home side enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening 15 minutes.
It was against the run of play that the visitors created the first chance of the match in the 12th minute. John Maitland created space on the left hand side and his low cross evaded Deveronvale keeper James Blanchard, although neither the on-rushing Neil Gauld or strike partner Nicky Gordon could convert the chance and as a result, the ball went out for a goal kick.
The first clear cut chance of the afternoon fell to Deveronvale when some clever play between Grant Noble and Mike McKenzie allowed midfielder Chris Blackhall to create a chance from around 25 yards, but his shot went well wide and did not look like troubling Loco’s keeper Andy Reid.
Towards the end of the first half, both sides went in search of a goal to break the deadlock and Locos almost did just that when Gordon received the ball from a free kick from the right but his curling effort from the edge of the box went just wide with Blanchard at full stretch.
The second half started very slowly with neither side being able to create any clear goal scoring opportunities. However, the match sprung into life in the 59th minute when Loco’s left-back Neil MacLean went on a surging 50 yard run from inside his own half and remained unchallenged until he slipped the ball to the feet of the unmarked Nicky GORDON whose low effort took a deflection off ‘Vale defender Scott Henry and just beyond the reach of Blanchard to give Inverurie the lead in the match.
The goal seemed to spark Deveronvale into life as they enjoyed the majority of the possession after the goal. Shortly after the goal, midfielder Graeme Rodger managed to spring the offside trap and his touch took the ball round keeper Andy Reid, but his shot was blocked by the Red and Black defence who managed to get the ball to safety.
Towards the closing stages of the match, Inverurie created a couple of chances to increase their lead but to no avail.
First, the combination of Neil MacLean and Nicky Gordon almost profited again with MacLean producing another fine run down the left and his pass found Gordon who’s first time shot went just wide of Blanchard’s right hand post. Shortly after that, Loco’s created another chance when substitute Andy Low’s run down the left found Clark Bain whose shot was charged down by Scott Henry and the defender’s intervention kept the score at 1-0.
The referee blew the final whistle to end a match where both teams struggled against a very strong wind.
Deveronvale: Blanchard, Rennie, Barclay (Meldrum 80), Henry, Fraser, Rodger, Cowie, Blackhall, McKenzie (Duncan 34), Noble (Henderson 65), Watt
Subs: Rae, Adams
Inverurie Locos: Reid, Park, McLean, Bain, Adams, Broadhurst, Ross, Begg, Gauld (Young 73), Gordon (Low 78), Maitland
Subs: Thomson, Scott, Bell
Ref: Caryl Potten
After the match co boss Kenny Coull said, “Coming away from Banff with three points we’re delighted. A tough one, the conditions played a big part, tough for both teams but we can’t be any happier
“In the first thirty minutes Vale were by far the better team, we weren’t at the races. We were doing the basics wrong, not picking up men, not paying attention. We got to grips in the last fifteen of the first half and second, but there was not a lot of pretty football
“We took our chance well, Neil McLean made a great run and he always causes trouble when he does that. Nicky Gordon finished well, a game of few chances”
This Saturday basement battlers Fort William make the long road to Harlaw Park as Locos look to keep their good run going and keep the pressure on the teams at the top. Kick off is at 3pm. This will hopefully have been on the back of a win in the Morrison Motors Turriff Aberdeenshire Shield Quarter Final at Huntly