Last Saturday saw the Inverurie Challenge Cup played for at Harlaw Park for the first time in a couple of seasons as Locos welcome Colony Park.
This was the Juniors first pre-season match and they were without some key experienced players against a Locos side fresh from a good midweek 2-1 win against Forfar at Station Park.
With the pitch in splendid condition and the rain abated the players took the field with what looked to be a tough ask for the Colony against an almost full strength Locos with only Broadhurst and Leyden missing.
Locos were on the front foot from the start with sharp passing movements and when Colin Charlesworth made a speedy run down the right flank the resulting cross looked to be behind Andy Hunter but his spectacular overhead kick caught the Colony defence cold and gave the Home side the perfect start.
Connor Rennie had a header well stopped by on loan keeper Greg Sim .
Colony were spurred into action and Jack Strachan had a cross come shot which didn’t trouble the defence.
The Park side were gradually being pinned into their own half by a high tempo locos side and it was little surprise when Neil Gauld showed quick feet, turning the defence and leaving the keeper no chance with a low shot.
Locos were playing at a good tempo but Colony eased their way into the game without creating much in the way of chances.
Striker Jack Strachan dropped deeper into midfield leaving Dorratt as sole striker but the Souter and Crisp combination at the back looked too strong and he saw relatively little of the ball .
Duff and Mclean dominated the game in midfield, both extremely composed on the ball and creating chances with excellent distribution.
On the Half hour mark Charlesworth got due reward for his endeavours with a simple tap in at the back post.
The home fans and some of the players looked somewhat stunned when Colony’s top scorer ,former Loco, Strachan found space and from over 25 yards out unleashed a shot which seemed to swerve and left keeper Booth clutching at air.
The half time break gave Manager Cooper a chance to make some changes to the defence with Mathieson replacing Booth in goal and Greg Mitchell making way for Marc Young while Dean Donaldson replace Gauld in the attack.
The tempo of the first half lessened somewhat and the Juniors found themselves with more possession and a little more territory.
The final goal of the game came when sub Michael Selfridge fired in a shot from seven yards. for a 4–1 Full time score .
Former Locos Chairman Willie Lippe who donated the trophy five years previously was on hand to present it to winning skipper Neil Mclean.
After the match winning manager Neil Cooper said: “We are delighted to have this match and again allows me to look at players who had less game time at the end of last season.
“We finished the season strong and have taken that into the pre-season matches so I have to be happy with how the players have performed.
“We have a couple more games before our opener at Pitmedden and Steven and I will work with what we have to be the best we can”.
A reflective Colony Park Manager Richard Davidson expressed his satisfaction with his teams efforts saying: “The match maybe came a bit too soon for us with some players missing and pre-season training only a couple of weeks in.
“Having said that I’ve told them not to be too despondent as the Locos are a decent side and we wont play against many better this season so its a tough opener for them.
“We steadied the ship a little in the second half but the locos pace was a real test in the opening period and our bench was not as strong as I’d have like it to be due to injuries and holidays.”