INVERURIE Locos deservedly secured their place in the semi-finals of the Morrison Motors Turriff Aberdeenshire Shield after knocking out Peterhead 3-2 on Tuesday night (November 12).
Their reward is a meeting with local rivals Huntly at Harlaw Park on February 12 next year.
The two sides were coming into the game on the back of fine results at the weekend, Locos netting six without reply at Fort William and the Blue Tooners winning 4-2 at Elgin City.
The visitors almost went in front in only three minutes. Ross Anderson was woefully short with his passback to Andy Reid. Fraser McLaren went in 50/50 with the goalkeeper and when the spinning ball rebounded to Kevin Buchan, the No 4 chipped the ball on to the top of the crossbar.
Thereafter goalmouth chances were few and far between, but both sides were looking to play it high tempo.
But in 22 minutes, the Red and Blacks were in front. Former Balmoor forward David Ross curled a great cross over from the left, Neil GAULD controlled it brilliantly on the first touch and rammed the ball firmly past the ex Locos keeper into his right corner.
Gauld looked to add to his 13 goal tally five minutes later but this time, after again controlling the ball well, struck it too early and the ball went flying over Jarvie’s upright.
Ryan Broadhurst, back in the starting line up in place of Kieran Adams, then played a well weighted pass looking for Gauld on the right but the striker narrowly failed to get on to the ball.
Against the run of play in 38 minutes, a Peterhead equaliser ended the run of six games without losing a first half goal gone.
Jamie Redman swung in a deep ball from the right, ex-Don Jordan Brown headed it back across goal and Kevin BUCHAN first time volleyed into the roof of the net.
Three minutes later and the Locos were deservedly back in the lead. Playing against his old team, Martin Bavidge looked to do his typical speciality, dragging the ball in from the right. He played the ball across the face to Gauld, the ball was intercepted but only as far as determined skipper Neil MCLEAN, who rifled home.
It was almost 3-1 in 48 minutes. John Maitland, having a great game at left back once again, swung over the in-swinging corner, it was met by the powerful head of Ross Anderson, the ball rebounding off the underside of the bar Geoff Hurst style.
But in 52 minutes, surely without a doubt the Locos goal of the season so far, and its hard to believe Neil GAULD could better his strike against Formartine Utd in the William Hill Scottish Cup. Picking up the ball just inside his own half, the No 9 set off racing on a solo run. Forcing defenders to keep retreating, he tormented and teased them before beating Jarvie all ends up with his right foot drive from 16 yards
With two key strikers in Rory McAllister and Andy Rodgers coming off the bench(three goals between them on Saturday)the pressure grew and in 78 minutes it was 3-2. Following a corner on the right, Jordan Brown played the ball back in and Jamie REDMAN netted with the downward header.
In the latter stages Mark Souter and Dean Donaldson did their bit for the side after coming on, Marc Young also on in injury time, Gauld, Ross and Andy Hunter all contributing greatly to the win.
And a real boost it was to hold on.
Inverurie Locos: Reid, McLean, Maitland, Begg, Broadhurst, Anderson, Ross (Donaldson 73), Mitchell, Gauld (Souter 70), Bavidge, Hunter (Young 90)
Subs: Forsyth, Mathieson
Peterhead: Jarvie, Sharp, McGlinchey (Rodgers 63), Buchan (McAllister 63), McGeever, Cowie, McCann, Redman, McLaren (Tait 79), Brown, Gilfillan.
Subs: Alexander, MacDonald.
Referee: Ryan Milne
After a great win, co boss Kenny Coull said:“It was a very good performance and very deserved win against a good Peterhead team. A great scalp for us in a Quarter Final. Peterhead would’ve been desperate to play Huntly in a semi. Our guys were superb, under the cosh in the last fifteen minutes, but to be expected.
“Zanders knew what happened with the passback, he was the one complaining about the pitch, it nearly caught us out. But after that we limited their chances, they did score a good goal at the back post but everything we did was with a bit of urgency, pace and purpose, good to watch
“Both Gauldy’s goals were outstanding, the first he sold the defender from Davie Ross’s ball in, Bavidge takes credit for the second too for pulling defenders about but we know what Gauldy can do, there are not many better than him
“We had to change it late on, we could see they were putting us under pressure. They’re a level above us. We defended well. Players had to work their socks off the fitness was good.
“Regarding the use of our substitutes, Mark Souter has been a big part of our starting eleven most of the season. Leaving him out for the last two games has done him no harm, he did his job. Deano as well, we certainly got the timings spot on to shore it up
“We now look to the Keith game, Darren Still will have his team working hard, but we worry about ourselves, the boys will turn up fresh, showing the same attitude as they’ve done all season.”