INVERURIE Locos were like chalk and cheese from the side which had crumbled to Fraserburgh in the Aberdeenshire Shield less than 72 hours previously. The result was an opening round triumph in the Breedon Aggregates Highland League Cup for the home team who went into the game with five key changes, every newcomer playing a huge part. Lossiemouth away is the reward in Round Two.
After losing two extra time goals midweek, Locos this time started on the front foot. Recent re-signing Graeme Stewart’s glancing header from a John Maitland right wing corner and Neil Gauld’s low free kick from 20 yards tested Paul Leask
It became like target practice as another dangerous out swinging Maitland corner found a Locos player in the box, as Kieron Adams was granted a free header in front of goal, only for his effort to go over the cross bar
Pressure on the Fraserburgh goal continued to build until Nicky Gordon’s quick-thinking corner found the breakthrough in the 23rd minute. With the defence still setting up, Gordon placed the corner before knocking the ball to Maitland. The scrambling defence failed to defend the resulting cross, with Keiron ADAMS picking up the loose ball before poking the ball through a sea of defenders and into the net.
The final scoring opportunity before the break came through a typical Inverurie move, Gauld and Bain linking up in midfield before playing Maitland through on goal. It was a great three man move but the latter’s low curling shot from the edge of the box was comfortably saved by Leask.
After the break Locos were gifted several opportunities, Marc Dickson giving Locos a dangerous free kick after a clumsy foul on Craig Ross. The resulting kick from Maitland found Stewart, who was able to lay the ball back to McLean, only for his effort to rise over the cross bar.
Minutes later, the home side threatened once again, Gordon’s deep cross chipped by Craig Ross into the path of Neil Gauld. With his back to the goal, Gauld chose to execute a spectacular overhead kick, with his effort narrowly missing the target.
Eventually, Fraserburgh’s composure began to slip, resulting in tempers boiling over in the 73rd minute after Marc Dickson’s booking for a professional foul on Neil Gauld as he advanced on goal followed by Zac Conway’s booking for dissent. Although John Maitland failed to convert the dangerous free kick, attentions quickly turned to the referee as Brian Braidwood sent a furious Kirs Hunter to the stand
Gordon came inches away from clinching the match after being fed in by Clark Bain, but his shot smashed off the right post. Keeping their focus, Inverurie quickly fed the ball back into Maitland deep inside the box. Twisting and turning defenders, he found himself a yard of space to dink the ball across goal to Graeme STEWART, whose header flicked the ball over Leask and dipped under the cross bar.
Full of confidence, Inverurie struck the opposite post minutes later through a Clark Bain 20 yard thunderbolt. But as the 90th minute approached, Fraserburgh’s discipline gave in as two players received their marching orders.
Zac Conway, booked earlier for dissent, was the first into the dressing room after a clumsy high feet tackle on Neil McLean. With tempers boiling over, it came as no surprise when Marc Dickson became the second sending off as he pulled on a shirt in frustration, earning himself a second booking of the match.
Inverurie Locos: Locos: Reid, Michie, McLean, Bain, Adams, Park, Ross, Stewart, Gauld( Strachan 82), Gordon, John Maitland
Subs: Thomson, Low, Young, Begg
Fraserburgh: Leask, Hay, Main, Dickson, Christie, DCowie, Morrice (M Cowie 78), West (Garden 81), Conway, Chalmers (Johnston 61), Barbour
After the match delighted co-boss Kenny Coull said, “It wasn’t a case of out for revenge. I just wanted us to prove a point for ourselves after the embarrassing mistakes of Wednesday
“We never gave them the time they had in midweek, we won the second balls. Spider (Graeme Stewart), bossed the midfield, and from defence through to the strikers, we were outstanding
“We’ve never been good at corners all season, Spider and Kieron Adams had a bit of presence in their box, that caused them problems. Jamie Michie has also waited for his chance, he played solidly, Neil Gauld freshened it up front too
“We were very comfortable, never let them create any chances. Credit to our players. I like the way the Broch go about their business. Young guys, streetwise, fit, it’s nice to do that to them as it’s usually them doing it to us”.
And on this weekend’s big Harlaw Park local derby meeting with Turriff United he added: “We’ve beaten Turriff Utd already this season, our opinion is when we apply ourselves properly we’re tough to beat so we look forward to that game on Saturday “
One of the star men on the day was scorer of the first goal and Sponsors Man of the Match Kieron Adams. The former Sunnybank stopper was one of three players who recently signed an extended contract and he celebrated his return to the team after a short injury / work absence by kicking off the win, “It was good to play Fraserburgh because I’d hurt my knee against Fort William and had to come off. I’d been resting up so it was good to make my presence felt. Keeping a clean sheet is the main thing, my goal was a bonus
“There were 11 Men of the Match. Everyone from goalkeeper to strikers worked hard. Spider got a goal, John Maitland was absolutely fantastic taking people apart the whole game
“Deliveries were really good the whole game. We were on a good run of wins until midweek so hopefully we keep it going”
Turning from the League Cup to Locos’ league hopes he added, “If we win our games in hand, we’ll be putting pressure on the teams at the top. There’s nothing to say we can’t win them all but it will be really hard. The way the team has improved, it’s fantastic to be part of
“We took a lot out of the games at Forres and Cove despite taking nothing points wise. Since then we’ve only conceded two in the League. The changing room is buzzing. My team mates Ryan Chopper Broadhurst and Jamie Michie also extended. I was very pleased to sign on and hopefully I’ll be here a lot longer”