INVERURIE Loco Works saw their short stay in the Ramsdens Challenge Cup come to an end at rainy Montrose on Saturday afternoon as they went out despite taking a first half lead and controlling the game for spells in the first half.
After a quiet spell, it was the Locos who dramatically grabbed the lead on the quarter hour mark. Neil McLean, playing wide right in a four man midfield, pinpointed Stuart MCKAY with his pass collected on the right side 22 yards out. “Kaiser” controlled the ball well and fired a rising effort which went fizzing through keeper Sandy Wood.
The Gable Endies were stunned but wasted no time in getting back into the tie and in 27 minutes the scores were level. A dubious free kick was awarded 20 yards from Gray’s goal. Ex-Peterhead man Paul WATSON stepped up and took his time before curling left footed round the wall.
The level score was a fair outcome at half-time, however the home side started off at high pace, as Boyle saw his snapshot pushed round the post and Gray had to be alert pushing Boyle’s downward header from the corner over the bar.
Both Kieran Adams and ex Ross County forward Garry Wood were extremely fortunate to avoid punishment as they grappled on the ground, taking a follow up kick at each other, luckily unseen by the officials.
On the hour Montrose made it 2-1. Martin BOYLE was left unmarked at the back post and found the net with his downward header from Craig Mcleish’s inswinging corner.
Six minutes later Garry WOOD made it 3-1. Gray and Ryan Broadhurst got in a tangle, the keeper trying to blast the ball away,only hitting his defender. Aberdeen FC target Boyle controlled the spinning ball and Wood only had to roll it home.
With ten minutes left hesitancy was punished again. This time Adams clattered Boyle and a certain penalty should have been awarded but play carried on and Terry MASSON slipped the loose ball home.
Jack STRACHAN, on as a sub for Andy Bagshaw, rolled the ball under Sandy Wood in 87 minutes from fellow newcomer Scott Begg’s precise pass and it could have been 4-3 when Marc Young pinpointed Stuart McKay from the right . McKay’s header looked like hanging in mid air before again coming off the top of the woodwork.
It all came to an end with the right team winning the game but with tighter defending and a little bit of better luck, the result could have been different.
Montrose: S Wood, McNally, Watson, Lunan, Campbell, Masson, Young, McLeish, Boyle, G Wood Johnston.
Subs: Crawford, Trialist 1, Trialist 2, Gordon Easton
Inverurie Locos: Gray, Park, Scott, Bain, Adams, Broadhurst, McLean, Stewart, Bagshaw, McKay, Maitland,
Subs: Begg, Strachan, Souter, Young.
After the match Scott Buchan,Inverurie Loco Works Co-Manager said, “We’re disappointed as we didn’t show what we’re capable of and fitness told. The better team won.
“We were culpable for the second and third goals conceded, terrible goals to lose.
“The Montrose forwards were very good but despite four goals lost, our centre halves actually did well. But you have to learn as a team. It was noticeable the one bit of football we played, we scored a goal from.
“We were delighted to get this game in pre-season. There are no complaints, Montrose’s artificial pitch was slick, the rain helped it. We had a couple of chances in the second half, great shot from Steven Park and great header from Stuart McKay.”
THIS Saturday, August 4, Locos start their Highland League campaign with a home fixture against Nairn County a team that finished above them in third place last term. With Craig Ross on honeymoon and players suspended, co-bosses Buchan and Coull will need to decide what formation and personnel best suits the occasion
Kick off is at 3pm and will see the new Harlaw Park stand being used for the first time.