Inverurie Locos have come with a late title surge and while Forres Mechanics are now beginning to look outwith their reach, Cove Rangers’ home draw with Clach gives them a real opportunity to at least target second place. That would guarantee them an automatic bye into Round 2 of the Scottish Cup and a Challenge Cup place
Locos were without one or two regulars sitting it out after a huge effort guaranteed them a share of the spoils at Fraserburgh.
Early on, hat trick hero from midweek, Neil Gauld, could have added to his tally. Jamie Michie advanced to the bye line, his cut back ball going through a sea of legs but Gauld fired high and wide
In nine minutes there was almost a goal out of nothing when Marc Young, starting in a deeper role, picked up on a loose ball on the right edge of the box, meeting it full on the volley but seeing it sky not quite as high and not as wide as Gauld’s try, but off target too
Both sides pride themselves on their passing ability but balls were going astray. The visitors were lying deep and trying to build up from the back areas but in their first serious attack Gary Weir was following the script. He too struck a shot way over the crossbar
Locos’ second corner of the game looked like producing a goal. John Maitland’s trademark outswinger from the right was aimed for his centre half Kieran Adams. The No 5 used the players around him as buffers as he tried to acrobatically twist his body heading to ground, but he too could only scoop the bar over the top
Supporters of both sides had been deprived of seeing a shot on target, Neil McLean next to be in the bad books on that score after gool lead up play by Gauld and Young
However the homesters shattered all thoughts of this one ending goalless by opening in 36 minutes. Two Scorries’ defenders dithered 25 yards out and it was just the invitation Gauld needed to steal the ball off them. The prolific striker raced towards goal with Michael Gray advancing. He slipped his pass left for skipper Clark Bain to tap into the empty net
Wick were poised to equalise in 52 minutes. Sam Mackay was allowed by his midfield opponents to get goal side. He slipped the ball into the danger zone for Steven Cunningham to finish off. The No 8 was foiled by Andy Reid blocking with his body
Two minutes later it was 2-0 . Reid’s long free kick from his own box went right upfield and its path was well followed by Marc Young with his back to goal. Young surprisingly went for a deft head flick, deceiving Gray coming out of his goal. The ball went in off the crossbar to the relief of the home supporters
Nicky Gordon almost made it three but was weak with his parting effort after good link up between sub Andy Low and Michie. However the third was icing on the cake Andy Low lined up his free kick from the edge of the box and curled it round the wall onto the roof of the net.
The sides meet again at Harmsworth Park next Saturday in a re-arranged league game, on a day when several other top sides will be on League Cup duty. Kick off is 3pm.
Inverurie Locos: Reid, Michie, McLean, Bain, Adams, Broadhurst, Gordon, Young, Gauld( Strachan 78), Begg( Low 66), Maitland Subs: Park, C Ross, S Gray
Wick Academy: M Gray, Sinclair, Manson, S Ross, S Mackay, Shearer, Gunn, Cunningham, Weir(R Allan 66), Macadie( McKiddie 66), D Allan Subs: J Mackay, Hughes Booked: S Ross(81)
Referee: C Potten
Inverurie Locos co-boss Kenny Coull said: “We looked comfortable but in the first half, too comfortable. I don’t think any players took the game by the scruff of the neck. We were a bit complacent. Wick sat off us and allowed us to play
“We can’t complain about a 3-0 but I’m sure it’ll be a different Wick team we play next week. In the last few weeks Neil Gauld has been outstanding, working his socks off, what we expect from him. He has done well, Clark Bain benefitted from him for his goal
We went into the game with fresh legs, Marc Young and Nicky Gordon coming in
It’s now imperative we come back from Wick with three points. We are aiming for second place now, I think it might be licensed teams in the Challenge Cup(Locos have theirs), it would be a good challenge for us and if it came, something at the end of our pre season.”
Regarding the resigning of another Locos stalwart on a two year deal he said: “Steven Park, you know what you get from him when he crosses the line, you know you’ll get 100% when he puts on the red and black jersey
“We know we have to manage his body, make sure he’s fit for games, giving him the rest when he needs it but he’s still a big help to us with the young guys, ensuring they’re prepared. We’re very happy he has committed to the club”