INVERURIE Loco Works kept up their position at the top end of the table with a 2-0 win on Saturday, but had to work hard to break down the resistance of a dogged Fraserburgh side.
Clark Bain and Jack Strachan struck the late goals to clinch the points.
It took until the 15thminute for the first keeper to be tested after Graham Johnston’s corner swung in deep for Steven Main, whose header went into the air for a stretching Andy Reid to gather.
Fraserburgh began to grow in confidence, seeing their corner count rise, although their shots on target remained the same. They came the close to breaking the deadlock minutes before half time after seeing an initial corner from Johnston cleared.
As players remained camped in the Locos box, John Willox was eventually fed the ball before aiming a rushed shot on goal, only to see his shot blocked by the legs of Nicky Gordon in front of the goal.
As the final seconds of the half ticked away, Inverurie finally threatened the Fraserburgh goal after some quick thinking from Clark Bain. With Craig Ross free on the right wing, his chipped ball allowed Ross to take the ball down to the byline before firing a dangerous cross into the box. An open goal awaited Gordon, only for Ryan Christie to dangerously control the ball in front of goal, before tapping the ball out for a corner at full stretch.
Into the second half Steven Main fed in Johnston down the left wing. Cutting in towards goal, Johnston saw his passing shot across goal catch the slightest of deflections by Reid to push the ball wide of goal.
The sting was momentarily taken out of the match as Locos’ Jamie Michie stayed down after a heavy challenge. Requiring the stretcher, Ryan Broadhurst soon came on as his replacement as early indications suggested a serious injury.
Locos at last started to threaten. Andy Low tested Paul Leask from a 30 yard free kick and there were claims for a penalty. Ross tried his best to round Leask before he appeared to be clipped by a Fraserburgh defender inside the box, only for the referee to immediately book Ross for simulation.
Graham Johnston should have done better from 20 yards as his rising shot on goal drifted inches over the cross bar with Reid out of position.
Locos should have taken advantage at the other end of the pitch after Neil Main tripped Andy Bagshaw on edge of the D, only for Andy Low to strike the ball straight at Leask.
The home side finally managed to get the breakthrough, a whipped-in ball unsettled the Fraserburgh defence. Having cleared the initial attack, the resulting ball back into the box caught a slight deflection which saw a fresh air shot from Gordon. Keeping his eye on the ball, Clark BAIN positioned himself perfectly to rifle a half volley into the top right corner of the net, sparking wild celebrations.
A 20-yard Craig Ross shot was parried wide for a corner, and with the ball placed into the middle of a crowded box, substitute Jack STRACHAN showed the strength to fend off defenders, hold the ball before chipping it up so that he could fire his turning shot into the top right corner.
Inverurie Locos: Reid, Michie (Broadhurst 51), Young, Bain, Adams, Park, Ross, Gordon, Bagshaw (Strachan 75), McKay, Low
Subs: Stewart, Souter, Bell
Fraserburgh: Dickson, Fowlie (M Cowie 78), Christie, Conway, West, Johnston, S Main, Hay, Willox (Barbour 75), N Main Noble
Subs: R Cowie, Chalmers
Referee: M McNab
After the match Locos Co-manager Kenny Coull said, “We’re delighted with the three points, against a very good Fraserburgh team, they showed how good they are in the first half. They dominated possession and defended well
“We stepped up a level in the second half, the second half performance is what we come to expect of an Inverurie Loco Works side. We did it, a great three points.
“After the first half, a draw might have suited both clubs. But our guys knocked it up a level. They showed what they did at Lossiemouth and what we asked of them at half time.”
• IT was confirmed after the match that Jamie Michie had indeed suffered an ankle fracture and at the time of writing a leg break too.
The popular player has been inundated with messages to keep his spirits up, but it would appear his season is over.
This Saturday Locos travel to face high flying Nairn County for whom Conor Gethins and Robbie Duncanson are in great form. Kick off is at 3pm