Two goals midway through the first-half put Locos firmly in control of this encounter with Fort William. The second-half looked like a poor affair before a frantic final ten minutes of action that in itself produced two penalties and two red cards.
The first chance came when Jamie Michie threatened with an overhead kick from the edge of the box, but it was easily dealt with by Robbie Donaldson. On 15 minutes, a great dipping volley from Neil Gauld from 18 yards flew just over, and four minutes later Ryan Broadhurst struck a free-kick into the Fort box that forced Donaldson to punch clear. His clearance went only as far as Jack Strachan but he fired over from 18 yards.
The goal that Locos had been threatening to score arrived on 20 minutes, after referee Martyn Kerrigan penalised Andy Martin for a foul on the edge of the box, with the decision being challenged by the home contingent. There was no doubting the finish though as Neil GAULD stepped up to fire it low and hard into Donaldson’s right hand corner, and despite the goalkeeper getting a hand to it he couldn’t keep it out.
Only moments later it was double trouble for the home side. Gauld swung the ball in from the right to pick out Jack STRACHAN 15 yards from goal, and he had the time to take it down, before turning to fire past Donaldson.
Fort threatened at the other end on 28 minutes when great ball by Lewis Campbell was met by the head of Martin inside the box, but he couldn’t direct it goalwards. Five minutes later, stupidity from Locos striker Nicky Gordon saw him sent off for an early bath, as he slapped Michael Gillespie round the back of the head leaving Kerrigan with no option.
Goalkeeper Donaldson made three crucial stops in the last five minutes of the half to keep the scoreline down. On 40 minutes, he did well to deny Strachan after he was played in by Gauld, before he was on hand to prevent Broadhurst’s header from goal.
Into first-half stoppage time, John Maitland struck a 20-yarder with Donaldson placed to turn it around the post.
Within two minutes of the re-start Donaldson saved Maitland’s 25-yard free-kick, before the former Montrose man, played Marc Young through on goal but he fired over.
On 75 minutes, Donaldson denied Strachan from 15 yards, before the game burst back into life on the 81 minute mark, when Iain MacLellan was sent-off for foul and abusive language.
Just moments later he was to be followed by his captain Martin, who blocked substitute Chris Polson’s goalbound effort on the line - staking a claim to be Fort’s tenth goalkeeper of the season! Locos’ goalkeeper Andy Reid, who has previously taken spot-kicks, went up the field, but on this occasion he fired the ball wide.
With five minutes to play, Scott Begg’s back-flick was cleared off line by Campbell, but deep into stoppage time Michie was brought down by Mark Gillespie, and this time Ryan BROADHURST stepped up to fire the ball into Donaldson’s left hand corner
After the match Locos co boss Scott Buchan said, “It was a very good performance and we were delighted to come away with a win, on a bobbly pitch which forced us to re-adapt our game. The plan was to get the ball forward quickly and hope they’d make mistakes. We created chances from the offset and their goalkeeper had to make a few fine saves. “Our own goalkeeper Andy Reid was not troubled and our own back line was solid. It was also good to get John Maitland some appearance time after his recent injury. We gave outings to young Under 19 players Chris Polson and Mark Souter, Chris was unlucky not to score when Andy Martin handled on the line for the penalty. Andy Reid had asked to take any penalties we were awarded but after he missed the first one, he was not getting to take the second!”
Inverurie Locos: Reid, Marc Young, Maitland (Souter 72), Park, Adams, Broadhurst, Begg, Michie, Strachan, Gauld (Polson 62), Gordon
Subs: Coull, Scott, Bell
Ref: M Kerrigan