Two sides desperate for a confidence boost after crashing out of the Highland League Cup the week before, Inverurie Locos and Deveronvale, came head to head on a dreich damp Harlaw Park day.
At the end of Valentine’s Day afternoon, the giving was from Inverurie Locos, the points gratefully accepted by Deveronvale amid more injury and suspension setbacks.
There was a reshuffling of the home line up, Kieran Adams banned following his sending off at Nairn, Gordon Forsyth switching to centre back and captain Neil McLean to left back allowing Jamie Michie to return to the engine room.
And Andy Hunter was rewarded after two substitute appearances by starting in place of the injured Dean Donaldson
The pattern was the same though as at Cove and Nairn. Slack Locos defending allowed Craig Simpson to square from the left for midfielder Graeme RODGER to place the ball into the net from eight yards, with only two minutes on the clock.
Locos went chasing the game and got caught out in 18 minutes, the visitors quickly breaking, Colin Charlesworth accelerated to the left bye-line, Sean KEITH hammering his cut back high into the roof of the net.
The play began to get tousy, Craig Cowie lucky to avoid a red card after a shocking challenge on Martin Laing, and Scott Begg also cautioned soon after.
The home side were back in the game when Jordan Leyden’s deep cross from the left was headed in off the underside of the bar by the industrious Martin BAVIDGE in 32 minutes.
And with half time nearing, a Laing shot was blocked after home pressure, a Bavidge cross from the right headed just over on the angle by Hunter. And finally a low cross from Bavidge seeing Hunter on the stretch just failing to knock into the net.
The Red and Blacks went close again in 54 minutes, Hunter’s deep cross being played back across goal by Michie, on loan defender Ross McKillop clearing on the goal line.
However any hopes of a turnaround were dashed just after the hour. Home goalkeeper Scott Mathieson was slow to come out when left one-on-one with Charlesworth. He clumsily brought him down in a last man challenge, conceding a penalty and seeing red. With no reserve goalkeeper on the bench, captain Neil McLean went between the sticks, guessing right for Stuart Leslie’s spot kick but unable to get a hand on it.
The points were clinched eight minutes later, CHARLESWORTH beating McLean with a long distance chip which gave the stand in no chance.
Leyden was the supplier of a consolation goal for Locos, his slide-rule pass tucked home by substitute Ryan KEIR but it was to be the end of the scoring.
To cap a miserable day for the Inverurie side, right back Greg Mitchell had to be taken off late in the first half with a dislocated shoulder and could be out for the rest of season. One plus point was a steady performance by young Daniel Crisp as a substitute in defence.
Inverurie Locos: Mathieson, Mitchell (Crisp 37), McLean, Begg, Forsyth, Broadhurst, Leyden, Michie (Keir 65), Hunter, Bavidge, Laing
Subs: Cooper, Coull, Souter
Deveronvale: Fyfe, MacKillop, Simpson, Mutch, Henderson, Dunbar (Aitken 90), Cowie, Keith (Watt 80), Leslie, Rodger, Charlesworth (Sutherland 87)
Subs: Buchan, Da Silva, Smith
Referee: A Cooper