Locos batter champions

Joe McCabe takes the plaudits after his second goal
Joe McCabe takes the plaudits after his second goal

A game of two halves in every respect saw Locos take the points and move above local rivals Formartine into fifth spot.

Sunshine and few chances in the first period were replaced by torrential rain but there were some fine goals after the break for the healthy crowd to enjoy.

The visitors will feel aggrieved that the scoreline didn’t reflect how the game panned out but Locos were clinical against opponents who were decimated by sickness and injury, although manager Graeme Stewart was quick to point to poor defending rather than illness as the reason for the loss.

A first 45 minutes, as poor as any seen at Harlaw Park for a long time, saw a game full of promise produce end-to -nd football but virtually no chances of note.

Indeed it was 27 minutes before we had any incident of note, Buckie attacking down the right, Kai Ross fizzing a low pass across the six-yard box with Steven Ross arriving on the slide just a fraction too late to connect.

On the half-hour Craig Dorrat shot just past the left post for Thistle while at the other end it was ten minutes before the break before Locos threatened, keeper Daniel Bell fumbling an Andy Hunter free kick, Joe McCabe slipped as he prepared himself to shoot with Stuart Duff fairing better and getting a shot off that Bell saved this time.

The second half was more like it with the home side immediately on the attack and the deadlock was broken within two minutes. Man of the match Jordan Leyden flashed a pinpoint cross in from the left and McCabe nipped in to sidefoot home a delicious opener.

Six minutes later the on-fire McCabe went on a mazy run but dragged his shot wide for what would have been a dream goal and soon after Connor Rennie played in a superb ball from the right that Hunter headed just wide. A Leyden header off the post ended a crazy spell of home pressure.

A second goal just had to come and it did in the 68th minute. That man McCabe should have scored minutes earlier but headed wide but this time another fine pass from Leyden picked him out and a cool finish made it 2-0.

The icing was put on the cake after 82 minutes with a glorious passing move that ended with a Martin Laing shot high into the net summing up a stylish second half display from Loco’s against an albeit below par Thistle ahead of the long trip, weather permitting, to Fort William on Saturday.

Speaking after the match, Locos manager Neil Cooper said:“Delighted with the performance against a Buckie side that were champions last year.

“The first half was even with very few chances in the game then we scored some really good goal in the second half.

“The first goal saw some good build up play then Jordan picked out Joe McCabe and he was involved setting up Martin for the third goal and that gave us a cushion.

“We are pleased to have kept a clean sheet as well and defended well as a team.

“Its great to be up to fifth and we had to endure some really heavy rain in the second half and hopefully that wont be the case next week when we travel to Claggan Park.

“Hopefully that game will go ahead as we don’t want to break up this good run.”