Press & Journal Highland League Deveronvale 0 Inverurie Loco Works 2 Saturday September 30th 2017

Vale: Pennet, Dunbar, Aitken, Forbes, Dunn (Elder), Noble (Pauline), Wallace, Sutherland, Ballard, Watt, Scott (Munro). Unused subs: Gauld, Cheyne, Watson.

Inverurie Locos: Reid, Crisp, Mitchell, Duff, Souter, Broadhurst, McCabe (Bolton), McLean, Hunter, Leyden. Unused subs Rennie, McDonald, Gordon, Mathieson.

Referee – Alex Shepherd

Match Stats – Locos first. Shots On 6-3, shots off 15-7, Fouls 11-4, Corners 15-3, Offside 4-1, Yellows 2-1.

September saw Locos take their leave prematurely in two cup competitions, but in the SHFL, the club have only lost one in eight & indeed have been victorious in six of these matches. One of the cup hiccups was at Princess Royal Park when Inverurie contrived to turn a two goal advantage & territorial domination into defeat. This latest league clash in Banff offered a chance to perhaps right the wrong of that defeat, but more importantly continue their better than decent domestic form. There was a pre-match boost of vast proportions with Harlaw glove legend Andy Reid returning to the football club from Formartine United. The breaking Saturday morning news was met with delirium amongst the Red & Black faithful. Andy went straight into a starting berth. The injured Colin Charlesworth unable to be involved, Matthew McDonald dropped to the bench, with Martin Laing & the returning Jordan Leyden handed places in the side that took to the field for this two o’clock kick off (the clubs having agreed an early start to let the Vale officials & supporters head to Aberdeen for a club event). Banff was drenched in sunshine on the last day of September. Locos simply started smartly & kept up a relentless pace & supremacy right through until the break, at which point they should have been at least four or five goals to the good. Andy Hunter had a header deflected over right from the off before Jordan Leyden drove over from twenty yards. Locos took the lead in three minutes. A classic foray forward with purpose from skipper McLean released Jordan LEYDEN & his left foot angled lob from twenty five yards to the far stick was just sublime. Brilliant stuff. Andy Reid’s first save on his second debut saw the big fella dive to his left to gather a low drive. Hunter had three headers from close in fail to trouble Pennet before a McCabe header was easily caught. Robert Scott saw his shot see Reid make a routine stop. Muted Vale appeals for a penalty were rightly waved away by referee Shepherd as a ball driven by Paul Sutherland was far too close to his opponents to offer any reasonable spot-kick claim. Martin Laing looked just onside as he broke into the Vale box & netted but the flag was up early to deny the player. Neil McLean absolutely creamed a first time cannonball shot from twenty yards but brave Vale defending blocked the rocket. Locos incredibly had to wait until the twenty fifth minute to enjoy their deserved second goal. Mark SOUTER has been nothing short of a revelation this campaign & a towering header from a Leyden corner saw the local lad net his first Locos goal in his sixth season around the first team. Remarkably the central defender then had a header go just wide before, with the fourteenth attempt upon goal of the half, saw another header crash back off the left post. HT 2-0. McCabe should have netted at the start of the second period but screwed his shot wide from another super Leyden centre. Dane Ballard then appeared certain to get Vale back into this match but the presence of Reid narrowly the angle forced the shot wide. Hunter & McCabe again should have troubled the scoreboard, with Sutherland dragging a shot on the deck wide of the goal. Joe McCabe fell heavily & was replaced by Josh Bolton. Andy Reid then reminded Locos fans what they had been missing, pulling off a brilliant diving save low to his right to break Vale hearts, from a Ballard shot. This second period was largely a low key affair, with Locos pretty much assured of a win & Vale appearing to know they were being outclassed in each area. The Inverurie support were willing young Bolton to net for the club & he nearly did when Pennet denied him with a smart stop with his legs. Greg Mitchell had once again, yet again, been excellent throughout, and nearly netted but Pennet, having a good afternoon, dived to parry the chance away. As the game eased past the ninety minute mark referee Shepherd produced a brace of yellows that weren’t necessary. Sub Pauline was a tad late on Mitchell & Greg quietly showed some displeasure. Despite this, it had been a largely uneventful afternoon for the man in the middle, who has been at the centre of some contentious incidents in previous Locos matches. FT 2-0 to Locos. Inverurie were always in control at Banff. If a person was looking to be critical of the away side, on another day they might have been punished for squandering so many gilt-edged chances, but there was plenty to be happy about on this six hundredth & sixty sixth competitive match, with no signs of any hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia around the Vale ground! It might appear odd to pass the man of the match award to your goalie when you’ve bossed a football match so convincingly but Andy Reid’s second half stop was pivotal, and his organisational work & vociferous vocal coaching were really impressive. Champions Buckie Thistle come to Harlaw Park on Saturday (7th) kick off 3pm, and this could be a cracker with the sides close neighbours in the standings. Monday night (9th) has the Locos 20s host Deveronvale at Harlaw Park, kick off 8pm, with free admission.

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