LOCOS 2 Brora 1
IRN BRU QUALIFICATION IS IN THE CAN Press & Journal SHFL Wednesday April 11th 2018 Inverurie Locos 2 Brora Rangers Referee – Liam Duncan Locos – Reid Rennie Mitchell Duff Souter Broadhurst Charlesworth (Laing) McCabe Gauld Angus Leyden. Unused Subs – Herd Gordon Watt Bolton Mathieson Rangers – Malin Ross Tokely (Macrae) Campbell Duffy Morrison C Lisle (Wilson) MacLeod Campbell Nicolson S Lisle. Unused subs – Allan Counsell Stats, Locos first. Shots ON 5-2, Shots OFF 7-3, Fouls 12-14, Corners 2-5, Offside 3-4, Yellows 2-1. This wonderful Highland League campaign from Inverurie Loco Works has seen Neil Cooper’s charges qualify for the Irn Bru Cup & book a second appearance in the national challenge competition. Some people might associate the end of term with an opportunity to bring in your favourite games from home, but there was never a chance of seeing Greg Mitchell playing with Fuzzy Felts, Mark Souter battling with Kerplunk or Andy Reid stretching out his Subbuteo mat in the goalmouth, as these fine young men had business to attend to & yet again put in a massive shift. Locos had the weight of expectancy on their shoulders & the pressure of being on the cusp of a clutch of records, whilst Brora travelled minus players banned, away or hurt. Locos had Andy Hunter unable to take part. Liam Duncan was in the middle handing Locos match number five this season, and the match started on a clear but bitterly cold Garioch evening. The early sparring had Locos ahead on points but Brora made it clear that they weren’t there just to make up the numbers. A Jamie Duff trip on Jordan Leyden was out of the cynical envelope but referee Duncan decided not to brandish a yellow card. Neil Gauld smacked the resultant free kick over the bar. Brora were coming more into this clash & Mark Souter had to perform an excellent diving block before Ryan Broadhurst blocked a fierce strike from James Ross. Chris Angus was having a great night displaying all the skills that has made him such a fantastic tier five player in recent years, and the player was crudely hacked down as he broke clear of the Brora defence. Incredibly this latest foul still didn’t merit a caution, much to annoyance of the noisy enclosure. Joe Malin had to be swiftly off his line to gather the ball as Chris Angus again closed in on goal. Patrons in the Eddie Innes Stand were heard to wonder if the referee’s top pocket was stitched shut as industrial profanities from Kyle MacLeod towards the match official didn’t see the yellow card come out either. Ryan Broadhurst released Martin Laing & his angle drive was inches away from opening the scoring. Just shy of the half hour mark Ross Tokely was mesmerised by Neil Gauld’s twinkle toes & chopped him to the deck. GAULD stroked home the penalty for his thirtieth of the season & SHFL goal number one hundred for Locos – the very first time the club has hit a league century. Joe McCabe was having a good night & released Gauld & Angus through on Malin but the due bumped into one another & the chance lost. MacLeod’s persistent fouling was annoying the home fans but the combative youngster thought he had levelled but was foiled by an Andy Reid save that was truly top drawer. A Leyden centre was hit with force & Angus couldn’t quite convert. The miss looked pivotal as seconds later Rangers were level. Mark Souter headed clear, Locos were sluggish to close down the approaching Gavin MORRISON & although he was afforded too much space & time, his strike into the right corner of the net was struck superbly. A Leyden shot was straight at Malin as the half time whistle blew. 1-1. Brora certainly were up for the clash but Mark Nicolson took it too far when he appeared to barge the standside linesman which didn’t look too pleasant. MacLeod flicked a header wide then Duff did finally get yellowed for tripping Mitchell as he left the defender in his wake. A Leyden cross shot drive brushed the post before McCabe smacked a Duff cut back over the bar. On fifty seven minutes Chris ANGUS netted the goal that was so important & special for the Railwaymen. He picked the ball up & sprinted clear before sliding a neat finish under Malin. Martin Laing was showing some great touches & one of these released the player to swing over a sumptuous cross that deserved to find a willing converter. Joe McCabe was yellowed. Chris Angus was tripped close to the Brora goal but only a corner was confirmed. Ryan Broadhurst received a hand across the face and temporarily was down on the deck. Perhaps the referee missed this & also missed the fact the player was down at all but failed to stop play. Broadhurst’s interaction with the beleaguered referee saw him yellowed. Locos had earned this win & saw it through. FT 2-1. The evening saw win number twenty four, a senior record for the club. It was also the first home league win over the current incarnation of Brora & therefore the first league double over the Sutherland club in six seasons. This victory took the Locos points tally to a number that Brora and Forres can’t reach, therefore making the Irn Bru Cup qualification a certainty. All the plaudits go the coaches & the players. A brilliant, entertaining & rewarding SHFL campaign.